“Palestinians have not been excluded from the Arab awakening that was dawning on the region and Israel is not immune from its ripple effect”
DR. ASHRAF EZZAT
“The Arab world is experiencing an earthquake”
… thus commented Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minster, on the power of popular uprisings sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.
Passing that quick judgment, Netanyahu overlooked the fact that that mighty earthquake was actually taking place next door and that Israel was bound to feel the aftershocks sooner or later.
It is very true that the whole Arab spring with revolutions erupting almost all over the Arab world has nothing to do with Israel as far as motivation is concerned, but that doesn’t mean that Israel is immune from its ripple effect.
Arabs set out on these unprecedented rallies to protest decades of domestic political and economic injustices, but there are more grievances that Arabs share than just lost democracy and freedom of expression, there are more things lost from the Arabs worthy of their solidarity and collective struggle, namely the land of Palestine.
If the Arab people decided to address 60 years of unmet socio-political demands then the Palestinian issue should undoubtedly come on top of that list.
Intifada is the Arabic synonym for an uprising, and whenever intifada is mentioned the image of Palestinians’ struggle and legitimate call for an end to the Israeli occupation and the return to their homeland is instantly summoned up in our mind.
Intifadas come in times of despair, in times when deception and corruption prevail; people go out to the streets to cry out their frustrations as well as their aspirations. They long for a better tomorrow and they try to find light at the end of the tunnel.
Palestinians went on two previous popular intifadas in 1987 and 2000 that were provoked by Israel’s persistent denial to their legitimate demands and by the Zionist evasive policies that somehow manipulated all the fragile agreements reached throughout the more fragile so called peace process.
From Camp David and Madrid accords reaching to the Oslo accords and god knows how many other undeclared accords, Israel have been awarded with the biggest and most delicious chunk of the cake, and with Palestinians trying to squeeze themselves in the left behind 20 % of their homeland, going down from the 60% they had back in 1948.
After 62 years of struggle and international political deception the Palestinians have winded up living like prisoners in ghetto-like slums besieged by a ruthless blockade on Gaza and by a historically outdated wall barrier encircling the few Palestinian villages left in the west bank. This is the deplorable status que of the Palestinians; this is the sad story of a people living in exile in their homeland.
And if the Arabs in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria have made it so obvious they can’t tolerate to be oppressed nor marginalized any more what does that say of their Palestinian brethren who are being systematically driven out of their land in the most abhorrent ethnic cleansing scheme in modern times.
From Tahrir Square to Palestine
Palestinians have not been excluded from the Arab awakening that was dawning on the region; they went out in huge rallies to call for unity of the Palestinian leadership and denounce the divisions that crippled their political capability to manage the Palestinian file competently.
Last March a group of Arab and Palestinian cyber activists created a facebook page that actually called for a third Palestinian intifada on May 15th.
The facebook page has gone viral in a couple of weeks as it attracted thousands of Arabs to the call, and the more visitors clicked into the site confirming their support to the intifada, the more Israel grew restless and nervous about it.
With the start of April, an Israeli cabinet minister, aggressive Zionist lobbying in the United States and the anti-defamation league managed to muscle mark zuckerberg, facebook co-founder, and forced him to pull this notoriously growing third intifada page completely out of the famous social network.
Realizing the incredible role the web social media have played out in communicating and mobilizing people in the current Arabic uprisings, Israel, and after finishing off the third intifada page, created its new facebook page in Arabic language. Through this page Israel tried to wash away any memorable trace of the intifada call and set out to promote the Zionist agenda and its own definition of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
After a whole month of aggressive Israeli counter-attack on the third intifada call on the web, Israel was taken by surprise by the announcement of a reconciliation deal in Cairo between Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions and their agreement to form a Palestinian national unity government.
To Israel this has not been only a surprise but also a bad omen for this national unity is what the Palestinian protesters called for in their rallies that coincided with the start of the Arab spring. It was like a prophecy coming true.
On the first Friday of May, and in a show of solidarity with this call for a third intifada, or what they called al- Aqsa uprising, scores of Egyptian protesters rallied toward the Israeli embassy in Cairo and voiced their dissatisfaction over the continued Israeli occupation of the Arabic lands in Palestine.
In the rally protesters called for the Israeli ambassador to be expelled from Egypt and demanded the freeze of exporting Egypt natural gas to Israel.
The number of protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy kept growing all day long as they chanted anti-Israeli slogans and pledged to enroll in the intifada for liberating the occupied parts in Palestine and Jerusalem.
They also demanded that Israel stop the excavations beneath Al-Aqsa mosque, that were endangering the Islamic holy monument, and stop its illegal siege on Gaza.
Protesters kept their ground till the very last light of the day when they finally participated in mass prayers dedicated to the Palestinian cause and victims whose lives were sacrificed along 62 long years of struggle against the Zionist brutal occupation.
As the night was falling down, the crowd left, yet they pledged to come back again on the following Friday in thousands as preplanned for the massive rallies in Tahrir square, or what they call the Friday of Al –Aqsa intifada.
No doubt that Mr. Netanyahu proved to be a real visionary when he saw the undergoing changes in the Arab world as an earthquake, but for the aftersocks to ripple all the way to his own back yard, that he didn’t see coming.