In the past few years, Israel, the alien state in the region, has been sleeping in peace in a way that it has never dreamt of since it was founded more than seven decades ago. Meanwhile, the Arabs are drowning in war and blood day after day. If we expand our awareness and attention to what is happening, we find that the deeper the Arab states sink into war, the more unprecedented peace and happiness that Israel and its military occupation enjoy.
Over the past five years, Israel has launched a series of raids on Syria and carried out carefully planned military operations across the border, including the assassinations of Samir Qantar, Imad Mughniyeh, and others. It has also carried out military operations elsewhere, including the assassination of Engineer Mohamed Zouari in Tunisia and the assassination of Palestinian academic and researcher Fadi Al-Batsh in Malaysia. It may have even carried out more killings in other countries without anyone realising, especially since Israel does not immediately admit to such operations. It only confessed a few years ago, for example, that it had killed the martyr Wadie Haddad in Iraq in 1978, 30 years after the assassination which people thought was a natural death.
Israeli raids and operations in recent years are an important indicator of the peace and relative relaxation enjoyed by the state, at a time when the Arabs are preoccupied with their internal conflicts, which have cost them enormously in human and material terms. The richest Arab countries suffer from deficits in their budgets and suffocating economic crises, while the poorest Arab countries, such as Syria, Yemen and Libya, are standing in line waiting to die. Their citizens who have escaped death by gunfire and bombs are facing starvation and extreme cold temperatures in refugee camps, or maybe even being drowned in their attempts to escape to the shores of Europe.
According to Elias Khoury, the editor of Palestine Studies magazine, there is a link between peace with Israel and the Arab internal war, pointing out that the Arab world is paying the price of that peace, which is far greater than the price of conflict and war with the Zionist state. At least 72,000 Arab martyrs have been killed in the wars with Israel, which is far fewer than those lost in inter-Arab conflicts. In Lebanon, for example, more than 120,000 people died in the civil war alone. Khoury asks whether this deceptive peace is merely a door to hell for the Arab world. Have the past few years proven that the price of peace is higher than the price of war?
The answer may well be yes, especially if we take into consideration the Machiavellian theory that when people face an external danger, they come together and forget their internal disputes. They rally behind each other in order to face the external threat and defeat it.
To say that the Arabs are paying the price of peace with Israel or that Israel is enjoying peace at great cost to the Arabs amounts to one and the same thing. Israel is reaping the benefits of the Arabs being in perpetual conflict. Ultimately, it is the sole beneficiary. The fact that it is being allowed to get away with attacking targets in Syria and assassinating its enemies with apparent impunity is not the only benefit that the Israeli government has obtained from Arab conflicts. It is also sitting back and watching Arab leaders fall over themselves in the race to normalise relations with the Zionist state in our midst.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.