Husam Itani
Dar Al-Hayat (Opinion)
September 9, 2011 - 12:00am

One of the biggest victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks was the second Palestinian uprising.

The Arab neglect – while looking into the repercussions of this terrorist incident on the uprising – falls in a wider context related to the refusal to deal with the deeply-rooted reasons behind the political and social crisis in the Arab world. Still, this should not annul the bitter consequences that affected the Palestinian cause and exposed the structural shortcomings in the management of the major crises, and before that in understanding them, analyzing them and anticipating their results.

Going back to the Palestinian reactions, the most prominent of which being the donation of blood to the victims of the attack by the late President Yasser Arafat, does not annul the fact that a large number of Palestinians and many of their political representatives rejoiced over the detonation of the two towers in New York and the destruction of one side of the American Department of Defense. These Palestinians considered that the attacks which were carried out with passenger jets were a just punishment to the full American bias in favor of Israel and the presence of George Bush’s administration that assured, since its first day at the White House, its relinquishing of its role as an “honest mediator” which former President Bill Clinton liked to talk about.

What is worse is that the Palestinian forces, including the military wing of the (ruling) Fatah movement, did not realize the size of the change provoked by the sight of the towers’ collapse at the level of the international mood. Indeed, seeing American employees jumping off the towers only to be crushed on the tarmac below to avoid being burned alive, generated an amount of identification between the American victims and countless numbers of Europeans and Asians who feared a similar fate, and this cannot be denied by anyone linked to the contemporary world.

The insistence of the Palestinian factions on suicide operations following the September 11 suicide attacks, marked a dangerous dissociation from reality and an inability to grasp the facts. On the opposite end, Israel rushed to exploit this Palestinian alienation from the world in the post-September 11 stage and engaged in a diplomatic, media and security campaign which resulted in the support by George Bush’s administration of all the operations aiming at deterring the uprising, in the context of the global war on terrorism.

Operation Defensive Shield in March and April 2002, the Jenin Camp massacre, and before this the confiscation of the Karine A ship which was carrying arms and an endless wave of assassinations targeting Palestinian leaders and featuring “collateral damage” in the ranks of hundreds of Palestinian civilians, were offered to the world as part of the Israeli contribution to the deterrence of the danger of extremism and “Jihadism” and its distancing from civilized world.

And despite some critical positions voiced by a number of Palestinian intellectuals and politicians, no serious or deep reviewing was conducted in regard to the adoption of suicide operations and the militarization of the uprising until after the Palestinians paid a hefty price for these practices, not only out of the lives of their children, but also out of the position of their national cause on the international diplomatic arena. Yet, one can still find some who are defending these operations which were not endorsed by any political project, by saying they constitute a just sanction for the Israeli crimes.

The simple question that emerges in light of the similar assessment of the Manhattan, West Bank and Gaza events as sanctions to criminals who committed unforgivable acts against our people, is related to the side which appointed these factions – Al-Qaeda among others – as the vengeance collectors of the oppressed people. In the meantime, no one answered a question in regard to the position which would have been reached by the Palestinian uprising had it upheld a peaceful character, just like the first one.


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