The Union of Journalists in Egypt in a meeting rejected any suggestion to normalize relations with Israel. Incidentally, since the establishment of relations there have hardly been any media exchanges between the two countries.
While the Israeli side may have tried to woo Egyptian journalists to visit the Zionist state, the Egyptians had not shown any interest.
The Israelis had to tried to penetrate the Cairo Book Fair over the years but failed miserably once again. It seems they could not comprehend that you cannot have "natural" relations with any Arab country as long as you occupy Arab lands and oppress its people.
The Israelis tried various methods including some worn out public relations exercises but were unsuccessful.
With the signing of the peace treaty with Jordan, the Israelis felt that they will have Arabs rushing in. However, once again Israel was disappointed. You cannot erase the blood of the innocent women and children with a signature. Some Western friends of mine have asked whether we as individuals can be friendly with Israelis or this perpetual hatred will continue. My answer to them is to seek the root causes of the hatred and suspicion that exist.
Find out and discover how the original inhabitants of the land were forced to flee from their hearths and homes. Discover for yourself how mass murders of innocent villagers were carried out at the behest of criminals like Menachem Begin. Turn the pages of newspapers some ten odd years ago and read the statements of butchers like Sharon whose dogs of war caused untold hardships to the Palestinians and the inhabitants of South Lebanon and West Beirut.
Then maybe you will get the answer.
It is not easy to remedy the wrongs of decades. It is an exercise in futility to forgive and forget. No amount of words from do-gooders is going to convince the ordinary Arab that peace with the Israelis is only a handshake away.
And for those who are gullible among us to believe that Israel is ready for peace and co-existence, it would be appropriate to first have a look at Israel's arsenal with a deadly array of conventional and nuclear weapon manned by a paranoid leadership.
There are certain segments in the Israeli community who would opt for peace. But they are rare and few. A new election could wipe them from the political map of the Zionist state.
So what do we have here? And Israel emboldened by its freely supplied arsenal against whom are pitted the Arabs all clamoring and groveling in mortification - fearful that their overtures will be shunned.
But why all this sham? Is it to please some errant individual? Or is it to prove that the "bad boys" have now turned over a new leaf and become good guys. That does not even happen in an Italian Western!!
Please do not misconstrue that I am a warmonger. On the contrary, I pray, and millions of Arabs pray, for peace. We pray that our area be one without wars, one where the blood of the innocent and the weak shall not be shed in vain. We have seen on television the effect of cluster bombs.
But what can we do for peace. Only a few days ago, I focused on the same subject - peace - wherein I said that the Arabs would not be railroaded to peace. I received many calls - all agreed that if peace is to be attained and that too a permanent peace - then the structure for this infinite peace should be set up. This can come only through joint efforts, through cooperation based on equality. The peace that will usher in a new era should be an honorable peace and not like the Versailles Treaty which, by imposing an unjust peace on the vanquished, made sure that the embers of World War-I would remain alive to burst into a bigger conflagration.
You cannot tell a Palestinian child who has seen his father or brother shot by blue-eyed boys from Brooklyn or whose house has been demolished by caterpillars driven by Satanic-looking Israelis to forget.
The wounds are too deep. The pain too excruciating. The emotions too high.
Peace will come to the area when Israel realizes that its shenanigans can no longer work. It will dawn when there will be a change of heart.
You cannot force peace. The mind and the heart will not accept it. As long as oppression and repression continues there will be no peace except in polite statements.
It is in the context of this that unions and associations in the Arab World find it difficult to deal with the "naturalization" process.