We shouldn't blame the ordinary Arab citizen because every time a crisis occurs, he just sits and watches as if he is watching a new movie. In fact, he is watching the same old movie over and over again, hoping that the result would be different — opposite to the past defeats. Gaza today has been hit as it had been yesterday. Should we give up hope?
The prayers of the Palestinians on the far left and right were answered, but their fortunes have not changed. Hosni Mubarak is gone and Egypt is now ruled by their brothers "the Brotherhood," still the result is the same.
Israel has promised to return to the 2005 agreement if Hamas promises to become Israel's policeman inside Gaza strip and pledges to rein all Palestinian factions and forces that launch missiles. This should give a strong indicator. In fact, it may pave the way for allowing an end to the long nightmare and misery of Gazans.
There is so much hope in the promised agreement and it can lead to cease-fire. There is a possibility that the politics and the political and military dealing in Gaza would change and Hamas would ally itself with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah without the need to return to the joint rule. The result will be two Palestinian entities with two presidencies, but one united politics and Egyptian support.
Of course, the immediate scene doesn't foretell the change we are talking about; all is still the same. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhom reiterates the same fact he said four years ago: "These raids are massacres against the Palestinian people." The same news as 2008, but with different names. US President Barack Obama called Muhammad Mursi, his Egyptian counterpart, to discuss ways to stop the attack. Ismail Haniyeh is calling for the same concessions that Sheikh Hamad of Qatar called for. Yet the Arab summit is only a miniature summit in Cairo to support Hamas. This time it has taken place with the participation of Turkey's and Egypt's prime ministers. In 2008, it was held in Doha with the participation of President Bashar Assad, Libya's Qaddafi and Sudan's Bashir.
Israel is still calling its operations with cinematic names. In 1982, it called its attack on South Lebanon "Al-Jalel Finger." It called its attack on Gaza four years ago “Cast Lead.” And now, it is calling the operations “Cloud Column” or “the punishment of God.” The operations are punishment to the Palestinians in the strip as well. The United Nations Security Council held a meeting, but without any announcement. In the previous war it had assembled as well, but ended without any resolution. The same old events, but will a different result emerge from this crisis?
Militarily, the results won't change because the balance of power is in Israel's favor. As for the balance of Arab political propaganda, it will not admit defeat, although people often find their way to the truth.
We all recall that Hezbollah claimed that it triumphed in its battle against Israel. At the time, Nasrallah concealed that he had agreed to withdraw his militias to cover approximately one-third of Lebanon, away from the Israeli borders. Indeed, all those who inhibit the area knew that the river has become a forbidden passage for Hezbollah elements, at least during that period.
The new factor in today's war is that Hamas, that did only put its trust in Syria and Iran before, although lost those important allies, has now gained more significant ones, namely, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Personally, I think the new Egypt could change the rules of the game. It could be the Hamas guarantor in the face of the Israelis in their promised agreement, whose outlines they recently announced.
It would also be easier for Hamas to accept any agreement without being accused of betraying their case as long as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt support their new understanding.
The recent and the most significant issue that many people want to know both in Washington and the Arab world is if Gaza and Cairo are ready to engage in a broader peace talk so that Gaza can become the open gateway after having been the besieged Gaza Strip.
(The writer is the General Manager of Al Arabiya. The article was published in Arab News on Nov. 21, 2012)