As the international diplomatic community scrambles to find a “solution” to the current onslaught on Gaza, it is clear that the main purpose of much of the communication and mediation – whether in Paris, Washington or Cairo – is focusing on one fundamental point: to “buy” the disarmament of the Resistance under the banner of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, writes Abdelbari Atwan.
This is an old formula which was established after the second intifada had been extinguished. Essentially it seeks to exchange the “economic security” of the Palestinians for peace and security for Israel and its settlers.
The legendary steadfastness shown by the Resistance and loss of political, economic and military power in Israel has surprised Netanyahu and even the US. The Resistance has managed to kill more than 70 Israeli soldiers, including senior officers, and there has been an emergence of sophisticated weapons among the various Resistance factions.
When Tel Aviv airport was attacked and the world’s leading airlines announce they would not fly there, this was a major moral victory for the Resistance.
The sophistication of the Palestinian Resistance, the weapons it has managed to procure and the military tactics it has developed are much greater than two years ago – when Israel last attacked the innocent and defenceless citizens of Gaza. So imagine how it will be in another two years, or five, or ten?
Netanyahu, as the time of writing, has achieved nothing except the murder of hundreds of Palestinian children and the leveling of thousands of homes. He has not managed to stop the steady flow of rockets or to destroy the Resistance tunnels.
Nor has Israel managed to break the resolve of the Palestinian people in Gaza or their unity in resistance, despite the escalating numbers of martyrs and the size of destruction.
Israel, after twenty days of its aggression against the Gaza Strip, turns from its bloody slaughter to discover itself alone. The rest of the international community has stood back in horror at the massacres perpetrated by these murderous Israeli leaders who have, for so long, relied on their historical status as “victims” as cover for the most appalling atrocities.
The mandate offered by this excuse has long since expired. Western public opinion has never been so passionately mobilized against Tel Aviv despite the continued bias in the press and the attempts by senior management to cover up the level and quantity of Israeli terrorism. It is simply not possible to conceal the truth any more in this digital age and the journalists, too, have fought to convey the true story.
During the 2008-9 bloodbath, codenamed Operation Cast Lead, not a single foreign correspondent entered Gaza during the aggression; the Israeli authorities allowed them to cover the war from a small hill overlooking the sector from a distance of three kilometres, and fed them a daily diet of Israeli misinformation.
This time, senior and highly respected western and Arab journalists entered Gaza and lived in the centre of the horror, reporting live from flattened streets and in the midst of wounded, weeping, mourning people; they reported from hospitals, schools and morgues.
They spoke of internationally proscribed weapons (like white phosphorous) being used, and photographed the remains of children whose pure bodies have been torn apart by Israeli bombs.
Jon Snow, the eminent British journalist, broadcast live from central Gaza and overtly criticized the Israeli Army which claims it is a beacon of “civilization” and gives Gazan families a three-minute warning before the destruction of their homes, which is just enough to escape with their lives and their clothes on their backs.
The Daily Telegraph – the broadsheet which is a beacon of the UK Conservative party – published a two-page spread with the names and photos of every woman and child killed in Gaza. This has never happened before in the Western world.
I recently spoke to a relative living in a refugee camp west of Gaza City; he told me that his biggest worry is how he can evacuate his mother and father – who are both wheelchair-bound – if he is told their house is to be shelled. He would need four men to move each one and, as this is not possible, they are simply resigned to the fact they will have to stay and meet their God.
So while this terrifying mass murder continues there is, at the same time, an “auction” to produce a bid high enough to persuade the Resistance to abandon its arms. This auction is led by US Secretary of State John, John Kerry, and it has started at $50 billion! Clearly it is funded by the Gulf States just as they funded the wars which destroyed Iraq.
The terrified citizens of the Gaza Strip long for a truce, of course they do, but they cannot go back to the terrible existence they had before under Israeli and Egyptian siege. All they are asking for is that the siege be lifted and they be allowed to live normal lives, like any other human being on this planet.
We were deeply saddened when Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, published an article in the newspaper “Middle East Online” on Friday, blaming Hamas for the deaths in Gaza because it had the “arrogance” to send ineffective little rockets into Israel. Turki transferred all the responsibility of the key executioner to the victim and this was shocking in every sense – not least because this is the man who once declared jihad to liberate Jerusalem, and use the oil weapon to uphold the Egyptian and Syrian brothers during the 1973 Ramadan war.
Hamas is a Resistance movement, like all the other factions, and was founded to address the occupation of occupied land and holy sites, after all peaceful alternatives had failed.
We would like Prince Turki to answer this question: why have you remained silent for eight years about the stifling and humiliating Israel blockade of Gaza and the imprisonment of its 1.8 million Palestinians, your Arab brethren?
Are you suggesting that they deserve this fate? That they have been, somehow, reckless? Have you read the well-documented Israeli news reports that Israeli authorities have decided on the minimum amount of calories it will allow Gaza’s men, women and children, keeping them on “survival rations” in the manner of a concentration camp. What have Arab “moderates” or “extremists” done to stop the humiliation and starvation of their brothers in Gaza?
The aggression against Gaza should unite all Arabs in a duty to protect and support it, and put all differences aside. But this unfortunately has not happened, these tribal clans just carry on bickering while children’s bodies are blown apart.
The arms of the Resistance are not for sale, just as the right of return, and the integrity of Palestinian territory are not for sale. No matter how many billions the US brokers on behalf of its Arab allies and its Israeli minder.
Our message to our Arab brothers is this: if you are not able and willing to stand in the camp of the martyrs with honour and dignity to confront the most brutal and barbarous Israeli aggression, please do not speak about our Gazan people for they want nothing from you and nothing to do with your treachery.