Kuwaiti journalist Saleh Al-Shayeji : ‘Israel Is Not Our Enemy’
MEMRI/November 30, 2015 Special Dispatch No.6230
In an article titled “Israel Is Not Our Enemy” in the Kuwaiti government daily Al-Anba , journalist Saleh Al-Shayeji called on the Arab countries to abandon “the delusion of the single [Arab] nation” and pursue their own individual interests. As part of this, he said, they must stop seeing Israel as an enemy just because of its conflict with the Palestinians. He wondered why Kuwait sees Israel as an enemy even though Israel never invaded or fought it, while it sees Iraq – which did invade and occupy it – as an ally and a sister-state.
The following are translated excerpts from his article:
“In writing this, I shall try to be factual, rational and objective because I know and realize that what I write will conflict with established beliefs and norms and untouchable taboos.
Is Israel an enemy? Furthermore, is enmity a permanent sentiment, or a changing one? Is it subject to certain circumstances, conditions, positions and interests?
The Arab hostility towards Israel started [even] before Israel was established, when Arab countries that (at the time) had the ability [to fight] fought against Jewish gangs in Palestine, and those gangs managed to beat the armies of seven Arab countries armed with all manner of weapons. Then came international intervention aimed at resolving the Arab-Jewish struggle over Palestine, but the high and mighty Arabs rejected the partition plan, and this was a second victory for the Jews. Subsequently… the State of Israel was declared and was recognized by the world, with the exception of the Arab states, as well as several other countries that later had no choice but to recognize it [too].
“Whose enemy is Israel? Is it the enemy of all Arab countries? The Palestinians have a right to be hostile to Israel, for they believe it has occupied some of their lands. By their lights, they are justified in their hostility, and we support, help and assist them as much as we can, [but] that is all the Arab countries are required to do – nothing more…
“Who is our real enemy? Do all the Arab states have the same enemy? Or does each country or group of countries have a [different] enemy, who is actually an ally or even a close friend of some other [Arab] country?
“The first step towards Arab reform is discarding the idea of pan-Arabism or of [a single Arab] nation, which reality has proven false and invalid, and the indications of its invalidity are [much] more numerous than the illusionary [proof] of its validity… Let’s take our own country, Kuwait, as an example. Is Israel an enemy [of Kuwait]? Has it [ever] invaded it, fought it, or killed its citizens? The answer to all these questions is no!! So why does Kuwait regard Israel as an enemy, while it regards Iraq – which did invade and occupy it – as a friend, an ally, a [good] neighbor and a sister!? I don’t mean [to say] that Kuwait [should have] remained an enemy of Iraq. On the contrary, it made the right decision [in reconciling with it], because enmity is not a permanent [reality] but a dynamic one, especially in the world of politics, [where] yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend, and today’s friend may be tomorrow’s enemy. That is a fact and no illusion of mine.
“In sum, Israel is not the Arab’s enemy, and the Arabs must all free themselves of the pan-Arab complex and take their own independent steps and decisions, far from the delusion of the single [pan-Arab] nation!!”