JERUSALEM (VINnews) — The recent peace agreements between Israel and Arab nations in the Middle East have exposed and refuted the myth that there can be no peace without a solution to the Palestinian question. For decades, both European and US administrations believed that there could be no progress in the region without a comprehensive solution to the Palestinian problem, including both the territorial and refugee issues. At present there has been no progress on either issue but the Arab countries, eager to reap the benefits of a relationship with Israel’s burgeoning hi-tech and industrial sectors.
Inexplicably, the Joint Arab List representing the Israeli Arab sector chose to oppose these peace agreements, citing the need for solidarity with the Palestinian Arabs. However this decision has now split the sector and the political party into two opposing factions, with the leader of the Ra’am faction, Mansour Abbas, announcing that he represents only Arab Israelis concerns and does not rule out joining with a right-wing government.
At the same time, thousands of Israeli Arabs are beginning to understand that they have been held hostage to the Palestinian issue and have paid a heavy price for this due to their own political establishment’s hardline stance which persuaded many Israelis that they adopt the Palestinan narrative. Most Arabs oppose suicide bombings, rammings and random stabbing of Israeli civilians and wish to remain law-abiding citizens in the only Middle Eastern democracy. They do not support the activities of Arab MKs who incite over the El-Aqsa mosque, support Hezbollah and smuggle cellphones to convicted security prisoners. Many of them will join Mansour’s initiative in the hope to improve their own sector’s infrastructure, opportunities and integration into Israeli society.
There is no doubt that if Mansour continues his attempts to embrace Israeli society, he will have many more followers and Israel’s relationship with the Arab minority will change dramatically. Ultimately this will also lead to an agreement with the Palestinians, when they see the improved status of Israeli Arabs and realize the benefits of cooperation with Israel.