Written by: Ali Dahmash
On the eve of Obama’s visit to Egypt, Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East are monitoring carefully and closely his visit. All reports and statements issued from the White House are being analyzed and taken seriously. There are many issues that concerns and worries the Arabs, to name a few, the end of US military existence in Iraq, Democracy in Arab countries and the talks with Syria & Iran. But perhaps the most important issue is the Middle East Peace process and the Palestinian question. This conflict has been the most vital issue in every Arab mind and soul for the past 61 years. This conflict is the major factor in driving the world Oil prices to go up and down and it’s affecting the economical & social development of millions of people in the Arab countries.
Obama is certainly an unusual US president. He is reaching his hand out to the Muslim world, bringing with him new ideas of Democracy and collaboration based on mutual respect and interest. Obama should not be imposing or enforcing the ideas and methodologies of the West like his successor G W Bush failed to do in Iraq, rather he should be suggesting new ways to democratize the ailing systems of the region. These non democratic governments, whom the US considers as close allies, are not elected or supported by their people and have a bad record of Human rights violation. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority are just an example.
Obama seems to be serious about pressuring Israel to freeze and dismantle the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. Benjamin Netanyahu, who is facing international pressure for not announcing a two state solution, has met with the President last month and in response to the uptight relation with the US, he sent Ehud Barak a few days ago to meet with US government officials. Barak will focus on solving issues regarding the Peace Process and ensuring that the 1 Trillion Military deal with the US goes smoothly, in despite of the growing voices inside the US calling for the freezing of Military Aid to Israel, a country that is not per suing Peace. But Obama seems to be keen & eager to bring Peace to a region that has always been cynical about US foreign policy but somehow optimistic and hopeful of the new President.
We are expecting a lot from Obama, but it is actually up to us in this key and significant, turmoil region to make change possible, it is our choice to learn to coexist.