What if Arabs had recognized the State of Israel in 1948?

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Foreign Policy, Occupation Channel: Opinion Views: 4390

I HAVE been exposed to Palestinians since I was in first grade in Al-Hassa, Saudi Arabia They were my favorite teachers. They were the most dedicated and the most intelligent among all my instructors, from elementary to high school.

When I was attending New York-based SUNY Maritime college (1975-1979), I read a lot of books about Palestinians, Arabs and the Israelis. I have read every article about the many chances the Palestinians had and missed to solve their problem, especially the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel.

I have seen and read about the lives of the Palestinians in the US and other places. They are very successful in every field. And at the same time I saw the Arab countries at the bottom of the list in education and development. And I always ask the question: What if the Palestinians and the Arabs accepted the presence of Israel on May 14, 1948 and recognized its right to exist? Would the Arab world have been more stable, more democratic and more advanced?

If Israel was recognized in 1948, then the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of some Arab dictators who kept telling them that the refugees would be back in their homes and all Arab lands will be liberated and Israel will be sent to the bottom of the sea. Some Arab leaders used the Palestinians for their own agenda to suppress their own people and to stay in power.

Since 1948, if an Arab politician wanted to be the hero and the leader of the Arab world, then he has a very easy way to do it. He just shouts as loud as he can about the intention to destroy Israel, without mobilizing one soldier (Talk is cheap).

If Israel was recognized in 1948, then there would have been no need for a coup in Egypt against King Farouq in 1952 and there would have been no attack on Egypt in 1956 by The UK, France and Israel. Also there will be no war in June 1967 and the size of Israel will not be increased and we, the Arabs would not have the need for a UN resolution to beg Israel to go back to the pre-1967 borders. And no war of attrition between Egypt and Israel that caused more casualties on the Egyptian side than the Israeli side.

After the 1967 war, Israel became a strategic ally of the US because before this war, the US was not as close to Israel as people in the Arab world think. The Israelis fought in that war using mainly French and British weapons. At that time, the US administrations refused to supply Israel with more modern aircraft and weapon systems such as the F-4 Phantom.

The Palestinian misery was also used to topple another stable monarchy, this time in Iraq and replacing it with a bloody dictatorship in one of the richest countries of the world. Iraq is rich in minerals, water reserves, fertile land and archaeological sites. The military led by Abdul Karim Qassim killed King Faisal II and his family. Bloodshed in Iraq continued and this Arab country has seen more violent revolutions and one of them was carried out in the 1960s by a brigade that was sent to help liberate Palestine. Instead it made a turn and went back and took over Baghdad. Even years later, Saddam Hussien said that he will liberate Jerusalem via Kuwait. He used Palestinians misery as an excuse to invade Kuwait.

If Israel were recognized in 1948, then the 1968 coup would not have taken place in another stable and rich monarchy (Kingdom of Libya). King Idris was toppled and Muammar Qaddafi took over.

There were other military coups in the Arab world such as Syria, Yemen and the Sudan. And each one of them used Palestine as their reason for such acts. The Egyptian regime of Jamal Abdul Nasser used to call the Arab Gulf states backward states and he tried to topple the governments of these Gulf states by using his media and his military forces. He even attacked southern borders of Saudi Arabia using his air force bases in Yemen.

Even a non-Arab country (Iran) used Palestine to divert the minds of their people from internal unrest. I remember Ayatollah Khomeini declaring that he would liberate Jerusalem via Baghdad and President Ahmadinejad making bellicose statements about Israel, though not even a single fire cracker was fired from Iran toward Israel.

Now, the Palestinians are on their own. Each Arab country is busy with its own crisis. From Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Somalia, Algeria, Lebanon and the Gulf states. For now, the Arab countries have put the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on hold.


Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, is Commodore (Retd.), Royal Saudi Navy. He is based in Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia, and can be contacted at: almulhimnavy [at] hotmail.com.

  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Foreign Policy, Occupation  Channel: Opinion
Views: 4390

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Older Comments:
How about if you argue, ''What if the west had recognized the state of Palestine'' That would have saved the Palestinians from being kicked out of the land. And there would not have been any excuses for Arab leaders to use Palestinians as an excuse to maintain power. Wouldn't that make more sense? Saudi Arabia today is a backwards rogue state. And you being part of its military in the past have no other choice but to write in the interests of the Saudi King and not in the interest of the Palestinians. Remember it was the Zionist Jews who chose to kick out the Palestinians, not the other way around. Two wrongs don't make a right. So you argue that the Arabs would have a lot to gain if they recognized the forced expulsion of the Palestinian people. I would argue that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) would side with the Palestinians not because they are not Jews but because it would be the moral thing to do. And I also would think the Prophet Mohammed would also call for the destruction of the House of Saud which keeps its people like animals trapped in a zoo, punishing people when they ask for freedom or show dissent. Shame on you and shame on your corrupt leader.

I agree with giving the jews their rights, and it is possible that
if there rights were given then these wars wouldnt have happened. I
do not agree with other commentors. For example one calling the
writer pathetic, if you dont agree with it, thats fine, but as a
muslim you arent allowed to name call. There are many verses in the
Holy Quran that call for unity, peace and justice to non muslims.O
mankind, We have created you from a male and a female and have made
you into nations and tribes for you to know one another. Truly, the
noblest of you with God is the most pious.2 Truly, God is All-
Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran, 49:13)The life and property of all
citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred, whether a person
is Muslim or not. Islam also protects honor. So, in Islam,
insulting others or making fun of them is not allowed. The Prophet
Muhammad said: {Truly your blood, your property, and your honor are
inviolable.}..And let not the hatred of others make you avoid
justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.... (Quran, 5:8)

The Prophet Muhammad said: {People, beware of injustice, for
injustice shall be darkness on the Day of Judgment.}

May Allah guide us all on the right path.

We never admit we are wrong. Teh writer only ask a qustion. He started his asrticle giving the Paestinians good words. He doesn't say he is with Israel. Don't we see Libyan planes poubding its own people. We are at the bottom of the list of world development and look at Israel. Get real people

Kudos to brother Rouad Natsheh and Owen Jubandan. Well said. Shukran

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, Retired Commodore, of the Royal Saudi Navy, it is time for you to take a dip in the deep blue sea. I find your article very amusing indeed.

This is one of the best analysis of what these middle east dictaors are all about. BUT its never too late to learn. This world and its resources are enough for all of us. We all can live in peace as friendly neighbours. Israel is going to be there and so the arb countries. recognising each other is the only solution.

Only from the mouth of a pathetic Saudi general could such words of defeat and surrender be uttered. The author seems to lament the overthrow of illegitimate monarchs of Egypt and Iraq. This is only expected of a general working for the House of Saud. Without the baggage of monarchy, Egypt and Iraq will be the torch bearers of the Arabs, while countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain with their illegal dictators and their cronies will only languish.

The tone of this argument is all wrong; people could go as far as asking if this entire conflict would have even started had the 'superpowers' of the early 19th Century put in enough effort to resist Hitler and his maniacal regime. You can't put the blame on the Arabs' shoulders; even from the early days of Prophet Mohamed (alai il'salaat wa'l salaam) Muslims have been fighting wars to counter imperialistic acts whose sole purpose was to kill off Islam. Now you want us to look back at the past 60 years and say we should have done things differently or would it have even made a difference? That's completely illogical and degrading to our cause; maybe you should type up an article about how the US and the jews should stop killing innocent people over land that was obtained contrary to their own man-made policies...maybe it would be a better article, one that doesn't stop at the chronology of 1968...maybe you should try that one out brother...maybe.

Prophet Mohammed PBUH once said "If a man had two streams full of gold, he would still ask for a third. Only the grave can satisfy man's greed." -- Tirmizī, Kitāb al-Zuhd, Hadith no. 27.

To suggest the idea that Israel would be satisfied with the 1948 land had the Arabs agreed to give it away to them is erroneous. Had this been true then Israel would have made peace long time ago rather then conspiring for more wars and building more settlements to steal more land.

Moreover, how dare you suggest that the Palestinians would have been better off to accept the theft of their own property? Your article is subtly suggesting that the Palestinians should have raised the white flag and sat there sipping tea while allowing invading foreigners to storm into their homes and evicting them. Islamicity should not allow this type of content to be published in its website. As this type of content promotes surrendering and instills the idea of admitting defeat without even trying.

I leave you with another Hadith by Prophet Mohammed PBUH who said "A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor leaves him in evil hands." - Bukhārī, Kitāb al-Mazālim, Hadith no. 3.