Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
CPAP Examines Future of Muslim and Arab World
CPAP EXAMINES FUTURE OF MUSLIM AND ARAB WORLD
In an April 27 review of more than a century of Zionism culminating in the creation and development of Israel, Abdel Latef Arabiat, secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), asked what the future will hold for the Arab and Muslim world. Speaking at the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine in Washington, DC, Arabiat cited the first Zionist Congress in 1897, and such subsequent developments as the Balfour Declaration, the various Arab-Israeli wars, and the "peace process" starting with the Israeli-Egyptian agreement in 1979. Challenging the idea that the Arabs have gained from "normalization" of relations with Israel, he focused instead on the importance of unity in the Arab and Muslim world.
Arabiat, formerly the secretary-general of Jordan's Ministry of Education and speaker of Jordan's parliament from 1990-1993, argued that instead of concentrating so much on Israel, the Arabs should place more emphasis on seeking their rights and in achieving solidarity. In an attempt to help reach this goal, Arabiat is involved in a coalition of divergent political groups from the communist, nationalist, and Islamist streams. He argued that this was the only such coalition in the Arab world.
To demonstrate the value of national unity, he pointed to the strong cultural and historical role the Arab world played, particularly prior to being divided arbitrarily by colonialism. "We were, in the past, a nation," he said. Now he views Israel as a "foreign body" which was "injected" into the Middle East. …