To the Editor:
Re "The Revolution's Missing Peace" (April 21):
Of all the notions about the root causes of the Arab spring now sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa, President Abdullah Gul's view that the democratic ferment is innately tied to a lack of progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly outrageous and cynical.
In fact, all of the evidence is to the contrary. Anyone who has followed the remarkable and at times disturbing events unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Libya and other countries would be hard-pressed to conclude that achieving the democratic aspirations of the people of those countries depends on peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the larger Arab world.
What has motivated the citizens of these repressive regimes is a deep and long denied yearning to be active and meaningful participants in their own fate. It is not distress about their governments' foreign policies. It is anguish over their leaders' domestic repression, which deprived them of a political voice and an economic path to a better life.
Arab leaders have long used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a means to shift domestic attention away from the failings of their own societies. But this time around, as we have seen with Muammar Qaddafi's efforts to blame the insurrection in Libya on foreign interference, including Israel, the old excuses no longer work.