• Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
  • Last Update : 09:32 am

OP-ED: Arabs have failed the Palestinians

  • Published at 07:00 am May 27th, 2021
Israel air strikes Palestine
Smoke and flames rise from a tower building as it is destroyed by Israeli air strikes amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City May 12, 2021 Reuters

Supporting Palestine should not be a partisan issue

The 11-day fierce fire-fight between the militants of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with Israel caused at least 243 people, including more than 100 women and children, to be killed in Gaza.

The Israeli military says more than 4,300 homemade Qassam rockets --   a simple, steel artillery rocket developed and deployed by the military arm of Hamas -- were fired towards its territory by Palestinian militants.

Since the rockets were pressed into conflict with Israel in 2001, the improvised rocketry technology is not capable of being fired to target military sites, and is "indiscriminate when used against targets in population centres."

Nevertheless, the improvised rockets rained down deep into central Israel and crashed into former capital Tel Aviv. Israel’s state-of-the-art air defense system “Iron Dome” however managed to intercept 90% of the rockets from Gaza.

On the 12th day, Egypt brokered a ceasefire which was also backed by US President Joe Biden. The fragile ceasefire apparently seems to have halted the skirmish for a while. No surprise that both sides have claimed victory.

In a virtual conference held several days after the airstrikes caused havoc in Gaza, the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) was outraged, when hundreds of women and children were victims of collateral damage over the conflict in Gaza.

Only Saudi Arabia condemned Israel for “flagrant violations” in Gaza, calling on the global community to act urgently to put an end to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

Surprisingly, most Arab countries except Kuwait, Iran, and Turkey did not rebuke Israel harshly for the recent conflict that started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and coupled with the eviction of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

The Muslim countries are divided in a thick and thin line of a partisan realignment of a global superpower. Despite being the “guardians of Islam” and “protector of Muslims,” Arab monarchies have demonstrated that they care only to counter Iran.

Joe Biden, however, reiterated that the Israel and Palestine crisis lies in a two-state solution, nothing more and nothing less to create a sovereign Palestine State.

The radicalized Islamist party Hamas had landslide wins in 2005 and 2006 elections in Gaza, which resulted in a crucial split of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), established as a consequence of the 1993–1995 Oslo Accords.

The Palestine Authority, dominated by the Fatah party, was founded by Yasser Arafat and is governed from Ramallah in the West Bank. The PNA is recognized internationally as the sole representative of the State of Palestine but does not recognize the Hamas authority which rules Gaza.

The trouble began when Fatah lost the elections to Hamas in Gaza. Subsequent Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and the joint Egyptian-Israeli blockade of Gaza, have exacerbated the conflict.

As part of its 2005 disengagement plan, Egypt retained control of the border, and border crossings were supervised by European monitors, while Israel retained exclusive control over Gaza's airspace and territorial waters, and continued to patrol and monitor the external land perimeter of Gaza.

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Israel remains an occupying power under international law. The United Nations has stated that under resolutions of both the General Assembly and the Security Council, it regards Gaza to be part of the "Occupied Palestinian Territories."

The international community is outraged at indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian structures that do not differentiate between civilians and military targets -- and that is tantamount to a crime against humanity under international law.

Saleem Samad is an independent journalist, media rights defender, recipient of Ashoka Fellow (USA) and Hellman-Hammett Award. Email [email protected]; Twitter @saleemsamad.

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