Recent developments on the Arab-Israeli front include the following: A massacre at a Jerusalem Jewish seminary perpetrated by an east Jerusalem resident, a near lynch of municipal parking inspectors, a call for martyrdom at a mass rally in Umm al Fahm, and repeated warnings issued by the Shin Bet director indicating that Israeli Arabs are increasingly involved in terror activities….
According to Dr. Dan Shiftan of the University Of Haifa School Of Political Science, “we are witnessing an ongoing process of radicalization in Arab society…. the stone throwing incidents we have witnessed as of late are no coincidence, and are a direct product of this radicalization, which legitimizes violence in retaliation for perceived Jewish atrocities.”
The majority of the Arab public, notes Shiftan, chooses to endorse leaders that explicitly call for the annihilation of the State of Israel. “Arabs have such an extreme, incendiary leadership today because these are the very views that get Arab leaders elected. Arab leaders that are elected these days must espouse radical views not only calling for the destruction of Israel, but also supporting all of Israel’s enemies worldwide…Any Jew-murdering terrorist is immediately embraced by the current Arab leadership.”
From the Arab point of view, the problem is discrimination against Israeli Arabs and incitement against them by right-wing politicians:
Dr. Khaled Abu-Asba, a professor for the sociology of education at the university of Haifa has also, like Shiftan, studied Israel’s Arab population extensively for many years. Like Shiftan, he blames radicalism and incitement for the utter breach of trust between Jews and Israeli Arabs, but believes that the incitement in question stems form Israeli rightist[s].
“There is an onslaught of abuse these days,” says Abu-Asba. “People blame Arab leaders for instigating violence, but when a Jewish MK says ‘we’ll throw you out’ or ‘we’ll take care of you all’ no one says a word. Is this not incitement? Are there Arab MKs making similar statements?”
Abu-Asba further notes that “as Israeli Arabs we are Israeli citizens, but also members of the Palestinian people with political views befitting such….as Israeli Arabs we are hurt most by the current violence as we are caught right in the middle of the fray.”
There is no doubt that discrimination against Israeli Arabs exists. On the other hand, perceived differences in allocation of public funds, etc. are also due to different standards of governance in Jewish and Arab localities (which are run according to traditional patronage systems).
But discrimination and allocation of resources are problems that can be dealt with. The intractable part is ‘political views’ among the Arabs that there should not be a Jewish state, and the support of ‘leaders’ who call for the murder of Jews and the destruction of the state.
Unfortunately, this point of view is prevalent among the opinion leaders and intellectuals among the Israeli Arabs (see my post “Israeli Arab intellectuals are irresponsible“).
Israelis, Jewish and Arab, need to ask themselves seriously “what will be the future”? In particular, those Arabs who are advocating civil war — because that is what they are in fact advocating — should understand that they will probably lose such a war and bring upon themselves a nakba (catastrophe) greater than that of 1948.
Although it seems unthinkable to them, peace and cooperation would be far more beneficial.