Saturday, February 8, 2020

What If Arab Nations Had Recognized Israel in 1948?

The story comes to us from the Arab News, a newspaper printed in Saudi Arabia. The author is a retired commodore of the Royal Saudi Navy. His foray into counterfactual history asks what would have happened in 1948 if the Arab states had recognized Israel’s right to exist. It dates to last December, but it counts as a part of a major shift in attitude.

Consider it a sign of effective diplomacy. At a time when Democratic presidential candidates and the Democratic Party is aligning itself in favor of Palestinian rights and against the pro-Israeli Trump administration, Saudi leaders allowed a leading military figure to assess in public the cost of Arab rejection of the legitimacy of the state of Israel. This preceded the new peace plan. But surely Saudi authorities knew of the plan before it was announced.

We have on this blog followed the strategic realignment taking place today in the Middle East. We have also followed the reformist tendencies of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The article by the Saudi commodore represents a gesture of humility, a gesture suggesting that Arab states have paid a heavy price for their support of the so-called Palestinian cause.

The Jerusalem Post has the story:

A prominent commodore (ret.) of the Royal Saudi Navy, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, speculated on what if the Arab states had recognized Israel following its declaration of independence in May 1948, in which he surmises that numerous reverberating political events would not have occurred throughout the Middle East in the ensuing years. The op-ed was published in Arab News, an English-language newspaper based in Saudi Arabia.

Acknowledging the context of the current regional lack of interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in part due to several crises facing Arab states in the region, Al-Mulhim argues that “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.”

I will spare you the details, but the counterfactual analysis should be taken as another important diplomatic gesture in support of an alliance with Israel, and in support of the new Trump peace plan.

Now, if only the Democratic Party would support it and if only the Israelis do not elect a government that rejects it… things will continue moving in the right direction.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

As I often say, the Palis never miss a chance to miss a chance, or to miss an opportunity.