The news media reported that the ceasefire in Gaza that started earlier today is holding. Israelis and Palestinians, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, accepted a 72-hour unconditional ceasefire starting today at 8:00am (local time) with invitations to all parties to go to Egypt to negotiate the terms and conditions of a longer term ceasefire and possibly more. All parties sent delegations to Cairo to engage in “indirect” negotiations through Egyptian mediators.
Where did the agreement happen? In Egypt; where else!
Who proposed the initiative? Egypt; who else!
Why did Egypt propose her initiative? To stop Palestinian bloodletting and suffering and to end the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza; what else!
The Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, that rejected the Egyptian initiative on July 14, 2014 have accepted it on August 4, 2014. What happened between those two dates? Palestinian brave fighters resisted the Israeli military advances and were able, with their heroic sacrifices, to kill more than sixty invading Israeli soldiers. Those brave Palestinian resistance fighters gave the world a bright example of the spirit of the Palestinian people. No one would dare say a word other than praise and respect for those heroes who carried the burden of resisting the overwhelming attacks by the fourth most powerful military on the planet, and were able to inflict relatively great losses on the invading Israeli military, especially when one takes into consideration the huge gap between the occupier and the occupied; in terms of military hardware and war-launching capabilities. To those who gave everything they have, including their lives, in defence of their people against all odds, I stand in silence with the utmost of respect and adoration.
What about the other side of the equation? What about the Palestinian losses during those twenty-one days between July 14; when Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others rejected the Egyptian initiative, and August 4; when they accepted it. More than additional 1,200 Palestinian deaths, more than additional 7,000 Palestinian injuries, tens of thousands of additional Palestinian homes destroyed, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians displaced and became homeless, the only electric power generating plant bombarded beyond repair, the entire infrastructure in Gaza destroyed, and international political cover – and support – provided to the savages in the state of Israel to justify, increase, and multiply their criminal assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza. All these additional losses could have been avoided had Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others accepted the Egyptian initiative twenty-one days earlier than they did. Certain Palestinian political parties, principally Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are responsible and must be held accountable to the Palestinian people for their stupidity, lack of political awareness, and misguided leadership.
I do not need anyone to remind me of the criminal and barbaric atrocities committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people. That is another subject on which my stand is clear. No patronization would be useful in that regard, for the record is clear on where I stand regarding the Zionist crimes against the Palestinian people since before the establishment of the state of Israel on the ruins of Palestinian society in 1948. The first responsibility for the Palestinian plight is clearly on the shoulder of the state of Israel and its military forces. Israeli war crimes and barbaric atrocities committed, and continues to be committed, against the Palestinian people are in no way to be forgotten or ignored. The subject matter of this article, however, relates to reviewing responsibilities within the Palestinian leadership structure and to locating those who made the wrong decisions that resulted in Palestinian losses that could have been avoided had they made different choices.
After the Palestinian people recover from this catastrophe and in order for them to put their feet on the right track towards a future with better chances of regaining the legitimate Palestinian rights, they must hold those who were responsible for this disaster accountable for their lack of wisdom, their lack of leadership, their erroneous political calculations, and their misguided choice of advancing the cause of the Ikhwaan (Muslim Brotherhood) at the cost of Palestinian blood. There was no justification whatsoever for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others to reject the Egyptian initiative on July 14 that they subsequently accepted on August 4; after bloody and deadly twenty-one days from hell. The leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad must be held to account for their miscalculation and for causing the Palestinian people to go through these massive losses of life, blood, and property. In this regard, the Palestinian people will make them pay the political price in the next general legislative and presidential elections. No patronization (مزايدات) will save them, and no usage of Islam for the purpose of political objectives will fool the Palestinian people; they are politically bankrupt and they have been uncovered.
As to Egypt and her relentless efforts to support the Palestinian people and her continuing attempts to stop Palestinian bloodletting and to bring an end to the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza, I can only salute the courageous persistence of the Egyptian administration in continuing to work with all parties involved in order to make them understand the value of her initiative. Egypt never wavered from her position of support to the Palestinian people while Hamas and Islamic Jihad were busy coordinating their moves with the Ikhwaan, launching attacks on Egypt, propagating allegations of conspiracies implicating Egypt, and blatantly interfering in Egyptian internal political affairs. All along, Cairo kept her cool; was, just as we have always known her to be, the caring sister that neglected small time attacks from little people; continued her full coordination with the legitimate Palestinian leadership – the unified Palestinian government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) – and patiently kept her focus centered on the main objective of stopping Palestinian bloodletting and ending the Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Cairo has always been, and will always be, the Centre of Mass (مركز الثقل) of the Arab Nation. The Ikhwaan’s opinion notwithstanding, Egypt is where the world always goes to seriously deal with matters having to do with Arab issues, including the Arab-Israeli conflict. Little bubbles – without having to name names – might pop up every now and then for short periods of time, while Egypt remains the solid mountain for the Arabs. That is where Arabs go in times of difficulty and that is where they go when they lose their sense of direction; for in the Cairo of Al-Muizz (قاهرة المعز) resides the compass of the Arab Nation. May God bless and protect Egypt and her military establishment; the only remaining factor of stability in the Arab World.
Hope is the stuff from which life is made!