The Americans and some of their NATO allies are bent on pushing the Middle East to integration.
In their haste to afford Israel a "chance to live in peace", they are using all sorts of pressure and scare tactics.
Among some of their ruses is the 'need' for joint Arab-Israeli action against "fundamentalist terror". The Americans are concerned about attacks by 'Islamic extremists' on Israel.
On the other hand, there is growing pressure put on the Arabs by the Americans on Israeli insistence to implement a regional economic integration.
The goal of these two countries is a Middle East free trade zone and a regional trading bloc centered on Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinians.
They want the removal of all trade barriers including the Arab economic boycott of Israel.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown is shuttling Kissinger style trying persuade Arab states to lift formally the Arab boycott of Israel.
However, on analyzing the problems facing the development of a free trade zone, the main focus is put on possible attacks by extremists. The concern is that Israel might be attacked by groups opposed to peace.
What is totally and conveniently ignored is the repression and occupation by Israel with acknowledgment by its allies of the Gaza and the West Bank.
As Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian negotiator, pointed out "separation and integration can't go together."
Mr. Shaath added that "you cannot have a free trade zone with Israeli closures, seizures, blockades and barriers to the freedom of movement of goods, people, investment and tourists."
One may also add repression and physical liquidation of the people of the occupied Palestinian land.
Everyday one reads about young Palestinian children falling to Israeli bullets. Israeli settlers are using Palestinian farmers as target practice. Pictures of Israeli soldiers with sadistic grins on their faces rifle butting old women and stamping on them.
How can those with an ounce of self respect and dignity deal with such type of people. Nothing what Israel does seems to be wrong in some eyes. The Israeli cabinet has approved the expansion settlements around Jerusalem. Israeli soldiers, a couple of days ago, killed 19 year old Yussef Abu Amta for "observing" a Jewish settlement.
Israel is using helicopters, aerial photos and bulldozers to stop Arabs building in Jerusalem while it steams ahead with constructing homes for Jewish settlers. The projects are financed by "well-wishers" in the United States.
The intimidation and harassment of Arabs continue while the Israelis go ahead with their plans for final annexation of Jerusalem.
By changing the demographical set up, the Israelis believe that they will be able to produce evidence to substantiate their long-standing and false claim to the first Qibla of Islam.
The Arabs are of course helpless and unable to counter Israeli intransigence and effrontery. Israel which possesses a formidable nuclear arsenal has also refused to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It seems that the so-called peace process is bent on pushing the Arab states into submission.
And while it should be the Arabs who should scream and shout it is Israeli's security concerns which are highlighted.
An economic integration of the area with Israel would mean Israeli economic hegemony. The Arabs after fifty years have not been able to achieve a sizable inter-Arab trade figure.
Besides, low level production and exports would mean a one-sided trade street. According to 1993 World Trade figures, Israeli exports were valued at 14.8 billion dollars while those of Egypt were 4.7 billion only.
Israel is arguing for cheap Arab labor and Arab capital to combine with Israeli 'technology and management' and Mr. Ron Brown is trying to use Washington's clout to further this aim.
The argument of Israel negates itself. If there is cheap Arab labor and Arab money why go to Israel?
There is no lack of management skills in the Arab World. And, provided the Arabs do away with bureaucrats and corrupt hurdles and improve upon their work ethics, there is no need for any integration with Israel.
We should look after our own interests and let others look after Israel.