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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 8/10/14

Gaza: Are the Arabs divided?

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Abdulateef Al-Mulhim

Reprinted from www.arabnews.com

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Are the Arabs divided over the war in Gaza? If so, then why are they divided? And if not, then why we don't see the unity in the official statements and media talks the way we used to see and hear during past confrontations with Israel?
Since the establishment of Israel, the Arabs have maintained unity regardless of their differences or at least they have demonstrated that unity in public, especially whenever there is a direct confrontation between Israel and any Arab country or Palestinian organization. In other words, enmity between the Arab countries and Israel is known worldwide. So, have there been any changes in the general attitude of the Arab masses or governments?
Since the start of the latest bloody confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, Arab countries and people have maintained different approaches to the conflict.
There were many talks and talkbacks between Arab politicians, analysts, columnists and media commentators. Many blamed the Israelis, but few wondered if Hamas was to blame. And this is a first in the Arab world. In the past, it was impossible for any politician or the media to point a finger toward the Arab side as the one to be partly blamed.
Nowadays, things are changing for many reasons. It is true that there are over 1,900 casualties on the Palestinian side and the whole world saw the amount of destruction and barbarity unleashed by Israel in Gaza, but, many observers are referring to the human side of the conflict and not the conflict itself.
Many in the Arab world are even saying that they have seen far worse killings and atrocities during the past three years of the so-called Arab Spring than in all wars and battles between the Arabs and the Israelis during the last 66 years. Also, many in the Arab world are questioning the killings, devastations, displacement of people not only in Gaza, but the entire Arab World.
Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya all have a huge number of refugees and suffered destructions. The number of deaths due to Arab Spring is in hundreds of thousands and the number of refugees, displaced and missing persons is in millions. So, many in the Arab world are simply too busy grappling with their own problems and chaos thay had never experienced before. Besides, the IS (Islamic State) announced that Israel is not its enemy, but it is the other Arabs and Muslims. And the Syrian Air Force had flown more sorties against its own people than it did in all its wars with Israel.
Iraqi and Libyan air forces had never fired a shot against Israel, but they sure did many turkey shoot runs against their own civilians. This is why many in the Arab world are sick and tired of seeing more blood being spilled and more destructions of an already dysfunctional infrastructure. So, many in the Arab world are divided with regard to the killings in Gaza not because they lack patriotism or are not sympathetic toward the Palestinians, it is just a question of then what?
The battle of Gaza will hopefully come to an end with the truce that went into effect Tuesday morning, but, no one will know for sure the actual number of dead and injured. The scars and the hatred between all parties concerned will become more severe. Palestinian and Israeli children will grow up with more hatred in their hearts.
Most likely there will be another conflict(s) and with simple calculation, if the money that was spent on weapons and the money needed to rebuild what has been destroyed were used to build schools, roads and hospitals, then there would have been more people alive and the children maimed would have been playing in the streets and attending schools learning to live together in peace. This is why there is a division among the Arab masses.
Arabs are frustrated because they see the world progress and advance while their countries are being destroyed. But, at the end of the day, maybe the key problem is that Arabs have never been united, some of them even hate each other than they hate Israel. Of course I did not mention the crocodile tears that many shed at the Palestinains' miseries while at the same time they are the beneficiaries
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The writer is a commodore (retired) in the Royal Saudi Navy. He is based in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia

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