Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The "Promise" of the Arab Spring for Israeli/ Palestinian peace.

It is my position the the Arab Spring is potentially the greatest chance for peace in the entire region in decades.
It is indeed the "Arab" Spring not the Tunisian Spring or the Egyptian Spring nor even the Syrian Spring. In every country the long term goals are primarily two. Greater political freedom and greater economic opportunities for millions of unemployed. As it stands now some countries are on the edge of being able to deliver on the promise of the first. As for the second, substantial economic progress, this is currently a distant goal at best for all countries involved. As long as their is no clear idea of what the endgame will be in Libya, Palestine and Syria, there will never be the investment needed to fulfill the needs of those countries as well as Egypt and Tunisia. Thus the "Arab" Spring is in danger of being still born. There is also the reality that the major parties on both sides of these "revolutions" are going to have to make peace to make any progress going forward. Not an easy task. The solution to this problem may also be Israels chance to solve it's long standing impasse with the Palestinians.
The only way any one country involved in the Arab Spring will be able to deliver dramatically on both goals demanded of their citizens is for all those countries to become one.
Tunisia needs to vote to join the Libyan rebels, not as allies, but as fellow long term countrymen. The same is true for Egypt. Together the first step can be reached. A non NATO led liberation of the three. A gesture such as agreeing to put the combined capital of the three in Al Bayda Libya is the type of compromise needed time and time again going forward. However, the ability to also transfer various members of armed forces, civil servants and such to other parts of the combined country will ease tensions among the recently warring parties for years to come. The combined economic expertise, natural resource revenues and large potential domestic markets for goods, backed by direct foreign investment should spur growth as never before in the combined region.
This brings me to your neighborhood. Just as countless Arab governments have for millennium, the drafting of outside leadership to come and rule a country as capable but neutral parties could rarely be needed more than in this case.
Thus, while not in anywhere near the brink of chaos as it's neighbors, the obvious choices to lead the newly formed combined countries, and indeed to join the new entity would be King Abdullah II of Jordan and the likes of Munib R. Masri as the original Prime Minister could form the type of government needed to both provide long term stability as a constitutional monarchy but with a leader of government respected throughout the entire combined countries of the region.
The over riding theme of the unification is the willingness of each national sovereign nation to re identify themselves as members of a new country for the good of the common whole. The new theme of I am doing this not only for me but for the good of countless millions of fellow countrymen so that I might provide political and economic equality for myself and my extended family and tribe has not had such an opportunity for perhaps decades. Which leads, if one has not already surmised, the unique opportunity to bring millions of Palestinians to the same goal. If we wish a better life we are now Libyans (or whatever the agreed upon name) and Arabs and we have a chance to move forward under new leadership to create a new future for ourselves and our future generations.
Issues that have been front and center for decades in the debate between Israel and the Palestinians might take on a whole new set of different needs of a United Arab Kingdom.
For one the need to ensure peace on the Arab side for political and economic growth nationwide would allow Israel to find a willing partner in policing extreme factions within the new borders.
Both Hamas and Fatah as greatly reduced political entities within a nation of 100 million is all so obvious. A United Arab Kingdom could also provide the blueprint for possible exit strategies for other countries throughout the entire Arab and perhaps even sub Saharan Africa conflicts.
What is not so obvious is perhaps the need of a Greater United Arab Kingdom to need to consider entirely different land swaps and much greater region wide agreements on the use of water and other natural resources.
Of course Israel as a nation cannot promote directly the idea of perhaps a United Arab Kingdom but it has enough ears in enough parts of the world to let it be known that such a direction in thinking by all of its neighbors to such an idea would be surely welcome. If you really want to see secular, democratic and economically viable peaceful neighbors not only as your direct neighbors but through the entire region, to envision that they are all one unified national neighbor might just be your best bet for long lasting peace for generations to come. Just a thought.

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