Jul 21,2018 – JORDAN TIMES –
I was in a conversation with a visiting researcher this week and she asked whether the escalating political and military situation in Palestine could trigger instability in the Arab World within the next year. The answer was not simple to articulate and quite disturbing to consider.
I should have been able to categorically say that the Palestine issue is at the core of the Arab soul. I should have been able to say that the Arabs will rise in anger at the apartheid policies of the Israeli government and parliament, and in shame at the marginalisation of Palestinian pain, humanity and, most importantly, rights by the democracy-clad Western politicians.
I should have been able to say that regional political parties and power brokers, including those inspired by Islam, Arab nationalism, socialism, capitalism or even narrow xenophobic nationalism have their eyes focused on Jerusalem and the preservation of the Arab authenticity and history of the occupied Palestinian lands and people.
My mind raced for examples, skimming quickly through impressive efforts and sacrifice by first, second and third generation Palestinians globally to keep the dream of Palestine alive, and the daily list of honourable men and women in Palestine who donate their lives in challenge to Israeli occupation and the brutality of an international world that piecemealed international justice to accommodate their prejudices and interests.
The truth was that, while examples of Palestinian sacrifice were plenty and historical narrations of the injustices against Palestinians are being highlighted, penned and documented, Palestine is falling off the list of critical priorities on the global political table and has come to be seen by politicians worldwide as an untenable and unrewarding objective.
Most certainly, the combination of the current US government’s anti-Palestinian policies and the long-term, right-wing and racist Israeli policies and actions on the ground have left very little credible, apparent evidence that I could rely on to argue that stability in the Middle East can only be guaranteed through a just solution to the Palestine issue.
I could not give the researcher, who was pursuing a stability analysis of Jordan and the region, a clear answer on the immediate impact of the Palestinian issue and especially not within a time frame that may raise alarm of impending instability.
I insisted, however, that she ought not dismiss the accumulated impact of regional turbulences, including the Palestinian issue. As I saw it, even though the Palestinian issue was not topping lists of political priorities, indicators warn against falling into comfortable zones and adopting the narrative spun so skilfully by the Netanyahu political era. Netanyahu would have us believe that we have arrived at a final Israel-justifying political reality where Palestinian political leadership is divided, Arab populations are not interested, Arab leaders will continue to collaborate to safeguard their interests, Palestinians living under occupation have become physically and logistically contained, and therefore, for to all intents and purposes Israel has already gotten away with its increasingly brutal occupation, changing the facts on the ground with Arab and American blessings to boot.
The truth is that all these elements put forward by Israel as political justification as to why it is too late to reach or even continue to pursue a fair political resolution that recognises the Palestinian people and their right to statehood are all temporary, fragile and largely based in what will be quickly found to be an unsustainable political and security global reality.
International affairs analysis, centred around the Palestinian issue, may showcase a disconnected and revolving global order and state of flux brought on by the rise of the evangelical right in the US, the separatist and self-focused narratives in Europe, weary Arabs reeling from a so called Arab Spring and an elderly, fatigued and trapped Palestinian leadership without popular support, but I am convinced that the Palestinian cause is alive and gaining supporters by the day.
A couple of months ago, The University of Jordan hosted a three-day conference on the Palestinian issue which was attended by speakers and activists that came from all corners of the world, bringing forward and sharing their years of political or academic knowledge and stories of their activism. Panel after panel, speaker after speaker and video clip after video clip, they brought the story home: the Palestinian cause is not dead. It is alive and it is touching peoples’ hearts everywhere.
Palestine has supporters and defenders across the globe from all nationalities and walks of life, and they have created buzzing hubs of activists spreading the word, winning even more supporters, informing governments, touching hearts and, most importantly, resisting Israeli “realities” on the ground. For every tree that is uprooted in Palestine, ten are planted; for every voice that is mummed ten are promoted; for every academic study side-lined, ten more are published; for every Palestinian child denied education, tens are reached; for every Palestinian wounded or maimed, doctors are trained and interventions are funded; and for every Palestinian killed, tens are born.
This is not a dead cause, this is a morally inspiring cause; it has now the upper ground and it is growing in stature and legitimacy among people everywhere.
And this is a war that the violence-savvy and militaristically superior Israel cannot win, because Israel today stands morally and legally corrupt, and its history, which now lays open for all to see, has been written in blood.
The Israel of old, that had successfully been able to buy the subjectivity of international newspapers, televisions and Hollywood movies, will not be able to spin concocted narratives in this new world of citizen media. It will not be able to silence the real voices of ordinary people that are now documenting and publishing the factual and authentic storyline of a Palestine bleeding under a brutal occupation.
Israel today only has one face to show the world and that face is truly ugly. In the decades of its illegal occupation of Palestine, the Jewish people lost the face of the downtrodden people who were discriminated against by a brutally racist Nazi regime, leading to the creation of Israel and aided by global human sympathy, including from the Palestinians themselves.
Over the decades of occupation, we witnessed the metamorphosis of the image of the Jewish people turning into the horrible face of a violently racist Israeli occupier. This face does not have a humane story to tell which can counter the Palestinian reality of living under Israeli terror.
Today we are looking starkly at the racist faces and actions of the Jewish settlers and Israeli military maliciously heckling Palestinian citizens, beating them up, arresting weeping children, bombing and purposely killing demonstrators, demolishing houses, burning babies and building walls and checkpoints of separation and oppression.
That is the Israeli story and this is the face of the Jewish people today. That story can no longer be buried behind the historicity of the holocaust, especially as Israeli this week officially declared itself a racist and purely Jewish state that aims to continue as an undemocratic occupier.
The museums, movies and books that documented the holocaust against the Jewish people in Europe can only be matched today with the museums created, movies made and books written to document the Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people. The human suffering that was the remit of only the Jewish people is now being replaced, slowly yet surely, in the minds and hearts of people globally with the suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of the new homeland of the Jewish people.
The Palestinian people will not go away. Political realities are being changed by the people of the world everywhere, Palestinians will be steadfast, the soul of the Arab and Muslim world will continue to be with them, and as the Arabs say: the world is ever-changing. Palestine continues to inspire and the world will change to its side.