THE MIDEAST FORUM - Diplomacy, Politics, Culture, Intellectuals and Oppositions Groups in the Middle East
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נאום אסד בפסגה הערבית ה-20
מאת: ד"ר יוחאי סלע
מובא בפניכם נאומו של בשאר אל-אסד בפתיחת הפסגה הערבית ה-20 שנערכה בדמשק. הנאום הועבר בשידור ישיר בטלוויזיה הסורית כפי שהועברו שאר הנאומים של ראשי המדינות הערביות ונציגיהן. ב-28 במרס 2008, אסד קיבל את אורחיו בשדה-התעופה הבינלאומי של דמשק. ב-29 במרס אסד נשא את נאום הפתיחה, וב-30 במרס הפסגה ננעלה בהודעה מסכמת כמקובל.
הנאום שנישא בשפה הערבית, תורגם לאנגלית והופץ בידי סוכנות הידיעות הרשמית של סוריה (SANA - Syrian Arab News Agency). שימו לב לסגנון, למילים ולמינוחים בהם משמש אסד בבואו לתאר את המאבק בישראל. בנאומו, אסד מגייס את "הטבח בג'ינין" שאירע לכאורה במבצע חומת-מגן ב-2002 כדי להבהיר את עמדתו כלפי המדיניות הישראלית.
פעם נוספת, ישראל משמשת כלי באמצעותו מנסות המדינות הערביות להסתיר את מחדליהן ומעשיהן בזירה הפנימית והאזורית גם יחד. מה שהיה נכון לעשות, לכאורה, בפסגה הערבית הראשונה ב-1964, מתקבל בשנים האחרונות כבריחה רשלנית מהמציאות הקשה והמעיקה בו שרוי רוב רובו של העולם-הערבי - על שלל המתחים הצבאיים, הפוליטיים, הכלכליים, העדתיים והדתיים השוררים בו ללא שום קשר למדיניותה של ישראל. גם בעת כינוסה של פסגה הערבית הראשונה ב-1964, העולם-הערבי היה שרוי בעימותים פנימיים ואזוריים רבים ומגוונים. אולם, כיום, קשה יותר להסתיר את הפגמים והמתחים לאור השינויים התרבותיים הרבים שעברו על האזור מאז 1967.
בשאר אל-אסד, חניך האידיאולוגיה הבעת'ית, עדיין דבק במעמד המיוחד של סוריה במאבק הערבי הכולל נגד עצמאותה וריבונותה של מדינת-ישראל, כאילו מאומה לא השתנה ב-40 השנים האחרונות. רק מחצית ממנהיגי המדינות הערביות בחרו להתייצב בפסגה הערבית בדמשק - לא בגלל מדיניותה של ישראל, אלא בשל מדיניותה האלימה והרצחנית של סוריה כלפי המדינה הלבנונית. להלן הנאום המלא של בשאר אל-אסד כפי שהופץ בידי סוכנות הידיעות הרשמית של סוריה:
Your Excellencies and Highnesses
Dear brothers and sisters:
On my behalf and on behalf of the Syrian Arab people, I extend to you a very warm welcome in your country, Syria, which receives you today with love, respect and sincere hope that this meeting among brothers is going to be a beneficial meeting for the Arab nation whose sons and daughters are looking forward to the achievement of solidarity, dignity and prosperity for this nation at a critical juncture of its modern history.
The convening of this Arab summit in Syria at this critical stage is a great honor and responsibility which we appreciate due to our strong belief in the importance of joint Arab work and its significance to our Arab nation that aspires to take its esteemed place in today's world.
We tried our utmost to prepare the right conditions to make this summit a success, and we tried to overcome many of the obstacles which stood in its way. Especially as we all recognize the difficult stage and the sensitive developments evinced by our nation, to the extent that it is not an exaggeration to say that we are no longer on the brink of danger but in its midst and we could feel its direct effects on our countries and people. Every day passing without making a decisive decision that serves our Arab national interests makes the possibility of evading catastrophic results more remote and far reaching.
However different our opinions may be about the nature of these dangers, their causes and the best ways to face them (and it is only normal that members of the same family may entertain different opinions about the same issue), what is beyond doubt is that we are all in the same boat, facing turbulent currents, and there is no doubt that we have no alternative to consulting, coordinating and working with each other to unify our stands, regain our rights and achieve growth and development for our countries.
We live in a world that is passing through extremely important changes which are basically initiated and mapped by great international powers. This has incited many countries in the world to formulate their own regional blocs which consolidate their powers and enhance their interests, sometimes without initially having any thing in common among them. How natural and logical it is, then, for us, the Arabs, who constitute a natural national gathering that possesses all factors of success, that by far exceeds the factors enjoyed by any other regional bloc, to group and coordinate our efforts together? This becomes even more pressing in view of the challenges which are threatening our inner strength, making some of our Arab countries open fields for conflicts among others, though assuming the shape of a conflict among our people, or making us a target for aggression, killing and violence exercised by our enemies.
There is no doubt that there are many obstacles which stand in the face of our desires and aspirations to achieve what we want. Although we often agree on the objectives, there are differing views of the vision and the process. This needs not be a problem once we conduct an honest dialogue. Our dialogue and our deep conviction in the necessity of making an initiative to make active and serious stands will enhance our ability to overcome the difficulties through addressing them realistically, frankly, and with sincere regard for the highest interest of the Arab nation.
My dear brothers,
Many summits were convened during the past decades, some of which were convened at critical junctures. We succeeded at certain places and stages, and did not quite succeed at others. If the Arab situation is not quite satisfactory to us, this is not due to the summits, themselves, as much as it is due to the nature of the Arab-Arab relations and the circumstances surrounding them, both in the past and the present, and the way the results of these circumstances reflected on Arab summits. Yet, at many stages, and when the will was there, we were able to adopt stands expressing the real interests of the Arab nation. If wars and occupations were the most dangerous issues with which we were confronted during the past decades, the peace battle was no less significant. For many years past, we all recognized the importance of peace, and we expressed that at all times, and in different ways, beginning with our announcement over three decades ago that we believe in a just and comprehensive peace, and that we are prepared to realize it, through the Madrid Peace Conference in 1991, until we reached the Arab initiative for peace in 2002. That initiative expressed, without a shadow of doubt, our common intent, as Arab states, that we collectively want to make peace, provided that Israel showed its real readiness for peace.
Despite our best efforts, what was the Israeli response to this Arab initiative? Immediately after the Arab initiative, Israel led a huge aggression on the West bank and imposed a siege on the Palestinian people, killing their women and children. We all remember the Massacre of Jenin and the hundreds of martyrs who were killed by Israelis. Israel continued to build more settlements and it built a racist wall, and followed it with an aggression against Lebanon and Syria, and carried out political assassinations. Through doing all this, Israel was pushing the Israeli public opinion towards more extremism and more racism against the Arabs, rejecting, in the meantime, as it always did, to respond positively to the requirements of a just peace in accordance with its policies which are against peace. All this has taken place under the sight of the entire world and its absolute failure to take any firm and active measure to deter Israel from such acts, and under the pretext of ensuring Israel's security, a pretext that has always been marketed by Israel, and those who support it.
Apart from discussing the security concept only from the Israeli perspective, as if the security of the Arabs should not be taken into account, we like to stress that security can only be achieved through peace and not through aggressions and wars which will only bring more pain and suffering. As for peace, it can only be achieved through the full withdrawal from Arab occupied territories and the full return of Arab rights. This means that security cannot be achieved before peace because occupation is the antithesis of both security and peace and because if security is not mutual and embracing the Arab side it will be only a mirage. Unless those who promote "security first" happen to assume, or to wait from the indigenous owners of the land to surrender to occupation, and from free people to accept to become slaves. Anyone who knows history surely knows that this logic has been defeated. Even if this logic were to be found at some moments, it is temporary, misleading, and it is always followed with more wars, destruction and regret.
If we, at the Arab level, have not missed any opportunity to express our desire for peace, the latest of which was our participation in Annapolis Conference, we find out that Israel has, also, used every opportunity but to prove the exact opposite, to prove its haughtiness and its outright rejection to implement international resolutions, and to prove its disregard for our rights and for all our peace initiatives.
The question that pauses itself here is do we have the peace process and our initiatives as a pawn to the moods of successive Israeli governments, or do we search for choices and alternatives which may well achieve a just and comprehensive peace and guarantee the return of our full and complete rights ? In other words, do we continue to submit unconditional offers to them, to pick up whatever they choose whenever they choose to respond to; and should these initiatives be influenced by the aggressive policies and the Israeli massacres, or are they abstract initiatives unrelated to either time or circumstance?
If the above mentioned initiatives include no call to escape to the front through wars on the Israeli style, they certainly include no acceptance of escaping backwards through submission and subservience to Israeli dictations. Rather, they are a call to review the substance of our strategic choices and to search for a balanced stand that accommodates the requirements of a just and comprehensive peace, and what the return of occupied territories and the guaranteeing of legitimate rights means, on the one hand, with the provision of the minimal level of steadfastness and resistance, as long as Israel continues to reject peace and launch aggression against us, on the other hand. Here we are meeting today while the blood of the martyrs of Israeli massacres, has not dried up yet, enveloped with an utter silence of the world and the anger of the Arab people and the condemnation of every one who has a free conscience in the world.
As we express our pain and condemnation of the suffering inflicted on our Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank of killing, blockade and destruction at the hands of the Israeli death machine and death squads, and our regret for what the Palestinian affairs have reached in terms of differences and division, we believe that priority should be given to the Palestinian dialogue. We would like to say to our Palestinian brothers your enemy will certainly use any division among you in order to perpetrate more massacres against you and your children without differentiating between one Arab and another, be this Arab Palestinian or from any other Arab country. Do not be under the illusion that your enemy differentiates between one Palestinian and another, or between the West Bank and Gaza, or between one Palestinian organization and another. All this should prompt you to rise above all differences, however big they may seem to you.
The unity and support of the Arab stand to the Palestinian issue is necessarily influenced by the unity of your own stand. The unity of stand is your guarantee, and the guarantee of your people, and of your cause, and it is the only way for you to regain your rights, in the forefront of which is regaining your land and the return of refugees. Here, we would like to express our appreciation of the efforts exerted by our brothers in the republic of Yemen and our support to the Yemeni initiative to resume dialogue, and we see in this initiative an appropriate framework for an agreement between Palestinian sides. We call upon all Arab countries to put an immediate end to the blockade imposed on Gaza, as an introduction to ask countries of the world to do the same.
In the context of speaking about rights, we, in Syria, emphasize that peace can only be achieved after the return of the entire Golan to the line of June 04, 1967. The Israeli continuous evasion will never bring them better conditions and will never make us accept to give up an inch of our land or any of our rights. The concessions they were not able to get from Syria in the past, will never be obtained by them in the present. As for betting on time so that rights may be dropped or forgotten, it is certainly to no avail, because time has produced generations who cling more tenaciously to their land, and who are more committed to resistance.
As for Lebanon, we feel very much concerned about the state and the inner division in Lebanon which is blocking an agreement on national common denominators. Despite all the propaganda about conditions in Lebanon, we affirm, once again, our concern for the independence of Lebanon, its sovereignty and stability. I owe it to the transparency between me and my brothers, the Arab leaders, to clarify what has been circulating about the so-called Syrian interference in Lebanon and the calls, statements and pressures to put an end to this influence. I would like to say to you, honestly, that what is happening on the ground is the exact opposite. The pressures which had been exerted on Syria for over a year now, and more frequently and extensively during the last few months, all aim to force Syria to interfere in the internal affairs of Lebanon. Our answer was clear to everyone who asked us to do something to that effect, and I shall reiterate our answer in front of this esteemed summit, which is as follows: The key to a solution in Lebanon is in the hands of the Lebanese themselves. They have their own country, their own institutions and their own constitution and they are capable of doing that by themselves. Any other role should be supportive to them, and not an alternative to their role. We, in Syria, are absolutely ready to cooperate with any Arab, or non-Arab efforts, in this domain, provided that the initiative, or any initiative, is based on the ground of national reconciliation, because it is the only foundation for stability in Lebanon which is our ultimate goal and objective.
As for our brotherly Iraq, which is suffering from very cruel circumstances, it needs the collaboration of all our efforts to support and help Iraq to achieve its sovereignty, stability and security, on the basis of national unity that embraces all the composites of the Iraqi people. The starting point for national unity is the achievement of national reconciliation among its citizens till they achieve complete independence and the exit of the last occupying soldier.
There is no doubt that the stability of Iraq is important to all of us, because it is not possible for our Arab region, in particular, and for the Middle East, and perhaps further, in general, to witness stability while Iraq is as turbulent as it is today. The stability of Iraq is intricately connected to its unity, which in its turn, is linked to Iraq's Arab identity and dimension. In this regard, we all have the responsibility to consolidate the Arab presence in Iraq in cooperation and coordination with its government. Despite the importance of regional and international support, none of them is an alternative to our role in preserving the stability and Arab identity of Iraq.
We stress the unity of Sudan, its sovereignty and stability and call for the support of the efforts exerted by the government of Sudan to address the humanitarian situation in Darfour and achieve peace, security and stability for that part of our brotherly country, Sudan, away from foreign interference in Sudanese internal affairs. We reject any attempt to impose solutions or formulas under the pretext of the humanitarian situation.
All what has preceded calls upon us to establish the best relations with neighboring countries with which we share historic ties and common interests that serve our countries and people with the aim of achieving stability to our region and finding solutions to existing problems. We stress the necessity to solve any problem that may arise with these neighboring countries through direct dialogue and continuous contacts, which are able to erase causes of difference and dispel concerns about intentions.
Amidst the many issues which occupy us, the phenomenon of terrorism constitutes one of the current challenges with which we are faced. At the same time that we condemn all terrorist practices which target innocent civilians, and stipulate our stand against terrorism, we, in the mean time, emphasize that we consider fighting occupation a legitimate right for people guaranteed by all international legislation and human codes. We also stress that we consider the Israeli state terrorism against our Arab people the most dreadful form of terrorism in current times.
Brothers, Excellencies and Highnesses,
Arab-Arab relations have witnessed a progressive growth during the last few years, particularly at the economic level with the introduction of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area agreement. The trend of Arab investments going to Arab countries is promising more growth. As for the cultural and educational side we have a lot of work to do in the face of a dangerous foreign cultural campaign that negatively influences young generations and their relations to their national mother culture. The starting point for any endeavor in this domain is to work for the consolidation of Arabic language at the national level, because our Arabic language is the vehicle that carries our culture, our roots and our historic memory. Its loss, therefore, means the loss of our history and of our future. On the agenda of the summit is a project to link the Arabic language to knowledge society so that our language remains the language of culture and life that preserves our cultural existence and protects our civilized identity.
We have to press on with our domestic reform that responds to our national and developmental requirements and is in accordance with our cultural constituents. We should not hesitate to reject any form of interference in our internal affairs, regardless of the headings it may assume, and of the styles or means it begs. The experiences of yesterday and today have all proven how expensive it is to impose changes from the outside, and how costly it has been to impose predestined political and economic prototypes on developing countries.
Your Excellencies and Highnesses
It is true that the time of the summit is calculated in days and hours, but it is an important juncture during which we add few blocs to the building we aspire to construct. It is true that what is important is not what we say at the summits, but rather, what we do in between the summits, but the summit remains essential to decide the right direction and the necessary speed of what we intend to do later.
It is true that, in both words and deeds, we are open to cooperation with the others in the world, but what is truer is that this cooperation will bear fruit, only, when we rely on ourselves. The common denominators that combine us as Arabs are many and fundamental; as for points of difference, if they fall under the framework of concern for our nation, there is no doubt, then, that the solid building, that we aspire to achieve for our Arab project, will be completed.
I welcome you once again, my gracious brothers wishing you the best of times in your country and among your people.
Wassalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatu Allahi Wa Barakatuhu
4 ביוני 2020
מאמרים נבחרים של ד"ר ישראל בר-ניר
דמויות היסטוריות בעולם-הערבי
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