Palestine, the occupation and the resistance for beginners

The question remains about various Arab intellectuals who are upholding the anti-resistance trend

Jamal Khashoggi

Published: Updated:

In March 1955, an Israeli army unit attacked an Egyptian soldiers’ camp in the Gaza Strip, which was under the Egyptian guardianship after the 1948 war. The Israeli forces killed 36 Egyptian military personnel. One of the perpetrators of that attack was the infamous late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. A secret official Israeli report, that was reportedly revealed a few years ago, stated that these operations aimed to deliver a message to the Egyptian leadership, headed by Gamal Abdel Nasser, stating that any new commando operation will have bloody repercussions on the leadership.

These operations confused historians because they took place amid peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett. Nevertheless, Nasser later imposed an iron grip over Gaza.

Recall this historical scene and apply it to Gaza today.

History later revealed that the first Israeli prime minister, David Ben-Gurion set a military guideline for his country when dealing with Israel’s Arab neighbors rejection. It was based on the idea of escalating deterrence and my understanding is that it showed little tolerance towards any resistance, and predicated that Israel would react to it in an escalating manner so that all its surrounding countries would understand that they will have to accept Israel or reject it without any form of resistance. It seems there is just one outcome; Israel does not want Arabs to love it. It also does not need to convince them that it has the right to live amongst them it seems. It came into being by force and will live and die by force, I believe. Therefore, in order to survive, it must always be pulling the trigger it seems. A review ovf Israel’s history will reveal that the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is just abiding by his predecessors’ guidelines. According to the escalating deterrence policy, it seems Israel will offend all Palestinian resistors in Gaza until they surrender.

Stubborn desire to stay the same

The problem is that Israel doesn't want to change, but at the same time, it wants Arabs to change. The “occupation” can also lead Arabs to accept and surrender to a bitterer status-quo. The Israeli occupation is supported by the U.S. as it perceivably deals with the “occupation” with racism and arrogance. The negotiations that were led months ago by the American Secretary of State Kerry have failed because of the Israeli stance regarding the “occupation” as it wanted to legalize it. If this was rejected by the Authority in Ramallah, which surrendered to the fait accompli, gains, wealth and privileges, how could Hamas accept it? It seems that as much as “peace” has become impossible, “surrendering” has also become impossible.

This approach is important for intellectual Arabs and writers who rushed to attack the idea of resistance amid the current war on Gaza. We are in need of analyzing this strange phenomenon. Regrettably, the number of such intellectuals here in Saudi Arabia is higher than average. If such a trend continues it will destroy the kingdom's honorable claim to support and defend the Palestinian cause since the time of its founder, King Abd Al-Aziz al-Saud. We are only rivaled by Egyptian media and writers, but we cannot hold them accountable as they are going through a turbulent phase.

The problem is that Israel doesn't want to change, but at the same time, it wants Arabs to change

Jamal Khashoggi

Writers have ruthlessly blamed the Palestinian resistance stating that “Palestine does not realize the disparity in power between the resistance and the Israelis”, or that “it wants to alleviate the pressures on Iran” or even worse, that “all that is happening is just a public relations campaign to restore sympathy with political Islam.”

Columnist Dr. Khaled al-Dakhil wrote last week that it is the occupation and the Israeli war that never stopped against Palestinians since 1948 and I quote him: “There is no meaning in asking: How was the current war on Gaza initiated? Was it initiated by Hamas or Israel? When did the Israeli war on all Palestinians, including Gaza stop anyway? The war is not always triggered by firing missiles, rockets and bombs, as it might also be carried through assassinations, destruction of homes, land theft, settlements, arrests, forced displacement, and humiliation at all scattered checkpoints on all the Palestinian territories. It can also be waged through the demonization of the victim as a terrorist who refuses to recognize the right to a Jewish state. This is why in my opinion, the Israeli war did not stop against the Palestinians since 1948; This war take the form of a low-profile conflict at times, and at other times, it becomes a full-sized military war. Israel always decides when and how to move from a case to the other.”

On that morning of 1955, there was neither Iran nor political Islam in the mix, but a young Egyptian leader who wanted to negotiate with the Israelis and put pressures on them using the resistance as a weapon. He was subjected to some of the risks that Hamas is enduring today so I believe he surrendered and left Gaza and Palestine to its fate. As for Hamas and the rest of Gaza, they are trapped in a big prison. They cannot leave their homes even if they wanted to, because it is their homeland and their prison, and this is implicitly accepted by us.

The question remains about various Arab intellectuals who are upholding the anti-resistance trend. I cannot explain it except by guessing that they are really trying to say: “You are embarrassing us with the resistance issue. We surrendered, so why don’t you do the same?”

This article was first published in al-Hayat on July 19, 2014.

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist, columnist, author, and general manager of the upcoming Al Arab News Channel. He previously served as a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal while he was Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. Khashoggi has written for various daily and weekly Arab newspapers, including Asharq al-Awsat, al-Majalla and al-Hayat, and was editor-in-chief of the Saudi-based al-Watan. He was a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan, Algeria, Kuwait, Sudan, and other Middle Eastern countries. He is also a political commentator for Saudi-based and international news channels

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.