Hazem Saghiyeh
Al-Hayaht Al-Jadidah (Opinion)
February 19, 2013 - 1:00am

There has always been a “road to Palestine,” which of course does not lead to it or even actually pass through it. This road was always in demand for purposes that have to do with things like diverting attention away from actual problems in a given country; to cover up relationships and ties meant to remain concealed; or to deceive the people of the region, particularly the Palestinian people, and gain cheap popularity at their expense.

Perhaps the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser was the founder of this school of thought. Indeed, the road to Palestine took him all the way to Yemen, where he became involved throughout the sixties in a long and costly civil war. What is unfortunate as well is that the march to Palestine via Yemen did not stop except in 1967, when Israel, which Nasser wanted to reach, almost marched on Cairo.

But the Egyptian leader, before reaching Yemen, made a stop in Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon in the late 1950s, becoming involved in supporting certain factions and fighting others, which led to bruising those Arab societies and weakening their already-fragile national fabrics.

Moreover, both ruling Baath parties in Syria and Iraq promised us a pathway to Palestine. However, the first opted instead to bypass the Golan Heights to pounce over Lebanon, where its primary contribution was to further fuel the infighting among the Lebanese, and to put the Palestinian resistance under siege until it was expelled from Lebanon.

The other – Iraqi – Baath had a much longer and windier path towards Palestine. First, this path led it east, to Iran, where Iraq waged a protracted war with an enormous cost, before the path to Palestine led it south to Kuwait. There, expelling Iraqi occupation required summoning the armies of the entire world and its fleets to the region.

In turn, the Iranian revolution and its regime wished to take us to Palestine, and for this reason, the regime started marking a so-called Quds Day. However, they soon took us to battles and confrontations that begin with Iran’s keenness on remaining in a state of conflict with Iraq, and did not stop with what has become known as the “nuclear issue.”

Even the only sincere attempt to walk a real path to Palestine, i.e., the attempt of the Palestinian resistance, was soon mired in the mud of the sectarian and conflictive composition of our societies. Their path was thus diverted to Amman, and then to Jounieh, which a Palestinian leader infamously said was a legitimate stop along the path to Palestine. All this while others chose to soar into outer space, falsely believing that hijacking a civilian plane here or there would lead them to Palestine.

Without mentioning the more ridiculous and more dishonest attempts like those seasonally sponsored by Muammar Gaddafi, Hezbollah is also taking its own path to Palestine. To be sure, when it becomes clear that the Shebaa Farms are not a good enough reason to retain illegitimate weapons, Palestine, which neighbors Lebanon to the south, is then mentioned.

But geographical proximity here did not assist the cause more than the proximity of the Syrian Golan with Palestine did. In this sense, we once again discover that the road to Palestine deviates to Homs and the town of Qasir in Syria. There, the Hezbollah fighters who are killed or injured wanted nothing more than to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Is it not time for these winding roads to stop their zigzagging, as repetition should have taught us this lesson by now?


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