Husam Itani
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
August 19, 2011 - 12:00am

A few sentences or words would not be enough to convey some meaning to the issue of the armed struggle on which the Palestinians and Arabs have been arguing for decades. Moreover, it would be useless to recall the history of exploitation of the Palestinian cause by the various Arab regimes, in order to achieve their immediate interests.

On the other hand, any inquiries related to the timing of the attacks on the Israeli buses in Negev will be met with condemnation by those rejecting any questioning of the Palestinian resistance’s right to attack Israeli targets wherever they can be reached by the factions and based on whichever agreements. What is important – based on this logic – is preventing oblivion from surrounding the cause for which the interests, lives and dignities of individuals and populations are easily sacrificed. And there is no better stimulus for memory than violence.

Regardless of the magnitude of the injustice endured by the Palestinian people since before 1948 – and maybe due to this injustice – many Palestinians did not oppose the exploitation of their cause as a springboard or a platform by various Arab governments and apparatuses whenever it serves the goals of the regimes, before they put it aside and tend to other affairs.

This is maybe the first thought that comes to mind whenever one hears the reports about the attacks whose perpetrators came from Gaza according to Israel, and the pledge made by the Israeli defense minister to make the Strip pay the “price” for the shooting on the Israeli buses between Beersheba and Eilat. It is clear, based on preliminary information, that the preparation of the operation required months of reconnaissance, monitoring, observation and planning, and that its implementation and its go-time were dictated by factors extending beyond the operational and field requirements.

Without excluding the local Palestinian need to revive the military front, one cannot deny the existence of other sides with the capability and need to shift the attention away from their own fronts and their current predicaments. In other words, the Palestinian “armed struggle” is still – as it used to be in the seventies – a valid mailbox through which the Arab regimes can send regional, international and internal messages. It is no secret that the last few years witnessed the deepening of the ties between some Palestinian factions and Iran, which allows the possible intersection between the sides wishful to “correspond” with Israel and the United States using this way and method.

It seems, based on Barak’s enthusiasm to carry out swift strikes against Gaza, that the attacks combine two wishes. They are Israeli and “rejectionist” wishes to flee forward and avoid dealing with the (Arab) political and (Israeli) social developments in a way other than what Israel and those standing behind the operations are accustomed to, i.e. turning any new phenomenon into an additional credit for the authorities that are seeking the prolongation of their stay in power, at the expense of more tragedies affecting the fate of the people and the outcome of the Palestinian cause.

At a time when the details of the operation and the sides which planned and carried it out remained vague, it appears that its goals are not that far away from the traditional calculations that rely on confusion and violent strikes in one location, in order to shift the attention away from another. Still, this all seems to be from a world heading toward extinction, as the Arab revolutions - with their values and the sacrifices of the people participating in them – annulled the purpose of the Arab (and non-Arab) exploitation of the Palestinian cause, seen for example in the meager “messages” addressed from the Golan and South Lebanon on the occasion of the Nakba and the Naqsa, and whose dire repercussions were assumed by the Palestinians.

Without engaging in a debate over the military operations in the Arab-Israeli conflict - considering that their positive and negative aspects have been known for decades – and without disregarding the hefty price which might be paid by the Palestinians (starting with the perpetrators of the operation who died during its execution), there is no eluding the fact that this type of action which is removed from its political context now needs thorough reconsideration, to say the least. The transformation in the region heralded the beginning of a new historical stage, and blind are those who do not see it.


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