Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, December 2008
Some Arab Rulers Facilitate Israeli War on Gaza
By Abbas Bakhtiar
ccun.org, January 11, 2009
“Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.” (Arthur Miller)
It is now over two weeks since Israel started its vicious assault on Gaza resulting, so far, in close to 854 dead and thousands of injuries mostly civilians. Israel true to its nature is once again ignoring all international laws and conventions. With its usual thirst for blood of the civilians, Israel is continuing its bombing of workshops, administrative buildings, roads, bridges, fuel depots, prisons, schools and mosques; killing and injuring large number of civilians in one of the world’s most impoverished and densely populated areas of the world. The Israelis are following their old method of destroying everything that makes a society a society, the infrastructure. The collective punishment of the Palestinians for what Hamas or Islamic Jihad is supposed to be doing or has done, reminds one of the collective punishments that Nazis meted out in the occupied areas in Eastern Europe during the WWII.
International Red Cross just issued a statement [] condemning Israel for its brutality against civilians. There are several things that seem to have shocked the Red Cross. In one episode after several days of heavy pressure from the Red Cross, several ambulances were allowed to enter a neighbourhood to evacuate the injured civilians. In one house they found 12 bodies all civilians and mostly women and children. They also found four very young children still alive next to their dead mothers, too weak to stand. They have been holed-up in the same house for close to 4 days.
Apparently the whole neighbourhood was full of dead and injured civilians with Israeli forces only 80 meters away. According to the Red Cross the Israeli forces knew of the situation and not only didn’t do anything to help the civilians, but also were stopping Red Cross from providing assistance. Representative of the Norwegian Red Cross’ People’s Action calls this a war crime.
But this is only the tip of the ice berg. The Israeli forces have begun to use civilians as human shields. According to Amnesty International Israeli forces occupy civilian houses and keep the civilians as hostages on the first floor, while they position their soldiers on the second floor; ensuring that any fire on the house (especially with anti-tank or RPG missiles) kills the civilians as well.
In yet another report, the United Nations condemned Israel for targeting civilians. The head of the UN agency in Gaza running the school that was attacked by Israel forces categorically rejected the claim by Israel that Hamas fighters were in or even near the school. Israel bombed the UN run school, killing 43 children and injuring 100. []
Israel also targets ambulances and humanitarian relief convoys in Gaza. According to UN, at least one Palestinian was killed when UN relief convoy came under fire from Israeli forces. “The attack took place on Thursday as the lorries travelled to the Erez crossing to pick up supplies that were to have been allowed in during a three-hour ceasefire.” []
The atrocities committed by Israel is a genocide of a conquered people. Gaza is a concentration camp and no amount of PR can reduce the magnitude of this horrible crime against humanity and decency.
But Israel has shown that cruelty is in her nature. Here I am talking about the successive Israeli governments and not Israeli people in general. I am sure there are many in Israel that if became aware of what really is happening would not approve of it. This of course excludes the settlers and the Zionist movement. These groups like the South African white supremacists consider others to be inferior to them; or that they have the god given right to do as they please.
But states seldom are representative of their people. It is the elite and / or the governing class that makes the decisions. The state of Israel is determined to never allow the Palestinians to have a viable state. The maximum that they are willing to allow is some form of Bantustan (South African) or North American reservation (for Native Americans). With carte blanche from US and most of the European powers, Israel has been implementing this policy. Setting-up such a system takes many years. People’s spirit has to be crushed through collective punishment, economic strangulation and above all excessive and continuing violence. This has to continue for many years so the people lose hope of ever achieving anything more than what is on offer.
This of course cannot be done without the approval of other countries. Israel has the approval of the world’s most powerful nation, the United States. In addition, because of her US connections, she has managed to get a nod and a wink from the Europeans as well. So with this carte blanche in hand she has set forth to change the “reality” on the ground in her favour. By systematically settling extremists in the middle of populated Palestinian areas, she has made the creation of a viable Palestinian state almost impossible. A simple look at the map of the Palestinian territories resembles a Swiss cheese, with pockets of densely populated Palestinian areas surrounded by settlements and their protective military garrisons.
The violence both official (state sponsored) and unofficial (settlers) has been incessant. Couple this violence with economic strangulation and you will see the reasons behind the Palestinians’ anger and frustration. Any resistance is automatically branded as an act of terrorism and punished with even more violence, with US and Europeans cheering the Israelis on the side lines.
If you recall when Georgia invaded the Russian protected enclave of Abkhazia, and met Russian counter attack, the whole Western world with US at its head condemned Russia. Pushing for UN action and even sending warships with “humanitarian” supplies. Russians did not commit one thousandth of the Israeli atrocities and we had the Georgian president and other politician talking day and night about the horrible things the Russians were doing. Yet today we have US and European governments sitting silently watching this genocide taking place without doing anything. US even vetoes resolutions condemning Israeli actions, forgetting that no peace is ever made possible by killing so many innocent women and children.
But whenever a power tries to relocate a group of people by force, the Newton’s Third Law of Motion comes into effect. Newton's Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that if you try to imprison a person that person will try to break out. If you try to subjugate a people they will resist. This is the underlying causes of most liberation movements. The same applies to the Palestinians. They are resisting. We can agree or disagree with their methods, but theirs is a reaction to actions taken against them; we call this self-defence.
Israel is trying to push Palestinians into submission and in the process forcing many to leave the occupied territories. They are trying to show the Palestinians that they are alone and resistance in the face of an overwhelming force is suicide. Israel has tried this tactics before and has failed. The children that had to stay with their dead mothers for four days will not forget. The starved people of Gaza are not going to forget this barbarity; and neither shall the people of honour and conscious, regardless of their nationality, Israelis included.
But as for one of those who have followed the Israel’s actions for the past 30 years, I can say that I didn’t expect anything different from Israel. The lies and deceits are all too familiar to fall for again. The current Israeli action in Gaza was not a reaction to the recent event, but planned a year ago. Just read the New York Times article in which among others they interview a senior Israeli military officer [].
Israel is now trying to portray herself as a nation that is defending itself, while the truth is that Israel is a cruel occupying power trying to force a people out of their land. And this is being done with the help of some Arab nations; the very same nations that constantly talk about Arab and Muslim solidarity. These nations are: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The often asked question, when it comes to the Palestinians, is about the role of Arab countries in the Palestinian struggle for freedom. The people not familiar with the political landscape of the area often see the Middle East as two camps, Arab countries on one side and Israel on the other. The reality is totally different. Israel has seldom been alone. Beside its usual American, French, British and other staunch allies, she has had the hidden backing of several rulers of Arab countries.
For close to 30 years now, many Arab countries have been collaborating with Israel; some like Egypt (gained independence: 1922) and Jordan (gained independence: 1946) openly while others like Saudi Arabia (founded: 1932), UAE (founded: 1972) and Kuwait (founded: 1961) from behind the scenes. The reasons for this collaboration vary from country to country but they all have one thing in common: the rulers of these countries are all dictators and need foreign protection from their own people. Some such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and UAE were put in power by the British. The founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdul-Aziz bin Saud (the kingdom is named after him) was put in power by the British. The same goes for the others, except Egypt which experienced a coup by the army officers in 1952 resulting in the ousting of the monarchy and the accompanying British influence. But the Western influence returned with Anwar Sadat. All these countries are dictatorships and all are under pressure from their people. What they cannot accept is any democratically elected form of government in their midst. They fear that if an Arab government becomes democratic they may have to become one themselves, hence losing power.
In contrast Hamas really represented the aspiration of the people. Soon, Mahmood Abbas term as president is over (this happened on January 9) and he had to stand for re-election something that he would surely lose. In contrast Hamas really won the municipal elections in 2005 and the Parliamentary election in 2006. The elections were supervised by international observers, many from Europe, and US.
Palestinians were fed-up with the corrupt regime of Mahmoud Abbas and the Fatah. They wanted to clean house. But as soon as Hamas took over, the US and the Europeans put an embargo on Hamas, calling it a terrorist organisation and not a peace partner. Israel closed the borders and refused to let anything into Gaza. Egypt also did the same.
What is not mentioned much in the media is that this was done with the complete approval of the Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. After all, Egypt could have opened its border for transfer of food and fuel. The reasons behind this hostility were and are that Hamas is a truly elected government and worst of all, Hamas is a branch or an off-shoot of Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt.
Muslim Brotherhood has a branch or related organisation in Jordan as well. Egypt and Jordan are worried that should Hamas survive and show its resistance, their people may get the idea that they can also resist the tyrannical rule of these despots. One must not forget that Muslim Brotherhood represents the only serious challenge to the Mubarak’s rule in Egypt.
As can be seen each of these rulers has a good reason to eliminate Hamas, but each is restrained by his population. Israel has no such a restrain imposed on it. She not only can wage a terrible war, but can also get assistance from Arab countries. Indeed it is the second time (the first was the Lebanon invasion of 2006) that Israel is getting open and solid support from these Arab countries. The invasion of Gaza was discussed in Egypt before its implementation.
Egypt is actively involved in stopping all aids from getting to Palestinians in Gaza save a token few trucks. These few trucks are allowed to go through so they can be filmed and shown to Egyptian people. All demonstrations are banned and all Egyptian volunteers for Gaza are either arrested or sent back.
There are hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the Muslim world that are willing to go to the aid of the Palestinians, but the Egyptian authorities don’t allow them passage. Egyptians even stop medical aid from passing through their territories. This is part of a report from Associated Press:
“RAFAH, Egypt: Frustration is mounting at Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli ground invasion.
Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians.
"This is a shame," said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans. He thought entering through Egypt, which has a narrow border with the Hamas-ruled strip, was his best bet.
"That in 2009 they have people in need of help from a doctor and we can go to help and they won't let us. This is crazy," he added.” [].
In addition there are many Iranian cargo planes full of food and medicine which have been sitting on the tarmacs in Egypt for days waiting for permission to deliver their cargo. Egyptians even denied the medical aid sent by the son of the Libyan President Qaddafi to land in Egypt [].
One thing is clear: these three countries do not want the Israelis to fail in their mission of totally destroying Gaza. The daily Haaretz reported that Hosni Mubarak had told European ministers on a peace mission that Hamas must not be allowed to win the ongoing war in Gaza.
As Egypt physically aids the Israeli military by denying food, fuel and medicine to the civilians. When Israel started its invasion there was an immediate call for an Arab summit. Saudi Arabia and Jordan (along with Egypt of course) delayed the summit. The Saudis along with the UAE said that they had another meeting to attend to and therefore Palestinian issue had to wait. After a few days when the summit was eventually held, they issued the same old statements. Yet this time same as the Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 2006, they blamed the victims. In a statement Saudi Arabia blamed Hamas for Israel's continuing offensive in the Gaza Strip. Saudi Arabia, after blaming Hamas, declared that it will not even consider an oil embargo on Israel’s supporters. She then again blamed Hamas.
By this time, the three Arab countries along with Kuwait and UAE began singing the old song: international community is not doing anything about the catastrophe that is taking place in Gaza. It seems that these Arab tyrants have no shame at all. This reminds me of a quote from Marquis De Sade (1740-1814): “One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.”
These Arab leaders (many are indeed too old to blush) are complicit in the murder of so many civilians, especially young children. According to Agence France-Presse, quoting the medics on the ground, fully one third of all people killed have been children []. How can these Arab leaders justify this to their people?
The answer is that they cannot. Israel knows this and for the second time can show the Arab street that their leaders are nothing but a bunch of old hypocrites. These Arab leaders are now exposed and can do nothing but to cooperate fully with Israel and US. What stand between them and their people’s rage is their army and secret services; which in turn are supported by US.
Israel has cleverly exposed these leaders for what they are: collaborators of the worst kind. These Arab leaders have brought an unimaginable shame to themselves. To quote Lucien Bouchard: I have never known a more vulgar expression of betrayal and deceit. Our hope is now with the people of these countries to clean this stain from their honour.
Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway. He is a management consultant and a contributing writer for many online journals. He can be contacted at : Bakhtiarspacefirstname.lastname@example.org
 ABC News Norway. “Røde Kors sjokkert over Israel”(Red Cross Shocked by Israel), 8 January 2009.
 Aljazeera.net. ” UN: No fighters in targeted school”, 8 January 2009
 Aljazeera.net. ” Israel fires on UN Gaza convoy”, 8 January 2009
 nytimes.com. “For Israel, 2006 Lessons but Old Pitfalls”, 7 January 2009
 The Associated Press. “Doctors stuck at bottleneck on Egypt-Gaza border”. 6 January 2009
 google.com: hosted news. ” Egypt denies Kadhafi's son permission to land at airport”. 6 January 2009
 Agence France-Presse. “Children make up third of Gaza dead”, 7 January 2009
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