Palestinian nakba: A new phase

Monday, 17 May 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

What is happening in Gaza today is total annihilation of a people left by the world to fend for themselves 


“Israel has a right to defend its territories”, is an old tune sung by every American and European or Western leader whenever a new military conflagration breaks out in Palestine. But has any of them clarified at any time what those territories are and where are its boundaries? 

The truth of the matter is Israel of today is the product of revisionist Zionism, as expounded by Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940), who described Zionism as “a colonising adventure and therefore stands or falls by the question of armed force. It is important to build, it is important to speak Hebrew, but unfortunately even more important to be able to shoot…”

Israel therefore, is an ever-expanding conquering Western counterpart, and its expansion will not stop until perhaps it swallows the entire Palestine and at least parts of the rest of the Middle East. In a sense, the European plan to partition the Ottoman Empire has still not completed. Therefore, to talk of Israel’s right to defend its territories is meaningless. 

The real problem for an expansionist Israel is not PLO or Hamas. In fact, Israel wants Hamas to be there and fire its rockets. If one cares to read the origins of Hamas one would realise that it is one of the children of Sayyid Qutub’s Muslim Brotherhood. Its Palestinian Head in Gaza, the quadriplegic Sheik Ahmed Yassin, and his Mujama al-Islamiyya or Islamic Charity, grew popular at that time. Israel cultivated close relationship with the Sheik and even funded his charity. Israel wanted him and his organisation to become a counterweight to secular Arafat and his PLO. Hamas is Yassin’s baby who grew under the very eyes of Israel and tolerated until Hamas itself became a threat. The Sheik was killed by Israel in 2003. 

Realistically speaking, Israel wants Hamas to continue to exist and fire its rockets. Because, those rockets give an excuse to kill more Arabs and acquire more Arab lands for Jewish settlements. However, it also brings in more Arabs under Israeli governance. The current phase of the conflict is the counterproductive result of that policy. Now and for the first time, Israeli Arabs have come to the streets in protest after more than 70 years of Israel’s colonial oppression, discrimination and injustice. World media is speculating about an Israeli civil war. No Western leader so far bothered to raise any concern about the fate of Israeli Arabs. More than Hamas, it is these Arabs who are now fighting. The feeling of ‘nakba’ or catastrophe has engulfed the spirit and minds of these Arabs now. It is going to grow. 

The worst fear is this. Israel is not going to treat its Arab citizens on equal terms, even after swallowing the entire Palestine. Either it would reduce the Arabs to the status of Australian aborigines or the Likud and far right Zionists may find a ‘final solution’ to them as Hitler found for the Jews. Will the West continue to say, ‘Israel has a right to defend its territories’, even when that happens? 

More than the West, it is the Arab leaders who have to bear a major share of responsibility to the current state of affairs in Palestine. At least after 1967, these leaders should have realised that the international community through UN will not provide any solution favourable to Palestinians. Instead of building their own scientific and military strength to counter balance Israel they succumbed to Western pressure, sought after compromises, which always ended in favour of Israel, and eventually washed their hands off from the Palestinian cause. 

Perhaps they are frightened of an independent Palestinian state. (Soon after the hijacking of three air crafts and blew them up by the Popular Front of Liberation of Palestine in September 1969, an unrepenting Yasser Arafat, in an interview he gave in front of TV cameras, bravely stated that his entry into Palestine would be through the Arab countries. That must have frightened the Arab leaders). 

What is happening in Gaza today is total annihilation of a people left by the world to fend for themselves. Even Iran that used to shout on behalf of Palestinians has gone surprisingly silent. That means Hezbollah in Lebanon will also remain neutral. Yet, Palestinians are fighting and will continue to fight. Israel does not want the world to know the extent of the horror it is unleashing in Gaza. That is why it bombed and destroyed the building where Al-Jazeera and other TV news channels were operating from. The longer the mayhem continues the situation will become ripe for the entry of other actors like Al-Qaida and ISIS with their own agenda. Then the West will shout not about Palestine but about terrorism. The drama goes on.

(The writer is attached to the School of Business and Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia.)