TEL AVIV – Veteran Lebanese journalist Samir Atallah penned a scathing article on the Arab people’s inability to conduct negotiations without resorting to threats, as well as the hypocrisy of the Arab world’s outrage towards external threats like Israel, which may have demolished “a house or two” while Arabs destroy entire cities.
Writing in English in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Atallah slams the Arab nations’ proclivity to speak of one another in terms of endearment including “brother” and “comrade” – even though they refuse to talk directly to each other.
“From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf, ‘the great Arab homeland’ is in the hands of international mediators,” Atallah writes, noting that many Arab conflicts have been mediated by third parties such as the UN.
But even in those cases, he adds, the parties cannot come to an agreement because Arabs do not know how to hold a dialogue and always “demand, impose and threaten rather than discuss.”
Atallah points to the failed reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian political factions Fatah and Hamas, though he applauds the two for meeting in the past in an effort to rise above their own differences so they can work together against the “brutal Zionist enemy.”
But Arabs are not capable of following through, Atallah says. They prefer to express fury and indignation when “the brutal enemy destroys a house or two from time to time while the gracious brother destroys cities, re-destroys them and then sees a wall that is still standing and vies for it.”
“You might think that these things only happen in the worst nightmares, but then you wake up and realize that the nightmare and the reality of the nation is one and that the role of intermediaries is an unconscious complicity in procrastination, hypocrisy, digging people’s graves and burying hope.”
“Arabs do not know the meaning of dialogue,” Atallah concludes.