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Gaza onslaught reawakens Palestinian issue among Arabs

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on April 14, 2009
Arab News

The recent Israeli onslaught on the people of Gaza shocked the world with images of dead civilians, including the elderly and children.

Recently Arab News hosted a roundtable discussion on the topic consisting of five young Jeddawis: Photographer Saleem Al-Homsi; Sarah Al-Abdali, a graphics design student at Dar Al-Hekma College; Hidayah M. Abbas, a Dar Al-Hekma student of interior design; and Maram Al-Attas, information communication technologies major.

“I think this was an eye-opener for many people,” said Al-Abdali. “Many people seemed to have lost a sense of responsibility toward the Palestinian cause, and many have felt like ignoring what is happening in Gaza altogether, so an eye-opening situation was needed to get people’s attention.”

Al-Homsi elaborated more on Al-Abdali’s point: “I think for a long time now we are seeing this situation in Gaza … and with every new generation it seems people are forgetting about the situation and it’s very unfortunate. Many people feel that raising awareness about the suffering of Palestinians has to be sustained so that least everyone in the Muslim world knows about it.”

And why have people lost interest?

“I think it’s because of the generational gap between each generation here,” said Al-Homsi. “Every generation now, it seems, knows less and less about the conflict to the point that it has become irrelevant to people.”

Al-Attas said that more should be done to educate people on the situation of the Palestinians.

“With every generation there are new ideas coming in and old ones going out,” she said. “We haven’t been informed about all of the aspects of the situation, all we get is what we see on television and the Internet. Because of this the news always comes as a shock to me personally, I feel that there should be more awareness of Gaza at mosques, schools and homes. It always takes something major like this to occur to make people think about Palestine and the Palestinians. This crisis like the ones before it should assert our commitment and should increase our responsibility toward them.”

Any idea of peace plans or initiative was viewed with skepticism and questioning.

“Before mentioning the Arab peace initiative it is important to ask what does peace represent and if it is possible to exist?” said Al-Abdali. “Under which law would peace be concentrated in a state that makes less than a quarter of its original native people? The idea of creating two states is racist and unjust — and unrealistic taking in mind the Israelis’ refusal to leave their settlements within the Palestinian state; and with the government’s continuous support and contribution toward building settlements; and with children being raised on the Israeli dream of creating a homeland for the Jews from the Nile to the Euphrates. The word ‘peace’ vanishes from the lexicon. A whole generation of Israelis has been raised on capturing lands that doesn’t belong to them by any right. And the conscience of the world is nothing but silent.”

The conversation shifted to how they perceived the Arab leadership during the crisis.

“Peace initiatives of the past have been nothing but failures,” said Al-Abdali. “Negotiating lands that we don’t own will give us nothing. It is important to not neglect the historic lands of Palestine and not accept the normalization of relations with Israel under any condition. Israel will not accept abandoning the lands of 1967 nor let Jerusalem be the capital of Palestine.”

Al-Attas added: “Since the Intifada, and over the past two years, if you add the numbers of martyred people it is triple (the death toll) what just happened in Gaza. Some people might say: ‘There has got to be more numbers of people bombed so others can pay attention to this.’”

“The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza,” said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on television. “The president of Israel at this moment should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the president of the United States.”

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a heated debate with Israeli President Shimon Peres, making his dissatisfaction with the situation in Gaza apparent.

“The Palestinian’s case is not Palestinians’ alone. It concerns Muslims and Arabs,” said Al-Abdali. “Perhaps the Turkish prime minister made it clear as one of the few leaders who demanded an end to the genocide, describing it as a black spot in the history of humanity. The minister’s attitude toward Shimon Peres in Davos was a brave gesture against Israel. Unlike that of Arab leaders, the Turkish opinion echoed around the world.”

As they saw it, non-Muslim governments were more humane than the Islamic nations. Venezuela and Bolivia ended their relations with Israel protesting Israel’s inhumanity. While in the US, during President Bush’s farewell to the White House, the same supportive behavior to its spoiled child Israel was adopted, while criticizing Hamas. This was the response, from a country that fought for years to spread democracy, to a democratic act: The election of Hamas.

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