Allow me to weigh into the matter from my hopefully accurate perception of things in my region.
At the moment, I'll say that we inhabitants of the Levant of Melkite and Antiochian Orthodox lineage are indeed a special case, in terms of our perceptions of history, our cemented relationships on the ground which ever so often includes ties of blood--intermarriage, at least involving these two particular Churches of the two Communions, being a spontaneous social practice that qualifies as a natural activity and even a tradition of sorts (natural enough that some pious women who engaged in intermarriage would fast the strict traditional fast for both Lents) as opposed to an artificial social engineering ploy--our attitudes towards each other insofar as the layman is concerned, our contempt channeled at what we see as power hungry hierarchs and corrupt priests* rather than at ourselves, and above all no national conflict contributing to any friction, the only such contempt existing between the Greek Jerusalemite hierarchy and what might be a good portion of the Arab flock. In fact the successful consolidation of the Patriarchal throne of Antioch by Arabs may have been a large contributor to better relations between Melkites and Orthodox.
*had we known what the apex of corruption translates to amongst Western priests, and had a clue as to what scandals had become so commonplace in that part of the world, we would probably receive an epiphany and never let a priest of our own out of our sight without kissing his hand.
Whenever I witness salvos of hositility launched between Orthodox and Eastern Catholics, it usually translates into a Slavic titanomachy that doesn't correlate with our own experiences, or a purely ideological faceoff that doesn't touch on the national grudges of the old country; this usually involves WASP converts or Americans of whatever stripe. These two paradigms have to be broken out of in order to perceive universal Orthodox-Eastern Catholic relations in its full spectrum both as they involve clergy, and laymen. The Turkish millet system contributed to our classifications; "Uniate" doesn't exist in our vocabulary, and I'm not sure I can even successfully translate it. Orthodox are still called Romans (Romaio) in our countries. "Melkite" on the other hand is rarely used in common speech; "Katoleek" is the propre name or if we decline to use shorthand, "Roman Catholics", though Roman in the same sense the Orthodox are, not as it would be understood in English here.
The most you'll get out of us is traditional jokes that are used to tease the other party (these may have had a sharper and more hostile connotation in the distant past), and a contest on whose Sad Friday it should rain. Our divisions effectively translate to the disruption caused by two Paschas and two Lents, and in Jordan it was the people in their frustration at the situation who brought about the unity of the two Paschas, not the hierarchs. As far as most common people are concerned, the only difference between us is that the Melkites "bi'aido ma'al Baba" (celebrate [Pascha] with the Pope), thinking that the schism is, at least as it exists in our local experience and microcosm, perpetuated by the clergy fighting for the sake of "karasee", chairs.
My comments pertain to the region under the Antiochian Orthodox Patriarchate; attitudes may be different under Jerusalem.
As is the case with most folk, ritual and liturgical traditions define the religious experience, understanding, and perception. In Syria, our bonds with our brethren in ritual, exceed in strength our ties with the other sister Catholic Churches. Many amongst both our Churches cannot stand the Maronites; some of us would probably think it propostrous to assume that we have any connection with them that is close to the connections we have with the Antiochian Orthodox. Many of us would live as if the schism didn't exist, and probably wouldn't recognize it. Both were more than ready and exhilerated by the prospects of a united calendar in Syria (which to us is the only large testament to the schism, our Berlin Wall so to speak), the Julian Paschal calendar, nushkur Allah, but the Syrians, Armenians, and Maronites squawked, even though this Melkite internal affair had nothing to do with them. The project was aborted.
There are several historical and sociological factors that contribute to this friendly tone in relations between the two parties, that distinguish them from conflicts in the Balkans and elsewhere:
1) The Melkites are staunchly Eastern, especially in their thinking and more Orthodox theological consciousness (akin to the Russian Catholics) rather than a hybridized conundrum. This isn't to say that there aren't some Latin additions. I'm ready to see those scrapped.
2) The Melkite Church is neither a small minority nor a small remnant or fraction. It is a strong Church headed by a Patriarch. It does not share the plight of the Russian Catholics who barely survive today, given their present numbers.
3) No nationalist squabbles. In fact, those rather might be found between the different ritual Churches. The Maronites are pro-Crusades in their historical hindsight, and are not wedded to Arabism as the Rum Ortodox/Katoleek are. Today they are seen as a political embarrasment when it comes to politics in the Middle East. Patriarch Sfeir is perceived to be ruining the image of the Christians in the Arab countries, an important image that we believe must be collectively maintained in a very positive manner by all the Churches, given our minority status as a religion.
4) No one Church had state power to use too heavily against one side. The Turks had the rod. There was no Orthodox/Catholic/Oriental Orthodox country or nation.
5) The Arabic tongue that facilitates dialogue amongst all the Churches in the Middle East, the Churches of all three ancient Apostolic Patriarchates.
6) Our minority status as Christians. Unfortunately that doesn't quell the hositilities between Orthodox and Latin clergy, or the trademark antagonism of the parties within the Church of the Resurrection, even in occupied Palestine with all its troubles.
7) An Arab Orthodox Patriarch on the throne of Antioch.
I strongly suspect the existance of the Oriental Orthodox Churches contributed to diffusing a sharp Catholic/ Eastern Orthodox polarity of the kind that exists in Eastern Europe.
9) A very important point to consider is that Arabs tend to lack a sense of pan-Orthodoxy or pan-Catholicism. As Arabs with a fortress mentality, we prefer to remain shut in and isolationist (the Christian world, given the plethora of Churches and the three Apostolic Sees present in the Levant, may as well revolve exclusively around us). Arab Orthodox don't have a sense of bonding or concern with the Greek and Slavic, or even Orthodox world, while Greeks and Slavs have ties that were demonstrated when the Serbs were decimated by the Empire, the collective hegemony of NATO-crats and Americans. I would venture to say that Arabs see the particular Church above the Church family or Communion, meaning that in the case of the Catholics, each Church is indeed a Church on its own, not an appendage of the Latins--as demonstrated by one of our listmember's account of his old country relative's ignorance of not being pravoslavnie--as one could care less about the other Catholic Churches, least of all the Roman Church (other tawa'if; they might as well be Orthodox or of another Church family entirely). And the Protestants? Oh they must be Christians too. Try to kindly explain to the simple folk where we come from that there is such a thing as a non-Apostolic Christian (the word "Christian" automatically designates an Apostolic; there is no other kind we know of, regardless of the small Protestant minority in our region) before the delusion that assumes otherwise propels such on a dangerous course once they immigrate to non-Apotolic turf in the West.
This isolationalist tendency to see the stage of both Christianity and Church unity set entirely in the Middle East, ("Patriarchs, facilitate a unity" without care as to how the decisions and input of the Churches outside the Arab world factor in) was well illustrated in the unilateral attempts of the two Antiochian synods and Patriarchates to reunite. For a Christian well informed in matters concerning the Christian world stage, aware of the crucial concept of various Church families acting as a whole, this bold attempt at unity could be quickly seen as a failed attempt from the start. From the perspective of the Arab whose perception of Church relations does not bother to extend itself beyond the confines of the Arab world to encompass the entire world or Christian family and Communion his jurisdiction belongs to, with the press announcements of this endeavour on the parts of the two Patriarchates, what was so difficult to accomplish for numerous centuries becomes expected to have a good chance at turning into reality within the next few months, at least in our own little world of Rum Katoleek/Ortodox Christians.
10) Finally, to my knowledge there are no saints on either side that qualified as martyrs dispatched by the other when there actually were conflicts between the two at the beginning of the split in the Antiochian Patriarchate. I don't know of the existance of any saint in our Church who was responsible for forging communion with Rome, nor are there any samples that I am aware of, from religious texts, that concern our entering the Uniate contract, no troparia that speak of the "schismatic Orthodox" etc.
In IC XC