There has always been a “road to Palestine” that neither passes through Palestine nor ends at it. The concept of this road has always been brought up in many countries to achieve several aims mainly to divert attention from real problems, or conceal certain relations and connections, or deceive the people of the region, particularly the Palestinian people, to gain a cheap popularity that is not linked to Palestine and its people.
Perhaps, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar was the one who founded this method. He was the one whom the road to Palestine led him to…Yemen where he got involved throughout the 1960’s in an expansive, long civil struggle. What is pathetic is that walking to Palestine through Yemen did not stop until 1967 when Israel, which Abdel Nassar wanted to get to, almost got to Cairo. But the Egyptian leader, before reaching Yemen, made a stop at Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon at the end of 1950’s and got himself involved in supporting certain parties and opposing others. This led to bruising these Arab communities and weakening their national fabric which has already been weak.
Likewise, the two Baath rulers in Syria and Iraq promised us of a road that leads to Palestine. The ruler of Syria preferred to jump over Golan to settle in Lebanon where he effectively contributed to increasing the reasons of domestic struggle among the Lebanese and where he besieged the Palestinian resistance and then expelled it. The Iraqi ruler’s bypass toward Palestine was a lot longer. The road led him East towards Iran where a very expansive and long war erupted. After that, the road led him South towards Kuwait where his expulsion from it led to bringing the world’s armies and fleets to the region.
Likewise, the Iranian revolution and its regime decided to take us to Palestine. It is for this purpose that they came up with “Quds Day.” And so, they accompanied us to battles and confrontations that began with finding it pleasant to remain in dispute with Iraq and that does not end at what has become known as the “nuclear program.”
Even the only frank attempt, which is that of the Palestinian resistance, to plow this road ahead, was buried by the sands of civil and debatable formations of our societies. Next thing we know this road heads towards Amman then towards Jounieh which a famous Palestinian leader made a legitimate stop on that road. This is whilst some flew in outer space under the illusion that hijacking a plane here and another there is what leads to Palestine.
There are also sillier and more dishonest attempts that there are no need to mention like those seasonally sponsored by Muammar Qaddafi. Hezbollah plows ahead another road to Palestine. When it is shown that Shebaa Farms are not reason enough to keep illegitimate arms, Palestine which is neighboring of South Lebanon is brought up. But the geographical proximity here was not as beneficial as it was for the Syrian Golan and Palestine. Based on this, we rediscover that the real road to Palestine actually passes through the Syrian city of Homs and the Syrian town of Qusayr. Over there, “Hezbollah” fighters getting killed or wounded had no intentions other than praying at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Hasn’t the time come for these twisted roads to stop twisting as long as repetition teaches…humans?
This article was first published in al-Hayat on Feb. 19, 2013
Lebanese journalist Hazem Saghieh is a senior columnist and editor at al-Hayat daily. He grew up in Lebanon during the golden age of pan-Arabism. Saghieh’s vision of a united Arab world was shattered when the Israelis emerged victorious from the 1967 war.