Dubai: Arabs must unite and apply force to establish a viable Palestinian state, as Israel remains the main threat to the Arab world, speakers told the audience on the second day of the Arab Media Forum.
Speaking at a session titled ‘Jerusalem at the heart of media,’ Tariq Al Momani, editor-in-chief of Al Rai newspaper in Jordan, confirmed that despite developments in the region since 2011, such as the Arab Spring, which has caused systematic destruction of peace, stability and Arab heritage in Iraq and Syria through the growing Iranian influence, Israel remains the No. 1 enemy of the Arab world while Iran comes in the second place.
“Although the casualties in Syria are much higher and the level of the Syrian crisis is grave, the Palestinian issue remains at the heart of the Arab world and is the longest-running and the worst-of-all crisis,” he said.
Al Momani pointed out that the global media remains silent on Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people and the brutality shown by uniformed Israeli soldiers, particularly against young men.
“With the death of Yitzhak Rabin, the assassinated Israeli Prime Minister, we lost a partner in peace. Since then, things have been pushed to the extreme by the conservative and hawkish Israeli leaders. That’s why the Palestinian cause has taken a back seat, as if everyone has given up and the focus is only on Syria and Iran,” he said.
Another speaker on the panel, Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Services, agreed that although the news media is still dominated by the Syrian crisis, the Palestine issue remains the biggest in the Middle East and the Arab world.
“We need to differentiate between the Israeli and Iranian issue and should not mix both. The Palestinian issue is not only an Arab issue — but a global one — since the United Nations had initiated negotiations,” he said.
Describing Palestinians as “a nation without its own country and sovereignty”, Rashwan pointed out the Palestinian issue is a very unique case that has not been faced by any other country.
“Arabs need to show not only courage but also put pressure on Israel to listen and negotiate. Israel doesn’t believe in peace and a Palestinian state. It will not listen unless forced to,” said Rashwan.
He explained there is a need for Arab countries to adopt a unified stand and use force and courage to push the Palestinian agenda back on track. “Force is needed like in the 1973 war by Egypt and Syria that forced Israel to concede and listen. Without the use of force, Israel will not listen,” said Rashwan.
Meanwhile, Nabeel Al Hamer, former Bahraini Minister of Information, referred to the gap in negotiations between Palestine and Israel. “There should be continuous negotiations on how to preserve the Arab identity and heritage that Israel is systematically destroying,” he said,
Al Hamer pointed out that Arab and GCC countries have remained by the Palestinian side, helping them rebuild their economies and societies and supporting them whenever there was an incursion.