Since 1948, we Arabs have been taught that all we need to do is get rid of the Jewish state, and everything else will go well after that. Our dictators took full advantage of this idea. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser locked up and executed his opposition members using his famous excuse: "No voices are to be allowed except for those for the war with Israel." Iraqi President Saddam Hussein adopted the Palestinian flag and had it printed, distributed and flown alongside his own flag, and even said, "Palestine and Iraq share the same identical cause." In short, we Arabs have put 70 years of our existence on hold while awaiting that "glorious day" when we defeat Israel and "feed the Jews to the fish."
But that day did not come, nor does it seem to be coming, as Jordanian opposition figure Emad Tarifi once told me: "It seems the fish in the sea are not betting on us feeding them Jews."
In addition, we Arabs have given our dictators carte blanche to impoverish, terrorize, oppress and destroy us all in the name of "the great Arab struggle to end the Zionist entity." The outcome of this has been clear: While Israel made 10 new breakthroughs in cancer and cardiac treatments in the last two years alone, we Arabs developed new execution methods. The latest is death by drowning in a cage, as shown in an Islamic State group video two weeks ago.
We Arabs have wasted seven decades of our existence awaiting Israel's demise. It is time to think of the future, and whether Israel's "disappearance" should be our ultimate wish.
Being the son of two Palestinian-Jordanian refugees, I find myself inclined to fear for the future. Regardless of my stance toward Israel, I have to think: What would happen if, one day, Israel were to disappear? While it does not seem feasible, it is the day around which entire Arab political, social and economic systems revolve.
It is not only Arabs who want Israel gone. There are others who seek the same, for example anti-Semites in the West. Just last week, neo-Nazis marched in London with swastikas and the Palestinian flag. The organizer of the march claimed it was a protest "by all of those who have suffered because of Israel." There are groups calling for a boycott of Israel "for the sake of the Palestinian people." There are countries whose entire foreign policy seems to revolve around opposition to Israel. We Palestinians might have believed that these groups and countries actually care about us, but they take no interest in the fate of the 150,000 Palestinians being starved to death in Syria's Yarmouk refugee camp, nor in an estimated 5.8 million Palestinians in Jordan (as indicated by a U.S. Embassy cable) who live as second-class citizens and are banned from government jobs and any form of state benefits while paying full taxes.
If these Israel-haters got their wish to see Israel disappear, what would happen?
First, Israel is the only reason Iran does not yet have nuclear weapons. Iran could buy the technology to produce them, or could learn it quickly the way Pakistan did. Why has Iran been slow in doing so? Because it learned a lesson from the experience of Saddam's Osirak reactor, which Israeli jets reduced to rubble in 1981.
Then, almost everyone, including George H. W. Bush who was vice president of the United States at that time, were furious with Israel's move. But 10 years later, when the U.S. fought to liberate Kuwait, the situation would have been totally different if Saddam had kept his nuclear program -- and the only reason he did not was Israel.
Further, Iran already controls at least a third of Iraq and its resources through a pro-Iranian regime. If Israel were to disappear, Iran would extend its influence into Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain the next day, as it would not have to fear an Israeli reaction. Iran could then bring the world to its knees by reducing oil production.
Iran is not the only evil power in the Middle East: We also have Islamic State, which has now spread across Iraq, Syria, Sinai and Libya, with clear ambitions to enter Jordan. Islamic State has not entered Jordan yet, and this is not because of any fear of the Jordanian army. After all, the Global Firepower website ranks Jordan's army at the same level as the Iraqi army, which Islamic State has defeated many times. Islamic State does not dare enter Jordan for one reason only -- its fear that Israeli jets would catch up with it 15 minutes later.
If Israel were to disappear and be replaced by a Palestinian state, the Palestinians would most likely end up with another Arab dictatorship that oppresses them and reduces them to poverty. We have partially seen that with the Palestinian Authority and the "liberated" areas it rules. I regularly visit the West Bank and have interviewed scores of Palestinians there. I can confirm that, as much as they hate Israel, they still openly yearn for the days when it administered the West Bank. As one Palestinian told me, "We prayed to God to give us mercy and rid us of Israel; later, we found out that God had given us mercy when Israel was here."
To those Arabs, Muslims, Westerners and others insisting that Israel must be erased from face of the planet, I say: Don't bet on it, as Israel is becoming stronger every day through its democracy and innovation, while Arab countries are getting weaker through dictatorship and chaos. And be careful what you wish for, because if you were to get it, you too would most likely disappear, unless you yearn to be ruled by Iran or Islamic State.
In short, if the day were to come when Israel falls, Jordan, Egypt and many others would fall, too, and Westerners would be begging Iran for oil.
We can hate Israel as much as we like, but we must realize that without it, we too would be gone.
Mudar Zahran is a Jordanian-Palestinian who resides in the U.K.
Original piece is http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=13113