Rising dangers in the Mideast | Jordan Press | Ammon News

Rising dangers in the Mideast

[1/7/2013 12:00:00 AM]

by Nasouh Majali/ The Jordan Times

From time to time, Israeli extremist parties send political balloons to either the Palestinians who aspire to a two-state solution or to threaten Jordan, which supports the Palestinian stand.

The option of a West Bank-Jordan confederation has been raised as a substitute to a negotiated peace agreement between Palestinians and Israelis that would lead to an independent Palestinian state.

This political balloon has been used several times to threaten the Palestinian Authority, as well as Jordan; it led to bitter political arguments both in Jordan and in the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has adopted a solution that considers the Palestinians in the West Bank as Jordanian citizens living on Israeli lands. The Allon plan suggested giving Jordan administrative rule over the highly populated cities in the West Bank, while keeping the rest of the West Bank as Israeli territories.

The same concept was adopted by Menachem Begin when Israel suggested self-rule for the Palestinians in the West Bank.

Palestinians were considered Jordanians on Israeli land, the maximum recognition Israel would give to the Palestinians.

Since 1950, Israel refused to recognise the unity between Jordan and the West Bank, and waited for the opportunity to reoccupy the West Bank. Israeli plans to reoccupy the West Bank have been ready since 1950, as Israeli documents showed after the 1967 war.

At this stage, the Arab political system began to fall under the pressure at the dissatisfied Arab population, after it failed in the military struggle with Israel and to achieve a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue, as well as failing to adopt democracy in the Arab political system or to secure a dignified, secure relationship between the Arab states and citizens.

The peace treaties achieved with Israel reflected the Israeli domination and the weakness of the Arab states. They did not help bring peace in the region or serve the Palestinian cause. On the contrary, they left the Palestinians to face the danger of occupation alone.

From this point on, a turning point in the Arab world was expected. The assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was a significant spark.

The Iran-Iraq war introduced political Islam as a major factor in the Middle East politics. It was driven by sectarian motives, encouraged by major powers that supported both sides.

The Alawite regime in Syria, which considers itself part of the Shiite sect, supported Iran against Iraq. This was another indication of a wider sectarian struggle in the region.

Syria played the role of a bridge, extending the Iranian sectarian influence into Lebanon and the region.

Since the Iran-Iraq war, politics in the Arab region began to turn gradually into sectarian struggle. Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf states faced sectarian threats.

The Arab Spring turned into a spring for the rising political Islam. The Sunni Islam that prevailed in Egypt and in most of the states in North Africa penetrated also in Syria, Jordan and Yemen.

Political Islam brought with it the threat of division in the Arab world and the region to a struggle between political Shiite and political Sunni Islam. The peak of this sectarian struggle shows itself in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain.

The transformation of the countries in the region from national to religious states enhances sectarian struggle and suits Israel. It divides the Arab and Muslim worlds, and strengthens Israel as a Jewish state, founded according to historic religious claims, a theory that is well accepted in the Western world.

The Middle East is heading towards more extremism. The opportunity of peace seems to be lost, blocked by Israeli extremists, as well as by political Islamic groups.

The struggle, accordingly, will change into a holy war run by extremist groups who, on both sides, consider the occupied land a holy heritage, not negotiable. Sectarian political struggle in the region will change the nature of the conflict and affect the Palestinian issue.

It will lead to more political and religious extremism, unless major powers and the international community assume the responsibility of finding a just solution in the Middle East, to save the region and the world from the rising dangers in the Middle East.

The writer is former minister of information and media expert. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.

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