Will the Palestinian Nakba Turn Into a Political Nakba to Israel?

Prof. As’ad Abdul Rahman

Current prominent and fast moving developments maybe will signal a kind of re-formulation of the present situation in the Middle East. First, there were the Palestinian protests “Marches of Return” from Gaza Strip and the adamant Israeli massacres of participants by troops in 11 army battalions deployed along the border with the besieged Strip. The protests launched, among other goals, aimed to condemn the Israeli ten-year blockade of Gaza. Second, the United States inaugurated its embassy (indeed its “colony”) in occupied Jerusalem to meet the “promise” made by President Donald Trump despite the international condemnation and deep concern over the violation of international legitimacy and the stability of the regional situation. Third, the ongoing storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque has antagonized the Palestinians more than any other measure since the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967; especially when the Israeli flag was raised by the Jewish colonizers/settlers in the framework of the celebration of the so-called Israeli “Day of Unification of Jerusalem”!!! A Fourth prominent development came with the broad tension between Iran, US and Israel particularly in the Syrian arena, which keeps the possibility of escalation in the region as a whole at a very high temperature.

In response to the massacres in the Gaza Strip, the occupying Israeli state claimed that it was defending itself in the context of its usual claim of “existential threat to the state”. But on the ground there appears confusion, if not fear, of everything that happened and will happen. The dilemma for Israel is that losing control of Gaza strip means the ‘snow ball’ will be rolling and might grow bigger in the West Bank and the1948 Palestine. With the current state of partial attrition of the Israeli army and deployment of regular troops along the tensed northern Syrian/ Lebanese front, the ‘ball, is indeed rolling and getting bigger across historic Palestine and the region as well.

Neither the inauguration ceremony of the US Embassy, nor the speeches delivered drew the hoped attention of the world which was preoccupied with the massacres in the Gaza Strip that called for a global reaction to the army’s thoughtless killing of the defenceless protesters.  Israel sought to make a successful ceremony of the transfer of the US Embassy to encourage other countries to follow suit. But world countries soon condemned the “unwarranted Israeli violence” as Israeli snipers continued to target peaceful protesters, journalists and medical teams as well as other crowds of Gazans who converged on the border area. It was only the United States who moved to blame Hamas movement and the innocent Palestinian protesters for the massacres. Moreover, the US blocked a Security Council draft statement voicing outrage at the situation and sorrow at the loss of many Palestinians lives at the hands of Israeli troops. The draft called for an independent and transparent investigation into such crimes, indicating the illegality of moving any foreign embassy to Jerusalem and calling on all countries including the United States to comply with relevant Council resolutions.

The crime seems to be deliberate and planned. The Israeli occupation army has warned that it is willing to commit a massacre to stop the marches and crush the will of Gazans and their reservoir of resistance. Israel cannot afford the continuation of marches and keep its army on permanent alert, yet it will not dare now to move the battle from the border to the heart of Gaza in an open war especially that, during the weeks of the marches, the Palestinian resistance refrained from any firing at Israel and no Israeli soldier or citizen was hurt or sustained even a small scratch. In this context, Israel entered in a direct conflict with Iran in Syria, and neither seems ready to back off. The tensions erupted as the right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was trying to involve the United States more in the Syrian quagmire, while tension persists with the presence of Hizbollah party in Lebanon with its vast arsenal of weapons.

The importance of the “Marches of Return” and the achievements made and more to come at all levels are quite significant. Most importantly, they restored the Palestinian issue on the agenda of the international community, stressing the unity of the people, their cohesion and willingness to sacrifice. They drew the world attention to the insistence of the Palestinian people to hold on to their full legitimate rights, albeit at a high price; especially the issues of Jerusalem and refugees’ right of return which will not be removed from the Palestinian collective memory by any political decision.

It is true that the Palestinian Nakba persists, but the Zionist state has not won, and the Palestinians have not been defeated, and their blood that has been shed is expected to be translated into achievements, the most urgent of which now is to bring an end to the siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip. Indeed, the continuing “Marches of Return” emphasize that the issue of Palestine is relatively in good shape, moving on by the power of the people, and its cause has not and will not die. Such is the case, so will the 70th anniversary of Palestinian Nakba turn into a ‘political Nakba to Israel’?