Reasons For Arab Anger


Your editorial, “Arab Spring, Summer Chaos” (Aug. 26), is certainly to be commended for its optimism that the wellspring of democratic sentiment that has emerged throughout the Arab world since January might still herald real and sweeping political change throughout the region. Yet the piece falls short in its assessment of Arab attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Instead of asking important questions about how Arab public opinion on the conflict is formed — i.e., the extent to which it is tied to specific Israeli government policies — it instead seems to assume that the Arab world’s antipathy to Israel is timeless and unshakable. It would behoove Israel’s politicians, as well as members of the American Jewish community who wish to reach a deeper understanding of the seminal events that transpired in the Middle East these past months, to consider the fact that Egyptians and Arabs do not simply see “Israel as the enemy” without good reason.

A just two-state solution that swiftly ends the occupation of the West Bank and lays the foundation for a lasting peace with Palestinians would address the crux of the problem, temper anti-Israel feelings and create a basis for a lasting peace between Israel and its neighbors that would ultimately ensure Israel’s own longer-term security.

Matthew H. Ellis