Normalization with Israel

 

Challenges

The Public:

Normalization between Israel and its neighbors can cure much of the Arab-Israeli mutual chronic insecurity and subsequent animosity. However, as long as regimes only without peoples accept the normalization, the conflict will persist, and Israel will always be insecure about the next Arab regime that could be less friendly than the former. Peoples can even pressure a present Israel-friendly regime to change its attitude. Only when both regimes and peoples accept the normalization, true security is possible. This is more difficult with ignorance, fanaticism and dictatorship rampant in those countries, UNLESS nation-wide campaigns explain to people there the benefits of such normalization, even if they weren't necessarily rich or educated.

Some Arab/Muslim liberals may still refuse the normalization out of sympathy for Palestinians, UNLESS Palestinians themselves accept normalization with Israel, in which case other countries, fanatic or not, will accept it too. This makes Palestinians the most important party for Israel to seek normalization with. Again, this requires a good campaign to open Palestinians' minds about the normalization, by Palestinian and Arab leaders, intellectuals, and individuals with life experience allowing them more closeness with Israel and better judgment of reality.

Hegemony:

Some fear that after normalization Israel won't change its colonial policies, as long as the US, Israel's main supporter, keeps its hegemony over the world and manipulation of the United Nations. Similarly, some fear Israel's hegemony over the region, i.e. excessive Israeli power after the normalization, like a monster growing incessantly to dangerous levels. This is unlikely:

  • As long as fair mutual interest between Israel and other countries is well-planned and watched, no party will get more than it deserves. It will be a normal relation like those countries have with any other foreign country (as many of them already have with the US itself, Israel's supporter: Egypt-US, Saudi-US, Iran-US, etc. despite occasional disagreements). One needn't fear, love or agree with a country one mutually and fairly benefits from.
  • Countries that normalize ties with Israel can and should always keep their ties with OTHER regional and world powers equally strong, to limit both Israel's regional hegemony and the US' world hegemony.
    • Most world superpowers already cooperate together and should cooperate more (US, China, Russia, EU, etc.), and so should regional powers do together (Israel, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, etc.), and "regional & world" powers together (China & Israel, Russia & Turkey, EU & Iran, etc.). It's even more vital for the "less powerful" states to do the same, cooperating with themselves and with the above powers and superpowers.
  • However advanced and powerful the US/Israel is, it knows well that surviving in globalization needs "others" to form alliances and eventually unity with rather than acting alone. Both know that cooperation benefits are more enduring than those of hegemony, while benefiting all parties. For example, France and Germany are regional powers yet they willfully choose alliance with other EU members. The same with the rich powerful US states, Chinese or Russian provinces, etc. that had chosen unity with other states/provinces long ago, before they became larger, stronger world superpowers.
  • Both Israel and the US need more nearby allies, since both are very distant geographically from each other, making their alliance more costly than with close partners.
  • The world is moving toward multipolarity, limiting a single superpower's hegemony, by the pressure other superpowers put on it. The US can't keep sacrificing its credibility and ties with other countries by unconditionally supporting and covering up Israel's aggressions.
  • As Israeli, American and other world Jews sooner or later become secular, Israel will lose their old unquestioned religion-motivated support.

The Occupation:

Accepting the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the biggest challenge to normalization with Israel. Colonialism is a crime, but also relative. Crimes, by humans or countries, get old and charges are dropped only if they have no (longer) harmful effects.

  • Some colonial powers caused destruction, some sought self-interest, and some achieved enlightenment and development in their colonies, while pursuing their self-interest too. Colonists could be marauding Tartars, stagnant Ottomans, exploitive Brits, or insatiable American settlers. (The 3-year Napoleon-led French expedition to Egypt benefited it, e.g. uncovering the Egyptian civilization, more than the previous 3-hundred-year backward Ottoman occupation.)
  • There is also internal colonialism where corruption/oppression can harm a country more than an external intruder.
  • There is partial colonialism by expats living in foreign countries worldwide, whom one cannot simply brand as "occupants" of their host countries or "traitors" of their home ones, for they only seek better living wherever, and can be most useful when rightly placed to befit and complete another country.

Israel's occupation of Palestine is more on the positive side of colonial types. Israel has become so advanced, democratic and prosperous in a short time, by Western support and values brought with immigrants, immigrants' tenacity and enthusiasm, and good planning typical of a new country/land of opportunity attracting immigrants. Israel has also added to, not obliterated Palestine's identity, culture and diversity (unlike many other colonists or even home despotic regimes do), keeping its languages (Arabic/Hebrew), traditions, architecture, etc. (Islamic/Roman/Greek/Canaanite/etc.).

One must come to terms with colonialism first to accept normalization with a colonist, as did many former colonies that still have good ties with their colonizers.

  • No better example describes this than South Africa and the reconciliation between its natives and colonists. 
  • Normalization with a colonial country is similar to what a state does when it pardons the wrongdoings of a corrupt leader or business tycoon, usually "on conditions."
  • It is also similar to when a state legalizes the possession of land someone had acquired by squatting, esp. if he/she later turned it into a paradise.

Had colonialism been rigid/absolute, then we should've long ago expelled all Europeans from America, Turks from Istanbul, and Arabs from all the countries they invaded 14 centuries ago!

Most if not all Arab Israelis prefer life in Israel to that in Palestine or any other Arab country. Even many liberal Palestinians from Gaza/West Bank, if under no social pressure, would do the same; otherwise they seek to reform their homeland Palestine to properly benefit from and cooperate with Israel as "two" coexistent civilized states, or even merging into "one" state eventually. To many, names makes no great difference, whether one's land is called  Israel, Palestine, or Canaan (what's in a name?), even so after receiving the 20th-century waves of  multiethnic immigrants, much like the US, Canada, Arab Gulf countries (with huge non-Arab populations), or any country revitalizing itself by immigrants without losing its identity (that many Palestinians already know theirs is Hebrew, Arab, Mediterranean ... altogether).

This doesn't mean to legitimize colonialism now, in Israel or elsewhere. Not only Israel did many positive things, for countries to pardon its wrongdoings, but Israel is probably the last example of "old" colonialism that had different rules then. Despite the more recent West Bank settlements belonging to a post-colonial era, normal relations can still be maintained while solving the dispute, as many other countries do despite their own territorial disputes too, since there is more to share than to differ on. Unlike colonial times, the present advancement of communication and available information increased the fields of cooperation between countries, offering them new opportunities to benefit each other, with less need for a mutually costly war and an endless bloody cycle of "suppression & resistance." Let alone international laws and pressure protecting each country's sovereignty.

However, nothing stops the instinctive human desire for MORE, where countries' ambition can lead to blackmailing each other by various creative neo-colonial methods as long as no external/internal pressure keeps them from doing so, by national or international bodies. Neocolonialism is worldwide, deserving more attention than obvious old-fashioned colonial tactics. It's paradoxical to demonize Israel while cooperating with the US and other superpowers, the Prime Neocolonists, with their worldwide military bases, products, media, cultural values, influence over the UN, etc. 

For instance, the US' support for Israel is more than that for any other country, and their politics are so entwined, one influencing the other. Suffice it to say that nearly every UN decision penalizing Israel ever since its founding was vetoed by the US. It's healthier for both the US and Israel if the US limits its interference in Israel and the ME in general, and that Israel diversify and balance its alliances to serve its own long-term interest, acting as a Middle Eastern power not as a Western client state.

 

Benefits

Normalization of ties between Israel and its neighbors can cure much of the chronic INSECURITY each side feels toward the other, which is the root problem of many Middle East and even world conflicts. It can put an end to the decades-old nerve-wracking stalemate many Middle Eastern peoples are caught in, where either party, Israelis or non-Israelis, is too scared to let go first.

  • It enables Palestinians to recuperate, develop, and live a normal life.
  • As it helps Israelis feel secure, valued, and encouraged to further develop their part of the world, without need/fear of leaving it: the whole Middle East they are part of thus having responsibility toward. Israel won't have to always rely on US support and "cover," or go searching for faraway allies on the planet or create ones within its enemies (by "divide & rule").
  • It lessens Israel's US-supported attempts to divide, destabilize or weaken its neighbors it mistrusts, and starts real cooperation and warm, not cold, peace with them. The countries whose full normalization with Israel can be most beneficial to Israel, themselves and the world, are its "direct" neighbors and close regional "powers." Together they can form one of the strongest alliances on Earth, thanks to the natural and strategic importance of the Middle East.
  • Above all, it frees the space and saves the energy this conflict has been consuming in our modern world for decades.

Both sides will spend less on security, redirecting attention toward other external/internal concerns and useful fields of development. The power of pragmatic interests will guide their relationship, instead of any religious/ethnic/emotional motive. The power of "shared" geography, climate, culture and history, that is greater than moral difference, will reign.

Israel can lead by example in its less democratic region, inspiring peoples and pressuring governments to achieve democracy: true gradual democracy, not a cover for destructive chaos. It can share "some" technology to help them advance and catch up, guiding, training and nurturing the gifted in those countries. Cooperation between Israel and its neighbors is the best guarantee for real long-term security for both sides.

However, Israel's democracy or technology is good but not enough for other countries to seek normalization with it (most colonial powers were democratic too). Israel shouldn't rely much on its image as a modern country, as its democracy or technology is mostly "good for her"; also, whenever Israel propagates its modernity, many find it unappealing, incomplete, and contradictory to its backward colonial and barbaric policies toward others.

Pragmatic self-interest is the strongest motive for the normalization, for Israel and neighbors to benefit each other, and stop harming/threatening each other. Some countries even "befriend" Israel mainly to befriend the US by association. It's legitimate and logical to do so despite American hegemony and Israeli aggressions, until the world improves in justice and equality (by a more effective democratic UN/World Government serving all citizens worldwide). This is more realistic than ignoring power-balance realities and lamenting world imperfections.

Pursuing self-interest is a realistic choice saving countries time, troubles, and even the mistrust of others. Normalization with Israel ends the double-standards and frequent lies of governments indirectly accepting, supporting, yet hiding their "affair" with Israel out of political correctness:

  • Many countries refuse normalization with Israel, yet they cooperate with the country supporting Israel most: the US.
  • They cooperate with countries cooperating with Israel: Turkey, Singapore, China, etc.
  • They buy Israeli products indirectly from a third party, e.g. Cypress. 
  • Their regimes cooperate with Israel, while denying it and prohibiting their peoples from doing the same.
  • Most countries relatively accept Israel's pre-1967 occupation of Palestinian land yet refuse its post-1967 one, perhaps "impressed" by Israel's achievement in the first yet "embarrassed" to accept the latter because it belongs to a new international era, ethics and laws (too politically correct to pressure Israel, the colonizer, to develop the West Bank as it did with the rest of Palestine, and to pressure Palestine, the colonized, to accept such improvement.)

The damage Palestine suffers shouldn't be multiplied by damaging other countries too, esp. its neighbors, some of whom suffered more than Palestine itself for allying with Palestine (Egypt, Iraq, Syria, etc.), whom Israel and its Western allies disrupted or destroyed out of fear for Israel. This is even more realistic when Palestine refuses to help itself, not fighting its corruption, ignorance and fanaticism, refusing to coexist with Israel or even benefit from it. Worse still, many Palestinians, e.g. Hamas, turn against and fight their own regional allies and best supporters, e.g. Egypt, and even fight their own liberal open-minded fellow Palestinians.

Palestine has suffered so much till it became too sick, requiring our sympathy, but also a special treatment. If a place is on fire, a body infected, etc. we should limit the damage first, by cordoning/quarantining it, then applying a "unique" treatment suiting it only. This is realistic albeit harsh, as any country could be in Palestine's shoes. Yet this is the case with our most democratic systems, that are only relatively fair, unable to satisfy every individual, minority, or even half of society, whose votes are simply ignored. 

Normalizing Israel doesn't mean abandoning Palestine. Countries should advise, help, or force Palestine to fight its "sickness," that makes peace, let alone normalization with Israel, impossible. On the other hand, Israel should help Palestinians do so when it can, rather than meet violence with more violence and perpetuate the conflict. It "owes" Palestine this, who made Israel's existence possible during a lawless colonial era. Israel's advanced prosperous present is the only cure to past mistakes, by sharing it ONLY with the Palestinians who appreciate the present and are willing to move forward, to the future, not backward to dark ages.

 

Tools

Neither Palestine nor Israel will resolve their chronic conflict as long as they are not under external pressure, where Palestine remains corrupt and fanatic, and Israel colonial and despotic. Unfortunately, international law enforcement is influenced by the US and other superpowers; and, worse still, many such laws are more idealistic than realistic, ignoring the power needed to enforce them. They need more compromises, exceptions, temporary solutions, etc., to adapt to the realities of world power balance. Examples:

  • The return of millions of Palestinian refugees worldwide whom/whose parents Israel had displaced is impossible without lowering the quality of life in Israel and sending it backward (or even leading to a civil war if they "return for revenge"), which is a great loss to Israel, the region, and all the countries it supports or cooperates with now. Selective return, temporary visa, and conditioned citizenship can be more practical.
  • Immediate self-determination for Palestine is risky as long as its corruption, fanaticism, over-breeding, etc. continue, leading to a failed militant state in the backyard of Israel and its neighbors. Instead, gradual autonomy can be allowed, conditioned incentives given to its reformers, and sanctions forced on regime members (not the whole population) in Palestine or other countries supporting its corruption/fanaticism.
  • After stopping the settlements, partial, gradual "land swap," simultaneously with Palestine's reform, can decrease tension, where for every Israeli occupied piece of land in West Bank a Palestinian one is offered in Israeli territory adjacent to West Bank, where "only" well-selected broad-minded peace-loving Palestinians can come and live in Israel (scholars, investors, etc.). This improves Israel's population quality, better than merely "importing" any Jews from any country with no geographic, let alone genetic, belonging to Israel.

Many of those against normalization with Israel lack EMPATHY, the glue of society needed in politics and otherwise, not putting themselves neither in Israel's nor Palestine's shoes, which requires some imagination, information, and involvement if possible.

Public diplomacy can help alongside state efforts:

  • Physically: Exchanged visits, trips, residence, etc.
  • Intellectually: Open debates. Awareness courses. Culture-oriented scholarships. Explaining business and investment opportunities.
  • Culturally: Sport, social & artistic events: contests, festivals, etc.

Certain groups can be esp. useful:

  • Israel's Arabs.
  • Israel's Mizrahi Jews, i.e. those from largely Muslim countries' origins.
  • Diaspora Mizrahi Jews, i.e. Jewish minorities who live in/migrated from those countries.
  • Israel's original Jews (Palestinian Jews) inhabiting it before the immigrant waves.
  • Non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries (Christians, Druze, etc.), who are usually less adversary toward Jews & Israel.
  • Non-Israeli scholars of Hebrew/Judaism.
  • Israeli scholars of Arabic/Islam/ME culture.
  • Respectable & influential celebrities, pacifists, futurists, etc.

Awareness programs should focus on properly informing each party about the other.

Arab/Muslim countries need to understand Israel:

  • After decades of its founding, most present Israelis were born and grew up in Israel, thus emotionally attached to it just like anyone feels toward their birthplace and land of childhood. This has little to do with the motives of their parents/grandparents, who may have immigrated to Israel out of religious zeal or a safer/better living. It has little to do with the legitimacy of Israel itself, as it's about human nature and psychology, not history or laws that are changing and man-made to serve human needs. Israelis love their country, not only out of attachment, but because it's a little paradise they worked hard to make, for themselves, their neighbors, and the whole world to enjoy.
  • The so-called Jewish State is not founded on religion as other theocracies are. It's a modern secular democratic state, that only uses religion to have the sympathy and support of Jewish/Jewish-friendly people abroad and to unite its incoming disparate multiethnic immigrants by a cultural common ground.
  • Religion has always been a sensitive issue many politicians manipulate. When Muslim Arabs invaded and Islamized Judeo-Christian Palestine 14 centuries ago, for more religious and political domination, they caused a long-lasting tension and triggered many wars, especially that Muslims already had their own holy sites elsewhere that they restrict to themselves, to control, visit and even keep away non-Muslim individuals or sites from. Both Palestine and its neighbors are still not secular enough to be entrusted with others' holy sites. However, this justifies a neutral, international, or even Judeo-Christian management of those holy sites, but not occupying the whole land (which is also geographically strategic, colonially attractive) and awkwardly calling it a Jewish state, mixing religion with state. If so, it could've been also called the Christian/Judeo-Christian state. It would've made more sense to compensate the Jews Europe had persecuted by restoring their land and properties in Europe, not in Palestine.

On the other hand, Israel needs to feel, understand and support "its" region, rather than isolate, antagonize and disrupt it (out of short-sighted protection) which is like suicide, having long-enduring damage on everyone. It must respect those whom it chose to exist among; it needs to know:

  • Palestine by nature wasn't a primitive isolated island to occupy, but rather a relatively civilized nation with people receiving and mingling with various world cultures.
  • Muslims felt threatened when some foreigners established in their middle a country defined by a (different) religion: the Jewish State.
  • Arab countries, while still gaining their liberation, pursuing development, and growing unity, had been shocked by a Western plot implanting an intruder, to serve western colonial interests, dash Arabs' dreams, halve the Arab World, cut off roads between Asian and African Arab countries, and dismember them one by one (Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, etc.) with the power of Western hegemony, over the UN itself, and Zionist media worldwide hiding its crimes while blaming the victim. No wonder many feel revengeful, insulted, and nostalgic, UNLESS they see a better future: a new, free, prosperous, diverse, United Middle East, based on shared interest (not merely on language, religion, or liberation movements), that they can build together, Arabs and non-Arabs.


 

Understanding Patriotism

A Multipolar World Benefits

 

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