That exodus could pave the way for the outbreak of another Arab Spring once the people in Arab countries realize the tragic consequence of their leaders abandoning the cause of Palestine. It is this desertion that forced non-state actors like Hamas to take up the struggle for Palestine in the first place. That Hamas itself was the creation of Mossad to stop Mahmoud Abbas of Palestinian Authority from proceeding to create a Palestinian state is a fact conveniently forgotten in the current inferno. However, while the Arab states are honeymooning with US and its Western partners and are eager to normalize relations with Israel, stateless Palestinians have been left with no alternative but to confront their occupier direct. It was this desperation that provoked Hamas to fire those rockets, killing several hundreds of Israelis – another human tragedy that should not be sanitized, condoned or celebrated even if one were a Palestinian supporter. At the UN Security Council US wants all members to condemn Hamas without condemning Israeli oppression in Gaza that turned it into a killing field. This was why the UN Secretary General out of sheer exasperation was forced to speak that, “It is important also to recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestine people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation”. Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair turned a Palestinian activist, visited Gaza and described it not as a prison but worse a concentration camp. Isn’t it a historical irony that Jews are bombing a concentration camp?
There are 19 Arab states with 20% of world’s Muslim population. If one adds to this number the other 29 Muslim majority countries, they together command 48 solid votes in the UN General Assembly of 191 members. Though a minority still, as en bloc their numerical strength could be utilized strategically to make a strong case on behalf of peace, freedom and justice for all communities that are subjected to oppression by the mighty and powerful. Palestine and Palestinians deserve support not in words but in kind from their Arab brethren, which is unfortunately not forthcoming. Isn’t Palestine with its Al-Aqsa Mosque the third holiest place for all Muslims? Why then is this meekness? The primary reason is the disunity among these countries. They are divided religiously, ethnically, politically and even tribally, and that division is skillfully utilized by the big powers to achieve their own ends. For example, had all Muslim country representatives quietly walked out of the General Assembly en bloc in 2002 when George Bush appealed for support for his invasion of Iraq, wouldn’t he have at least delayed his macabre onslaught? The fact of the matter is leaders of a vast majority of these countries do not have popular mandate to rule and they survive partly on the support of foreign powers and partly on the backing of their own gendarmerie. Because of undemocratic governance, there is an oceanic gap between what their subjects think and want and what their rulers believe and provide. Such a gap could easily be noticed in respect of Palestine and Israel.
The unfathomable human horror and physical devastation the world has been witnessing in Gaza since October 7 and Netanyahu’s belief in Jewish “exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel”, could end either in turning Gaza into the largest cemetery of Arab martyrs or Nakba (Catastrophe) II. Instead of calling for an immediate cease fire and stopping the carnage, US, EU and their allies had virtually given a carte blanche to Israel to accomplish its program to cleanse Gaza ethnically under the pretext of defending Israel. The Israeli think tank is reported to have drawn up the plan for this “justified vengeance”, a doctrine formulated by Israel in 2001. After all, to them and to all Israeli leaders, Gazans are “human animals”, “monsters”, “savages”, and “drugged cockroaches in a bottle”. These dehumanizing epithets are intended to give a civilizational polish to the barbaric acts of Netanyahu’s military mission. To him therefore, Gazans should be got rid of by any means to win what he calls “the second war of independence”. What he failed to mention is the fact that the first war of independence in 1948 resulted in Nakba I. Thus, if the second war drags on Nakba II looks a strong possibility, which could provoke Arab Spring II, dreaded by Arab rulers. That explains why the Arab states are frantically trying through the UN to call for an immediate cease fire and why Qatar in particular negotiating with Hamas to get all the hostages released.
Nakba I of 1948 ended in the flight of almost three quarter of a million Arabs from their homes and villages under the watchful eyes of the British. It resulted from the horror unleashed by Israeli terror outfits like ha-Ganah and Irgun along with other armed fighters. Nakba II could possibly involve double that number and it is delayed only because Israel’s patron US wants all hostages held by Hamas be released. However, according to reports from the battle ground, Israel’s ground attack has already begun in northern Gaza and Gazans are asked to evacuate and move towards the south, indicating the first stage of Nakba II. The number of deaths under the avalanche of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing, according to Palestinian Authority and not Hamas, has exceeded 7,000 of which 3,000 are children. But the US President is not prepared to believe these figures as he believes readily anything that comes from Israeli sources. (Among those killed are journalists numbering around twenty-five so far). Israel does not want the world to hear anything other than what it tells. With Biden’s blessings and approval therefore, Israel’s genocide of Gazans is proceeding as planned. There is no place for Gazans to hide. Hospitals, schools and places of worship are all bombed and reduced to smithereens. The only choice Gazans have is between death and decampment. In spite of all the bravery, determination and sacrifices of resisters Nakba II is becoming an increasing possibility.
In the Muslim world in general and Arab states in particular, while rulers want friendly relations with Israel and therefore are prepared to remain muted over Israel’s apartheid treatment of Arabs within Israel and in Occupied territories, their subjects demand boycott of Israel and at least open condemnation of US’ unconditional support for Israel’s war crimes. Since October 7 weekly Friday sermons in almost every mosque have been preaching to worshippers the religious significance of Palestine and its Al-Aqsa Mosque, and of the sufferings of Palestinians under Israeli occupation and oppression. These sermons end in heartrending supplications for divine favour. Indirectly, these sermons also convey to the listeners the ineptness of Arab rulers. There is therefore an atmosphere of disappointment, frustration and anger among worshippers over current Arab leadership that has virtually surrendered Palestine to Israel by kowtowing to American pressure. Public protests and demonstrations are becoming regular features in Muslim countries and elsewhere. That is why a second Arab Spring could not be discounted if there is no cease fire and stoppage of Israel’s carnage. As al-Nakba II gains momentum it may become the harbinger for ar-rabi’ al-Arabi or Arab Spring II.
*Dr. Ameer Ali, Murdoch Business School, Murdoch University, W. Australia
Disclaimer: Nakba II & Arab Spring II: Looming Possibilities From Gaza Inferno By Ameer Ali – - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view