By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.
What was striking in the first week of the latest Gaza war is the scene of some regional and international powers dealing coldly with this brutal Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip (GS), which made it look as if they were waiting for “the fall of the bull” (the resistance) to finish it off and take turns stabbing it with their knives.
They were disappointed… it was not a bull in a Spanish bullfighting festival… Those who were hoping to enjoy the falling spectacle were disappointed, when they saw a rising “giant.”
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Since the establishment of the Zionist state, the Palestinian resistance did not live in a regional environment worse than that in which it lived during the Israeli aggression on GS in the summer of 2014. Arrangements were going on in full swing to close the Palestinian resistance file and to prepare for it “appropriate” funeral ceremonies!!
There was a conviction among the “big players” that, in order to close the Arab revolutions’ (Spring) file, and let the corrupt and tyrannical regimes return and reposition themselves in a way that allows them to persist, along with consecrating a state of weakness and of sectarian and ethnic strife, thus providing an ideal strategic environment for Israel, it is necessary to:
• Strike the major movements that constitute a vehicle for change, especially the Islamic ones.
• Files that are elements of blowup in the region must be closed, specifically the Palestinian file and its ember, represented in resistance activities.
In early summer, there was a justifiable reason for “polishing knives and swords” … an unprecedented state of siege from the Egyptian regime had shut down the “artificial lung” through which breathing was secured (the tunnels) … a continuation of the Israeli blockade … Aid from Iran and the “Refusal Front” forces had stopped coming since about a year and a half ago, distress and discomfort with the moderation and opposition parties of the Sunni “political Islam” movements, of which Hamas represents its Palestinian center.
Then came “al-Shati’ Arrangements” and the activation of reconciliation arrangements to put an end to the Hamas government in GS by handing over the administration to the national consensus government. It was interpreted by many, including the Fatah leadership in Ramallah, that Hamas came to the reconciliation unwilling, rather it came “stripped,” as a prominent Fatah leader said in one of his meetings.
During the first days of the war, some Arab parties expected Hamas to sustain hard slaps and strikes and come out of them with a lowered head and powerless. Their media coverage was cold and repugnant, finding the fall of the “bull” slow in coming. As for Egypt, most of the influential media not only distanced itself from the usual patriotic, nationalistic, Arab and Islamic role of Egypt, rather media choirs joined in, distorting the resistance as well as the struggle of the Palestinian people, at the same time justifying the Israeli aggression.
Thus, the TV journalist Amani Khayat described the Israeli aggression as a farce directed by Hamas; Tawfiq ‘Ukasha justified the Israeli attack and called on the people of GS to revolt against Hamas; Hayat al-Dardiri demanded that Egyptian authorities help Israel eliminate Hamas; another broadcaster, Muhammad al-Ghaiti, was so audacious that he displayed fabricated pictures of Isma‘il Haniyyah, the Hamas leader in GS, in his program on al-Tahrir satellite station, accusing him of having sexual relations with “women of the Mossad”; and also the Rose al-Yusuf magazine fabricated other lies.
Israel, which was pleased with Arab regimes’ performance, especially that of Egypt, did not hide its delight with the resulting relationship with the countries of the region, and saw it as an important asset for Israel, as Netanyahu had said. The Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, was more open when she talked about a consensus with Egypt on choking Hamas.
In an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, on 13/8/2014, Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Labor Party and leader of the Israeli opposition, talked about a regional coalition that includes Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. He stressed that Israel is a part of it and that this coalition signifies a shared regional vision.
On 7/10/2014, the Jerusalem Post newspaper wrote that Egypt and Israel go hand in hand against Hamas; while the Maariv newspaper website described the Egyptian-Israeli relations as having reached the stage of “courageous alliance.”
On 10/8/2014, DEBKAfile, an Israeli military intelligence website, spoke about a letter sent by the Egyptian regime to the effect that Egypt had not been able to persuade Hamas to give any concessions because the Israeli army did not strike Hamas with enough force.
Ehud Ya‘ari, a renowned veteran Israeli journalist, summarized the scene by saying that the Egyptian President al-Sisi wants to see the Hamas movement bleeding and wants the bleeding to continue. That is why he advocates persistence in its humiliation through the operation carried out by the Israeli army.
Throughout the war, the idea of disarming Hamas and the resistance was circulated. According to Communications and Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan, this idea is supported by the United States, Egypt and other countries.
Disarming the resistance practically meant closing the Palestinian resistance file. If this idea appealed to the Israelis and the Americans, al-Sisi regime considered it a blow to political Islam and to the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brothers movement. Also some of the parties affiliated with the PA found in it an opportunity to marginalize the resistance movement, dominate the Palestinian arena, and impose their peace process agenda.
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The performance of the resistance in GS surprised everyone and upset its enemy’s calculations. The resistance stood its ground and gave an exceptional performance, while the range of the resistance missiles covered Israel.
The masses in Arab and Muslim Countries and in many parts of the world rallied around the resistance that regained its “glory,” as it presented, for them, a distinguished example of “political Islam.” In the eyes of the Arab masses, it raised the argument in proving its worth to countries and peoples and exposed the effeteness of regimes.
In the point of view of the supporters of resistance, it was not required to do more than it did, being a movement with limited resources, defending the nation’s honor and dignity, in the face of one of the strongest armies in the world. What was required is steadfastness and thwarting the enemy’s plans, and this is what took place.
We were no longer in front of a reeling “bull,” but in front of an ascending “giant,” not a genie giant, but a giant in its positive sense, linked to strength, pride and vigor.
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Nowadays, the regional arena goes through a state of jostle and “clash of wills,” and everyone has dealt with what happened in GS as being a mere “round” of many rounds.
What is new in this round is that it shocked the fierce counterwave that targeted “political Islam” and the resistance movements; and it revealed the enormous magnitude of the misinformation and black media that hit the region over the last year. This round returned to the moderate Sunni Islamic movement its normal image, and confirmed its broad support among the masses that rally around it.
It brought people out of that abhorrent dualism in which some forces wanted to put them, a choice between two alternatives: either tyrannical and corrupt regimes or a distorted form of Islam that finds it easy to accuse others of unbelief and to indulge in bloodletting.
Israel and the regional powers that worried about the performance of the resistance, which exposed some of their defects will continue, in the coming days, to strive to void the achievements of the resistance. Moreover, the media campaigns against the resistance will resume. Emphasis will be placed on the destruction and losses that occurred in GS, while deliberately laying aside talk about the resistance, its heroism and steadfastness in facing brutal Israeli occupation, siege and aggression.
Emphasis will be placed on the losses and damages that the resistance “brought upon” the Palestinian people, and the “disasters” that its adventures brought them, but there will be no mention of the Israeli attacks and crimes, nor that he is the cause of the tragedy that had befell the Palestinian people.
There will be focus on blaming the victim, and on the one who tried to defend his land and honor, while the Israeli side, along with other parties, will try to delay reconstruction and dealing with the destruction until the people’s wounds “fester,” forcing people to cast the resistance aside, and facilitating for themselves pouncing on it. They will try to put the genie back in “the bottle” and they will prepare their knives once more.
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The resistance’ task of defending itself and its gains will not be easy. The onslaught will be fierce and could be carried out with tougher tools and standards. Therefore, the resistance faces a long and hard timetable during which it should preserve its strength and cohesion, increase its attachment to the masses and their concerns, and keep its compass pointed in the direction of liberating the land from the Israeli occupation.
It is required that all Palestinian factions and movements sign a charter that makes the resistance weapons a red line, refuses to disarm it or apply the dictates of the occupation in the West Bank on the situation in GS.
It is also required that the GS should not be singled out. This Strip that remained firm and excelled in three major wars, must not be singled out in any time to come. The rest of Palestine must regain its vitality, and the same goes for its people abroad, and with them the freedom supporters of the world.
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It is true that the regional environment remains not favorable for the resistance, and it is true that the stakes are high; but we should point out that this environment is raging with movement and change. Some parties may have won some rounds, but the outcomes have not settled on anyone. In addition, in most of its modern and contemporary history, the resistance has not functioned in favorable regional environments. Furthermore, the Palestinian issue is first and foremost an issue of right and justice, that will be settled, sooner or later, in favor of the colonial and oppressed Palestinian people.