Somewhere on A1A...

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Why aren't the Arabs saying this?

There's nothing new in this report by Greer Fay Cashman of the Jerusalem Post. There is, however a question that comes to mind when I read:

Itzhak Frankenthal, a prominent figure among the bereaved parents, said they had come to endorse the President's decision to commute the sentences of 69 Palestinian prisoners. Nothing can erase the pain of loss for any of the parents, said Frankenthal , "but if we don't try to understand Palestinian needs, nothing will change. We lost our children because there was no peace. Despite any reservations we may have, we must make painful concessions." With few exceptions primarily Tuesday's terrorist attacks Israel benefited from the hudna, said Frankenthal. "What did the Palestinians get out of it? Nothing!"

In its quest to achieve true reconciliation, said Frankenthal, the delegation hoped to persuade Katsav to impress upon the government that even more painful concessions must be made. First and foremost among these is Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Why aren't there any Arabs speaking of concession or compromise? There are none. They want it all.

I don't speak Arabic, but I'm fascinated by the debate over whether there is or is not even a word in Arabic that means compromise.
There are phrases used for “compromise” put no single word just meaning “compromise”. In fact, one word when translated back to English also means “shame/disgrace”. I have asked Arabic speakers and not one was able to blurt out a word. I heard President Mubarak giving a press conference in Arabic The only word not spoken in Arabic was the word compromise (he said it in English).
It was interesting to me that both sides pointed to the same article by Tarek Heggy that was featured a while back at Winds of Change.

It's an interesting debate, but it appears to me that Mr. Heggy's point of view is the one supported by the facts and the actions of the Arabs. The other side’s argument is just fluff. The Arabs continue to demonstrate that making any compromise is unacceptable. They continue to act as if making concessions or of compromising on any point is shameful and dishonorable. Mr. Heggy is right.

Unless or until Arab culture changes sufficiently to allow compromise there will be no peace. Absent that change peace will only come when they are utterly defeated. As long as they refuse to compromise and continue to block the road to peace, the only roads available will be to ruin. Propping up a moderate looking figurehead like Abbas may make us feel good in the short term, but the cause of the pain is still there.


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