This editorial appeared over the weekend in the Arab News ("Saudi Arabia's First English Language Daily")
This, of course, is nothing new. For decades it has been difficult to find anything in the opinion pages of the Arabic language press that did not concern Israel. Every problem faced by Arab societies was blamed, in however obscure or far-fetched a way, on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. The issue served as a sort of lowest common denominator, satisfying many journalists who were not equipped to write about anything else as well as many of those who rule the Arab world and who would prefer Israel — rather than their own shortcomings — to be the subject of heated discussion in the “Arab street.”and there's more, including a nasty slap at the Arab media coverage of the Iraq war for "confusing news with wishful thinking". Read the whole thing.
The days when the Arab world could just scream “Israel”, as if that one word were sufficient answer to every question about every problem that came its way — as though saying that one word could deflect all further inquiry — are over. The time for peaceful coexistence, internal reflection and healthy, progressive thinking has come.
Yes, this is that Arab News. But what an interesting change. If this is really a signal of the Saudi regime's embrace of reality, then it's a good thing. It probably doesn't mean much unless similar editorials are also being published in Arabic, and I don't know yet whether they are. But you have to start somewhere. And, uh, it wasn't exactly the so-called "peace" movement that inspired this adjustment, now, was it?Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at April 28, 2003 10:19 AM