First Taste of the Second Term
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam on the direction of Mr Obama’s Palestine policy in his second innings.
In the fresh round of violence and counter violence in Gaza, the first blood was drawn by Israel, not Hamas. However, as usual, the rationale for savage bombing of Gaza by Israel being put forward is that this is in “self defence” against Hamas rockets. The same line is being parroted faithfully by the President of the United States. Already Israel is preparing to follow up the extensive and intensive bombing with a ground invasion with the stated objective of sending the Palestinians “back into the middle ages”.
President Barack Obama has famously observed that Israel has the right to self defence. This shows how fair and just his foreign policy is going to be in his second term. Had he tried to look impartially at the sequence of events he would have known quickly that the hostilities were started by Israel, not Hamas.
This is also time for an enthusiastic group of Muslims in India to reconsider their ill-founded opinion that with Islamist leaders in power in Istanbul and Cairo the ground realities in the Middle East have changed, and the Palestinians are safer as a consequence. The fact is that despite their supposed strength the governments of Turkey and Egypt are not able to have their request for a truce considered, much less resist the aggression.
The fact remains that today the Palestinians have been denied even the right to resist the occupation and expropriation of their lands by Israel on a continuous basis. West Bank, which under the PLO chose to cooperate with the occupiers instead of resisting them has already shrunken to less than half of what it was, the land being usurped by Israel illegally. America and European Union cannot see it.
Gaza did not trust Israel and chose to remain independent of Israeli control and oversight. Now the US-Israeli programme is to occupy it or destroy it completely as the world looks the other way. And what about the Arab or Muslim world? The less said the better.
This is a moment of serious thinking. The first thing we have to do is get rid of romantic ideas, big slogans and self-deluding ideas. We must remember that nobody helps someone who does not help himself.
The creation of Israel and the consistent campaign of occupation and annexation of Palestinian lands endlessly is modelled from the first day on the European settlers’ annexation of Australia and America and the final extermination of the original inhabitants. This is what the founding Zionist leaders of Israel had in mind, and this is what their greatest supporter, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Britain, had in his mind.
The future is going to be very difficult for Palestinians and other Arabs as well as the Muslim world. This clarity of mind is important for charting out our future course. Clarity, not romanticism and fantasy, is the need of the hour. g