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 March 30, 2002
    Arab Peace Now!

A Courageous Egyptian Intellectual Speaks Out for Peace

Mohamed Mosaad

The violence in Israel and Palestine has reached an unprecedented high level. This is the everyday morning news! The vicious circle of violence has, as everyone knows, no end. The question is, what or whom are we waiting for? Are we waiting for the politically stupid Israeli Government, the strategically blind Palestinian Authority, the very indifferent United States, the perpetually begging/condemning Europe, the yawning Arab countries, or what? For one and a half years all of these parties have been proving, in every way,  how helpless they are.

In fact, through all this year and a half the winds of hope have come only from the Israeli peace movements. Not only the recently awakened Peace Now, but also many Israeli peace organizations and many peace activists have been demonstrating, campaigning and struggling for a better future. A lazy Arab, stretching his or her legs, would say, "So what… peace did not come! Have not you watched the TV today?"

That leg-stretching Arab is, indeed, the very reason why peace became so difficult to achieve. Waiting for Israeli peace movements is certainly not enough; a single hand does not clap as the Egyptian idiom goes! What makes those movements impotent, is that exactly while Peace Now activists were making a long line to donate blood in Al Maqased Hospital for the Palestinian victims of refugee camps, the smoke of a bomb, exploded by a suicide bomber terrorist, was rising all around! Until the Arab response to such terrorism is another long queue donating blood for Israeli civilian victims, those movements, unfortunately, will be insignificant.

For a quarter of a century Egypt is maintaining peace with Israel. Except for the bizarre plan of hitting Aswan Dam rambled by Israeli minister Avigdor Lieberman, no one on either side speaks of war. Egypt regained every millimeter of her land and her borders with Israel are very quiet indeed. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to hear writers, intellectuals and academic researchers on TV emphasizing that a one-day-old Israeli baby is a Zionist, who could/should be killed. What message are those stupid intellectuals sending, and what promise can Peace Now therefore carry to the Israeli society?

What is missing, certainly, is an Arab peace movement that should come into being, right here and right now. It is the only way to reach peace and guarantee it, in the present as well as in the future. A coalition of Israeli and Arab peace movements is needed to assure Arab and Israeli masses that peace is possible and fruitful. An Arab-Israeli peace coalition is needed to pressure both the negotiating politicians, and the lurking Israeli settlers and Palestinian militias, and it is essential to back an upcoming peace agreement. Moreover, this coalition, and only they, could move the peace process from the political, security and economic spheres, dominated by politicians, soldiers and businessmen, to the social and cultural spheres, created by activists, intellectuals, writers and the like. In short they would drive the peace process out from the official narrow corner of “Normalization” to the vast social landscape of “Integration”!

This must be the mission of conscientious Arabs, especially in Egypt and Jordan, to start healing the wounds on both sides. This is their moment to cross over physical and mental borders, joining up with Israeli peace activists and marching toward a better future for everyone. There will be no peace without this essential and urgent step!

Dr. Mohamed Mosaad

Cairo, Egypt.

Dr Mosaad is an Egyptian psychiatrist, sociologist, educator and  peace activist. His is coordinator of the Abrahamic Forum,  and member of the Abrahamic Forum Council, an International Interfaith  dialog. He is a member of the Global Council of the United Religons Initiative URI.  He may be reached at .

By the same author:

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