THE population of Israel reached 8.8 million at the beginning of this year; with 6.5 million of them being Jews and the remaining Palestinians. On the other hand, the total population in the Arab world is 395 million, and the Palestinian population based on the 1967 border agreement is 4,780,000.
This demographic statistic is enough to answer many questions if Arabs actually want to ensure peace in the region, focus on development, gain international support and erase the stereotypic image of them being enemies of peace and seekers of war.
In fact, it answers an important question, which is, “What are the underlying risks of peace with Israel?”
Past experiences have proven that Arabs are unable to liberate Palestine through war. The population data implies the possibility of assimilating this regime in a different manner – through population increase, especially in the occupied Palestine.
Besides the fact that last year’s population census made the Israeli government nervous in terms of the demographic imbalance between the Jews and Palestinians, the Arab political presence in the Israeli legislative establishments is growing and increasing in strength.
During the first elections in 1949, there were only three Arab parliamentarians; whereas today there are 15 parliamentarians with influential voice in the political power balance within the Knesset.
Since Aug 29, 1967 Arabs have been raising the slogan “No to recognition, No to reconciliation, No to negotiations”. This was after the “July” defeat when Israel, within a few days, managed to occupy the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai.
This is when a new phase of floundering began for the Arab countries in dealing with the Palestinian case, which transformed into a means of livelihood for many Arabs.
At that time, Israel was operating based on the idea laid down by its Prime Minister, the late Levi Eshkol. This idea was “Engage in war with Arabs for ten years and we will devour some of their land. They will run to us to negotiate about the recently occupied land while we keep on expanding. This means we impose on them gradual concession of Palestine and other land.”
Disarray among Arabs in taking decisions has rendered Israel to take control of 80 percent of the Palestinian land, in addition to Syria’s Golan Heights, and Sheba Farms in Lebanon. While all this is happening, there are voices that are still calling for “liberation from the river to the sea”.
No bullet disturbs the silence of the frontiers with Israel. The bearers of the liberation slogans, whether in Syria or Iraq or Yemen or Lebanon, are drowning in Arab blood.
Past experiences have proven that the Arab “rampage” neither liberates any land nor gives any Palestinian his/her rights.
Therefore, the bet should be on a peace solution which will not only put Israel within recognized borders, but also ensure there is a State of Palestine which will guarantee the rights of its people.
This is exactly what the late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat had realized, and he advisably managed to regain the occupied Egyptian land via negotiations, which is the same path taken by Jordan to regain its land – through the Wadi Araba Treaty (Israel-Jordan peace treaty).
Based on this, it is possible to look at the recent developments in the Palestinian aspect, and find ways to exit from this stagnant impasse which will never benefit anyone except the extremist and terrorist forces that are sponsored by Iran’s expansionism regime.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times