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A culture of violence

Israel’s security policies must take into account 1,400 years of Arab violence

Yoram Ettinger

Galal Nasser, a prominent columnist in Egypt’s al-Ahram Weekly recently wrote: “Violence has become the norm in Arab life, both on official and non-official levels…There are many types of violence besetting the domestic scenes of Arab countries, making relations among them unpredictable and unstable.”

Nasser also notes that “Some analysts speculate about a culture of violence and argue that its roots are embedded in religious texts that call for Jihad, that urge the faithful to wage a perpetual fight for virtue and against sinfulness…” he adds that “Neighborliness doesn’t seem to count for much either. There are many instances of strained relations among Arab countries. Currently, tensions exist between Morocco and Algeria, Libya and Tunisia, Jordan and Palestine, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq.”

Hence, an Israeli withdrawal from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the most effective tank obstacle in the region, overtowering Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean) would ignore the intense, volatile and unpredictable 1,400 year old inter-Arab violence and its implications for the security requirements of the “infidel” Jewish State.

“The state is involved in the production, export and triggering of violence…nourishing some and instigating others, making deals and manipulating players just to keep its ruling elite in place… Ruling elites are fighting tooth and nail to stay in office. Any challenge to their authority is viewed as an act of war. Meanwhile, the opposition can find itself in dire straits: either it faces a slow and painful death or opts for suicide in a hopeless war…”

Meanwhile, Dr. Marwan Kabalan last month wrote in the Persian Gulf News:

“Six decades ago, immediately after the departure of the colonial powers, the Arab world had big and ambitious dreams: unity, development, equality, prosperity and a reasonable degree of economic independence. Sixty years on, one is tempted to ask if the Arab world has really realized any of these objectives and whether they were realistic and achievable in the first place…

“Arab rulers have clung to power with complete disregard for public interest…The result was total failure in every aspect of state activities…and to a consequent increase in the use of force to maintain order and control…One consequence of these policies was the weakening of national identity and the revival of communal tension. Hence, people in Iraq and Lebanon and many other Arab countries came to identify themselves as Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and Christians; rather than Iraqis, Lebanese or whatever else.”

“No wonder that the Arab world looks today much more fragmented, poorer and hopeless than it was at the dawn of independence… For most of these ills, Arab regimes have only themselves to blame. They have indeed left us with very little to celebrate.”

In conclusion, due-diligence of the 1,400 year track record of inter-Arab violence behooves the Jewish State to maintain a Middle East-driven (and not wishful-thinking-driven) threshold of security.

Israel’s defensible borders and Israel’s agreements concluded with Arab leaders must withstand the implications of potential highly probable and violent abrogation and inter-Arab regime-change. Israel’s security requirements must be the derivative of the 1,400 year old inter-Arab reality: No inter-Arab comprehensive peace, no inter-Arab compliance with most inter-Arab agreements, no inter-Arab ratification of all inter-Arab borders and no Arab democracy!

Hence, the security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – the Cradle of Jewish history – for the survival of the Jewish State.

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