Former Saudi Navy Chief: Arabs Enjoy Freedom in Israel

November 27, 2012  

A retired Saudi Royal Navy commodore has questioned the Arab world’s vilification of Israel.

In an op-ed piece published in the Saudi-based English media outlet Arab News, Abdulateef Al-Mulhim cited the current violence in the Arab world — the civil war in Syria, the unrest in Yemen, the corruption surrounding Tunisia’s ousted president — and asked whether it would not be better for Arab nations to take the money spent fighting Israel and instead invest it in education, health and infrastructure.

“What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people? And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948?” he asked.

Al-Mulhim wrote that Israel’s conduct toward the Palestinians was no worse than the violence Arab states have displayed against their own people.

“In the past, we have talked about why some Israeli soldiers attack and mistreat Palestinians,” he wrote.

“Also, we saw Israeli planes and tanks attack various Arab countries. But do these attacks match the current atrocities being committed by some Arab states against their own people? The Palestinian refugees have now taken a backseat to the millions of Arab refugees leaving war-torn countries, Iraq suffers from a continued brain drain to the West, Sinai has fallen to unrest, and the world’s saddest human tragedy is being written by the Yemenis.

“If many of the Arab states are in such disarray, then what happened to the Arabs’ sworn enemy, Israel? Israel now has the most advanced research facilities, top universities and advanced infrastructure. Many Arabs don’t know that the life expectancy of the Palestinians living in Israel is far longer than [in] many Arab states and they enjoy far better political and social freedom than many of their Arab brothers. Even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. Wasn’t one of the judges who sent a former Israeli president to jail an Israeli-Palestinian?”

He ended his piece with a declaration that it was time to drop the contempt for Israel and to begin advancing the Arab world for the sake of its future generations.

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