Palestine is an Arab issue par excellence

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Palestine is an Arab issue par excellence
Written by Khaled Ghannam

The Arab peoples interact with Palestine continuously, and even consider themselves responsible for the process of liberating Palestine. This is due to the concept of Arab nationalism, which rejects international borders between Arab peoples.
Moreover, the Arab countries, after their independence from European colonialism in the middle of the last century, included in their constitutions the necessity of achieving Arab unity in order to reach the stage of complete independence.
The Arab leftist parties disagreed on the mechanism for achieving Arab unity. Some found it a priority before building a democratic society and before building the Arab army that would liberate Palestine after reaching the stage of strategic balance with the Zionist enemy. While the socialist parties saw that the liberation of Palestine must be the priority of the Arab peoples, because the liberation of Palestine would create a new political and economic reality in the Arab region, the Zionist enemy and global imperialism, would oppose the process of Arab unity more than it prevented the process of liberating Palestine.
However, the real dilemma lies in the method of forming the nationalist left-wing Arab parties. They mostly did not adopt Marxist thought in building trade union and populist institutions to form popular bodies that would take decisions that determine the practical steps for implementing Arab democracy.
Because they were formed as a result of military coups against the ruling elites loyal to Western countries, it was natural for them to receive support from the Soviet Union and the socialist countries. They were not parties in the traditional sense, but merely a number of army officers with a number of notables, including tribal leaders and owners of capital. However, they formed formal parties that do not have clear ideological parameters and do not adopt true democracy in decision-making. Even those that hold general elections are also only formal elections. Their results are known before they begin.
The intelligence services of these regimes exercise tyranny against any voices whose decisions the ruling elites do not agree with. The deep state in the Arab countries relies mainly on army officers, security services, capital owners, and a limited number of politicians, and excludes the traditional ruling forces that relied on the leadership of the Arab tribes and the imams of religious groups.
The Arab tribes were dismantled and the name of the tribe was removed from the records. Civil society in the modern Arab countries, and all the properties of religious groups were withdrawn and transferred to state ownership, which made traditional social capital lose all its power in society. This is the reason for the first appearance of popular rejection of all these changes in the composition of the ruling elites in the Arab countries.
In modern history, the French campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801) was a Napoleonic campaign in the Ottoman territories of Egypt and Syria, executed by Napoleon Bonaparte at the end of the eighteenth century. It began with the occupation of Egypt, after which the French forces headed towards Palestine, committing massacres in the cities of the Palestinian coast of Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, and Jaffa. The Ottoman forces announced that they would not be able to withstand the occupation.
The French were resisted by the Arab tribes, so tribal support forces were formed from Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon , the Great Morocco, and the Arabian Peninsula, and they formed widespread defensive and offensive lines. As a whole, they achieved their goals by ending the French occupation of the Palestinian coast. This is the first battle in which irregular Arab tribal forces participated in a defeat of European colonialism.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, European imperialism decided to entice the Arab elites to export raw materials to European factories, at very low prices. In return, the Arab markets were opened to European industrial products at very high prices. This contributed to the widening of the gap between the working class and the peasants, who were unable to sell their products at low prices. And among the merchant class who monopolized the marketing of European products in Arab markets. After that, the Arab merchants and their successors, European imperialism, imposed a major change in determining what was required to be grown or produced in industrial factories in order to suit the European importer, even if this led to creating an imbalance in the local markets.
For example, the increase in the area cultivated for cotton in Egypt led to an economic disaster. This cotton is specifically for export to Europe, as the increase in cotton production came at the expense of a significant reduction in the production of rice and wheat, which led to an increase in food prices in Egypt. To a lesser extent, the increase in the area planted with orange trees on the Palestinian coast led to a significant decrease in the amount of vegetables grown, which led to an increase in food prices in Palestine.
In reading the causes of the Arab Spring, we find that the economic and social crises are the main causes. As most of the Arab countries are suffering from economic crises that have caused them to borrow huge sums of money from the World Bank and international financial institutions, which imposed on the Arab countries reform economic plans that led to an increase in the prices of basic commodities, as well as an increase in the cost of living, especially medical and educational services, as well as a rise in unemployment rates to record levels.
These factors led to the bread revolutions that preceded the Arab Spring and occurred in Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Morocco, and Mauritania. The local security services suppressed the popular protests, and the Arab governments tried to circumvent these economic crises and link them to the global financial crisis, or that they were the result of these countries’ support for Palestine, or in real frankness that they were due to conditions and controls set by the World Bank.
However, the promised economic solutions were an illusion, and economic crises began to roll in most Arab countries. The emergence of Arab leftist activists on social networking sites on the Internet began to spread news about the extravagance of the ruling political elites, the political mismanagement of the state, and the lack of real plans for a solution to the economic crisis.
Calls began for peaceful demonstrations and to demand the overthrow of a regime, but the first demonstrations were small in number and had little impact, especially in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt, without meaning that the Arab peoples were not convinced of the usefulness of peaceful demonstrations.
Perhaps the most prominent social media activist was Khaled Said in the city of Alexandria, Egypt, who was assassinated on June 6, 2010 by special security forces wearing civilian clothes. He is considered the main catalyst for the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt.
However, the spark that scorched the chairs of all Arab political elites and made their thrones shake occurred on December 17, 2010, when Tariq Al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi burned himself in front of the Sidi Bouzid state headquarters in protest against the municipal authorities’ confiscation of a cart on which he sold vegetables and fruits to earn his living.
The Tunisian masses protested against all the ruling political elite, which led to a significant increase in numbers. The security services and army leaders decided to abandon the political elites in order to maintain its position in the country. This clearly contributed to the overthrow of the government and the popular uprising.
In these popular demonstrations, Palestinian flags and the Palestinian keffiyeh were present, with chants of the necessity of liberating Palestine. As the Tunisian masses were chanting that the Arab movement is linked to global imperialism that protects the Zionist project in Palestine.
An angry ball of fire rolled through the streets and public squares in most Arab countries, and millions of demonstrations broke out in Egypt. As the army and security services decided to abandon the political elite, as happened in Tunisia, this strengthened the power of the demonstrators who were convinced that they would not be imprisoned or tortured because of the army’s “neutrality”.
However, the situation was not the same in Yemen, where the Yemeni youth revolution took place and raised clear leftist slogans, demanding the overthrow of the regime, but the security services dealt with excessive violence against them, and they arrested some of them while others were killed in the streets without trial. On Al Karama Friday, March 18, 2011, the police killed 52 demonstrators in the streets of Sanaa. The same thing happened in Syria, Algeria and Sudan.
While leftist activists were searching for popular solutions based on local popular power to overthrow the regime and change the way of governance in the country, there were regional and international powers looking to achieve their political goals by pulling the rug from American influence in those countries and shifting the loyalty of those countries towards the East, where Russia, Iran and Turkey are.
They found in the Muslim Brotherhood an acceptable strategic alternative, so I supported them with all possible means, medially, politically, and economically, which made everyone think that the Arab Spring was the creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, even though they were the last to go out for propaganda demonstrations to overthrow the regime in all Arab countries.
The regional alliances (Turkey and Iran) have caused the withdrawal of the initiative from the popular forces demanding democratic change and economic reform, and all efforts have been diverted towards empowering the forces loyal to one of the regional alliances that have expanded to include countries such as Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Qatar, in addition to Iran and Turkey, which has prompted the competing forces to take steps towards a militant solution.
They began arming operations in order to achieve gains by creating civil wars in Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, and Sudan, and to crush all forms of political opposition in the rest of the countries allegedly because they are implementing foreign plans and that their loyalties are not national, but rather linked to Iran, Turkey, or one of the Arab Gulf states. These justifications led to the suppression of political freedoms in Arab countries, separated political activists from their popular bases, and made charges ready against anyone who opposed the regime.
On October 17, 2019, the Lebanese masses went out in protest demonstrations against the imposition of a new tax on social media services, especially WhatsApp. These protests turned into what was known as the Lebanese popular movement, which shook the country in an unprecedented way. This popular movement has no known political leaders, and does not have a plan. Unified action is merely a rejection of the ruling political system, a rejection of the alliance of political, economic and military forces that form the pillars of the deep state.
This popular movement took the form of successive waves that entered several Arab countries, perhaps the most prominent of which was in the streets of Iraq. At the same time, protests occurred in Latin American countries, which achieved their goals in Chile, Colombia, and others.
As for the Arab countries, the regional poles supported arming their supporters, so the Arab region became full of armed organizations, some of which were linked to one country and some of which were linked to several countries, some of which were formed on the basis of religious doctrine, some on a sectarian basis, and some on a tribal basis.
These are the circumstances that contributed to the formation of ISIS: the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, and many mercenary armies that fight for money, and change their loyalty to whoever pays more than the regional poles.
Now the Arab peoples are blocked from actual solidarity with Palestine, they are deprived of the right to demonstrate, they do not have political parties or real union structures, they are unable to support themselves, and they live under the tyranny of a political system that does not have the ability to solve economic problems.
This has caused general frustration, and the vast majority are looking for ways to escape outside the greater Arab world, through illegal immigration, that is, risking their lives by crossing the border into Europe and dealing with human traffickers. There is no real political horizon for the Arab peoples, and they believe that liberating Palestine may change the course of history. No matter how difficult the process of liberating Palestine is, it is much easier than changing the current Arab reality.

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