Abba Eban: "The Arabs Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity"

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been a long peace-threatening issue in the Middle East. The main participants in the conflict have been Israel, which has been fighting with the Arabic countries in the region. Often, Israel has been wrangling with Palestine over territorial and terror suspicions. Israel has been proved to have an upper hand in the conflict, whereby it has been the motivator for most of the wrangle subjects. For instance, Israel’s president, B. Netanyahu, has taking approaches towards the Arabs that have disfavored them. As a result, the Arabs fight for their rights, thereby creating a conflict. Israeli citizens have also made some reckless statements that contribute to the intensification of the conflict. For example, Abba Eban, one of Israel’s foreign ministers, stated that “Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Eban’s statement ridiculed Arabs’ characteristics, thereby inciting the conflict. Therefore, the Israelis have been the main cause of the conflict. The essay aims at critiquing the statement of Abba Eban with respect to other historical books and an article that involves the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Khoury’s article on the Arab-Israeli conflict that was printed on 25th December 2014 is a crucial article to reveal the state of the conflict in the region. The title of the article is “Five Isreali Arabs Said to Sympathize with ISIS Barred from Leaving Israel for Six Months”. The article articulates the steps that the Israeli government is taking to protect its citizens from the ISIS issue. ISIS is an issue that can threaten the success of Israel in its activities. ISIS is termed as a terrorist group that fights for the Islamic issues in the Middle East region (Khoury, 2014). Therefore, Israel is one of the targets of the group, while Israeli authorities threaten the Muslim affairs in the region. The article by Khoury (2014) gives news on the barring of five Arab citizens of Israel from leaving the country. The five had been caught sympathizing with ISIS, which led the Israeli authorities to suspect them of joining the group. To prevent growth of ISIS, the authorities concluded to bar movements of the citizens outside the country for six months. Israel’s internal minister stated that the move was to protect the Israeli citizens from the region’s terrorist groups.

A critique of Khoury’s article will define the moves by the Israeli government to the ISIS issue as valid or invalid. Critiquing the article will also show how the moves have led to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The article presents the Israelis’ attitude towards the ISIS as suspicious. Normally, the US and Israel have been against ISIS. However, suspicion over the ISIS is a negative approach towards the Arab-Israeli conflict (Khoury, 2014). The suspicion is an inciting factor to the conflict because it makes the Arabs feel threatened. Therefore, in order to free themselves from the threats, they have formed movements such as ISIS. Such movements are violent to Israel, which makes them be termed as terrorist groups. Their actual aim is to encourage the continuous dialogue on the conflicting issues. The article’s news on the internal minister move to protect the Israeli citizens is based on dialogue platform. The dialogue platform creates a favorable environment for Israel to protect its citizens. Therefore, the article’s news is negative in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In addition to the critique, the article has showed the harsh treatment of Arabic citizens by the Israel’s authorities. Arabic citizens having intentions to free themselves from the oppressive chains of the Israeli government are offered a harsh punishment that leads to the intensification of the conflict. For instance, according to the article, “Israeli Arabs, who have gone to fight in Syria or Iraq, have been issued new passports by the Israeli embassy in Turkey, and then arrested and tried upon their return to Israel” (Khoury, 2014). The involvement of Israelis in the ISIS has led to the Israel’s harsh punishment that has been a weak approach to solving the conflict. Therefore, the article’s message has proven to be overactive to the ISIS state, hence intensifying the conflict.

Abba Eban sympathized the Arabs in the Middle East region. He closely observed the conflict defining the traits of each of the parties. He defined the Arabs as “Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” He meant that the Arabs insisted on their grievances despite the reactions of their foes. Eban’s statement can be critiqued using the various historical books. Critiquing the assertion will show whether it is correct in defining the Arabs or it may derail the conflict solution management. The critique of Eban’s assertion will be based on the historical books: Scars of War, Wounds of Peace by Ben-Ami, The Iron Cage by Khalidi, and Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Smith.

The book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace is a historical book that outlines Israel’s involvement with the Arab countries. The book also reflects on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Therefore, the historical book can be significantly used to critique Eban’s affirmation. The author of the book was an Israeli ambassador to Spain. He wrote on the Arab-Israeli interaction as he experienced it. The book depicts the harsh relationship between Israel and the Arab countries (Ben-Ami, 2006). The book details the different conflicts that Israel engaged in. The conflicts have displayed the Arab’s traits in demanding their grievances. The book is a powerful critique of the assertion. It outlines the Arab involvement in the Gulf War. The war involved Israel’s attack on Iraq where the US offered back up. The Israelis used the claim that Iraq was the base to ISIS so that they can attack Iraq. However, the Arabs in Iraq illustrated bold actions to the Israel’s attack. Despite their inferiority to Israel and the US, the Arabs are presented as persistent in their demands. They persistently fought the Israelis to the last minute. The actions of the Arabs in the book confirm the assertion by Eban. The book confirms that Eban had reasons behind his assertion because the Arabs did not give up early in the Gulf War despite their huge defeat by the Israelis.

The book also enhances the critique to Eban’s assertion whereby Ben-Ami has used territorial basis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The book explains how the Palestinians occupied the Gaza regions before the Israeli authorities claim that the region belongs to them. The Palestinians flocked to the region even after the Israelis started demanding to take the Gaza settlements. The Palestinians persistently fought for the settlements whereby even up-to-date the conflict still exists. This action reaffirms Eban’s statement on Arabs (Ben-Ami, 2006). The Arabs have not hesitated in fighting the Israel’s oppressive actions. The Palestinians in Ben-Ami’s book have never been presented giving up in the fight to own the settlements. Moreover, Ben-Ami has used the peace talking about the settlement crisis to show Arabs trait not to let go. The Palestinians firmly hold on their stand to settle in the Gaza region despite the Israel’s attacks in the region. In fact, the Arabs have insisted through formation of rebel groups in the region to counter the Israeli attacks.

Rashid Khalidi’s book, The Iron Cage has also illustrated concepts that can be used to critique Eban’s assertion. The assertion rhymes with the historical storyline of the book whereby the author outlines the Palestine’s politics and history (Khalidi, 2006). Through the books, the critique on the affirmation is enhanced. The books show the Palestinians’ involvement in their conflicts with Israel. Khalidi has presented the Palestinians’ history using his vast wealth of experience, hence making his book to be a favorable source of critiquing Eban’s assertion. Khalidi (2006) has presented the history of the Palestine-Israeli conflict. Throughout his book, he has shown the firm stands that the Palestinian have in what they believe in. The Palestinians’ firm stand is a positive support for Eban’s statement. The Arabs, Palestinians in this case, have had a rough interaction with the Israelis from Khalidi’s book. They have been persistently pushing against the Israelis for them to ease the oppressive measures the Israelis have over them.

However, Eban’s statement lacks justification as the Khalidi’s book puts it in the description. The book illustrates and explains why the Palestinians firmly push the Israelis to loosen the oppressive measures against the Arabs. The Palestinians had been displaced by the Israelis from their land (Khalidi, 2006). Therefore, the Palestinians are motivated by the land displacement to revolt firmly against the Israelis. Therefore, Eban’s assertion was a self-consoling that the Israelis had towards the conflict. The Palestinians were simply after their simple right. This explains why they came up with ISIS, so as to counter Israel’s oppressive hand.

Charles D. Smith book, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict can also be used to critique Eban’s assertion. The title of the book directly reveals the status of the Israeli-Arab relationship. The book’s title can be used to critique Eban’s statement whereby the statement can be termed as a response to the conflict. According to the book’s title, the assertion of Eban is offensive whereby it is an inciting statement (Smith, 2010). Therefore, one can conclude that the assertion is not based on the real character of the Arabs due to the books’ title.

The book by Smith has proven that the Eban’s allegation of the Arabs is a valid assertion because the Arabs have always been stubborn throughout the conflicts. The Arabs never sit back when a slight wrong is done unto them. Once they are irritated they fight back with an aim to seek vengeance. For instance, in the Gaza conflict of the Israelis and Palestinians, the Palestinians were irritated by the attempts of Israel to displace them from the fertile lands of Gaza (Smith, 2010). The Palestinians formed rebel groups to vigorously counter Israel’s attempts. This affirms Eban’s assertion that the Arabs are persistent on what they believe in. Mostly after they are irritated, they always seek vengeance just as Smith has put in his book. Therefore, the statement by Eban that “the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” is a valid assertion in this case.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the critique of Abba Eban’s assertion is two sided whereby some of the texts prove that the statement is valid, and others prove its invalidity. The critique has also provided a clear understanding of the assertion whereby one can closely relate to it. The critique of the assertion is significant in helping to understand the state of the conflict. The critique creates a wider view for the conflict, hence making one know the real cause of the conflict.

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