The state of Israel came into being in 1948 and succeeded in snatching away Baitul Muqaddas from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and a large area of Senai from Egypt.
Jamal Abdul Nasir, the then Egyptian president, resigned because of the defeat but millions of people marched in Cairo and compelled him to withdraw his resignation. This was the first Arab-Israel war that reflected the concept of a strong and undefeatable Israel. The main tragedy of this war was the fall of Baitul Muqaddas.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the British government very strategically led to the creation of an independent state for Jews in the land of Palestine. Here the laxity of the Arabs must also be mentioned. They were not able to foresee the actual intentions behind the demands of an independent state for Jews in Palestine. The Israeli aggression against three Arab states at the same time woke the Arabs up to recognise the truth.
After the occupation of Jerusalem, a second war was waged between Israel and Egypt with Syrian alliance. The Western media very tactfully called it a second ‘Arab-Israel War’, whereas only two Muslim countries – Egypt and Syria – were involved. The objective of the Western media was to reflect that Israel was striving hard for its existence whereas the whole of the Arab world was bent upon destroying it. After the ceasefire, Israel’s image was badly tarnished and for the first time the Saadat-Hafiz Al-Assed alliance conveyed the message that firm determination can bring better results.
The role of the PLO throughout the first and second wars is very historic and commendable. Its chairman, the late Yasser Arafat, conveyed to the world that the root cause of the Middle East issue is the immoral, unethical and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel. Arafat’s charismatic personality gave momentum to the Palestinian cause and he proved to be the only legitimate voice of the Palestinians.
Frequent OIC conferences were held to pave the way for the achievement of Palestinian’s genuine rights, and after the second Israel versus Egypt and Syria war, Israel too felt itself on a weak wicket not only because of the Egypt-Syria alliance but also because of the global community.
The UN and other world forums pressed the Palestinian issue and historic Camp David talks held between Egypt and the US emphasised the importance of peace in the Middle East and resolution of the Palestine issue.
There were so many rounds of Oslo talks that concluded on a two-state formula but Israel always avoided the implementation of the basic mechanism required to ensure the philosophy and theme of Oslo Talks. On the other hand, Israel used the lamest of excuses to bomb unarmed Palestinians; the massacre of innocent Palestinian children in the camps of Sabira and Shateela is a terrible spot on Zionists’ face.
To date Israel is persistently following its fascist policies. If we very honestly analyse the Arab world’s approach to this issue, it conveys a vague message. Turkey being a non-Arab country is badly involved in the Syrian war whereas Saudi involvement in Yemen against Houthi rebellions has weakened the image of an Ummah. Saudi-Iran conflicts on different issues have created a chaos in the Muslim community and the dream of a united Muslim community still seems far from reality.
Leaders like King Faysal, Anwer Sadaat, Col Qaddafi, Hafizul Assad, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Boumediene and, above all, Yasser Arafat are no longer with us. Hence the voices for Palestine are fading away. The world is morally bound to ensure a purposeful and permanent solution to the Palestinian issue. And that will be nothing less than an absolute independent state of Palestine.
The writer is former faculty member at Islamia College, Peshawar.