Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre-Blogging the "Muslim World" Speech

The Israel-Palestine conflict is a 60 Years War that I genuinely doubt I will see solved in my lifetime. Tomorrow, our President visits Cairo to give his long-awaited speech to the "Muslim World" (on that poisonous term, see here and here). No doubt he will hold out hope for a 2-state solution. I suspect he will demand that the Israelis soften their position and make some concessions; I doubt he will demand anything of the Arabs. There's a good chance he'll buy into the Arab lunacy that argues that nothing can be improved anywhere in the greater Middle East until Palestine is free. And I know he won't remind Hosni Mubarak of his nation's complicity in creating the conflict. There were population displacements throughout the first half of the 20th century, and we've forgotten about most of them. Why does this one still fester? Oh, that's right:
Egypt's policy for the Strip was succinctly spelled out by the deputy governor, Muhammad Flafaga, in an interview appearing in the Danish newspaper Aktuelt on February 9, 1967:

Question: Why not send the refugees to other Arab countries? Syria would no doubt be able to absorb a vast number of them. Are you afraid that national bonds with Palestine will be loosened, that the hatred against Israel will vanish if they become ordinary citizens?

Answer: As a matter of fact, you are right. Syria could take all of them, and the problem would be solved. But we do not want that. They are to return to Palestine.

UNRWA reported in 1956: "One of the obstacles to the achievement of the General Assembly's goal of making the refugees self-supporting continues to be the opposition of the governments in the area."

Ralph Galloway, an UNRWA official who quit in frustration, observed bitterly: "The Arab states don't want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as a weapon against Israel. Arab leaders don't give a damn whether the refugees live or die."

Palestinians are despised and maltreated throughout the Arab world. Some are even starting to notice. But the Arab governments continue to feign concern and insist that no concern in the Middle East can possibly be addressed until there is a 2-state solution, because the Palestinians are their only effective weapon against Israel. And the US will swallow these ludicrous pretenses and play right along.

And the rest of President Obama's speech? Lots of feel-good hokum. Some riff on "religion of peace" will appear, along with references to the great achievements of the medieval Muslim world. He will mention his Muslim father, which will cause every listener to wonder "then why aren't you?". He will mention his childhood schooling in Indonesia, which will make as much sense to his listeners as if were visiting, say, Latvia, and brought up my childhood schooling in West Africa as if it gave me some special connection. Terrorists will not be mollified, authoritarians will not be challenged, and things will go on more or less as they have.

UPDATE: More on the folly of the "Muslim World" from Lee Smith at Slate:
Obama's speech to the "Muslim world" serves to erase the national borders of our Arab allies, and however questionable those allies are, their borders serve American interests, and erasing them serves Iranian ends.
UPDATE II: Asylum link-back. Thanks!

2 comments:

Elephantschild said...

"the great achievements of the medieval Muslim world"

And which ones since?

Evan said...

... ... [crickets chirping] ...

Muslims have made some great achievements more recently, just mostly in America and Israel. There are more patents by Arab-Americans than by the entire "Arab world".

The great success of the Arab diaspora should be a slap in the face to the Arab governments, and I suspect it is. It's stark proof that they are they only thing holding their people back.