A. AL-Mulhim: What if the Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948?

Roundup: Talking About History

[The writer is a commodore (ret.) in the Royal Saudi Navy. He is based in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia, and can be contacted at almulhimnavy@hotmail.com.]

I have been exposed to Palestinians since I was in first grade in Al- Hassa, Saudi Arabia. They were the most dedicated and intelligent among all my instructors, from elementary to high school. When I was attending New York-based SUNY Maritime college (1975-1979), I read a lot of books about Palestinians, Arabs and the Israelis. I have read every article about the many chances the Palestinians missed to solve their problem, especially the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel. I have seen and read about the lives of Palestinians in the US and other places. They are very successful in every field.

At the same time, I saw the Arab countries at the bottom of the list in education and development. And I ask the question: What if the Palestinians and Arabs accepted Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced? If Israel were recognized in 1948, the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of Arab dictators who kept telling them the refugees would be back in their homes, all Arab lands would be liberated and Israel would be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians to suppress their own people and stay in power.

Since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be a hero, he had an easy way of doing it. He just needed to shout as loud as he could about his intention to destroy Israel, without mobilizing a single soldier (talk is cheap)...

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