Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

What Rain and What Summer? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Israel has named its escalating war on armless Palestinians “Operation Summer Rain.” The aim, supposedly, is to liberate the Israeli soldier who was captured on occupied territories, while in a raid on Palestinian towns. The Israeli “Rain” must refer to the non-stopping hail of bullets, rockets and bombs that have been falling on Palestinian civilians, houses and farms over the last few decades for one reason or another. The ultimate goal has been displacing and exterminating a whole nation, and replacing it by another. However, the recent military campaign that started on the night when all Palestinian groups reached an agreement for a peace plan has been quite revealing.

On board of her plane to Islamabad, Rice was informed about the “kidnapped” Israeli soldier, as the Israeli government calls what in military books is named “prisoner of war.” Of course, her briefing did not mention the tens of Palestinian women and children who were “kidnapped” from their homes and thrown in Israeli prisons. Rice described the incident as “an act that cannot be tolerated in the international system.” The same international system, however, has tolerated very well the kidnapping, imprisonment and assassination of Palestinian civilians and parliamentarians.

“Operation Summer Rain” has shown the real face of the democracy the United States wants to spread in the Middle East; democracy for the oppressor who serves American interests best. President Carter has testified to the integrity and transparency of the last Palestinian elections; real democratic elections unlike the sectarian and ethnic political strife in Iraq under American military occupation. Instead of commending and supporting Palestinian democracy, the United States is financing the Israeli military attacks on Palestinians. On the European side, all that Javier Solana could say was that he “understands completely” that the Israelis are “very nervous.”

Capturing the Israeli soldier has horrified the Israeli military society that has been thriving on oppressing the occupied Palestinians. With “Operation Summer Rain,” the Israelis want to teach the Palestinians a lesson that they cannot forget, to prevent any similar attempts in the future. However, the Israelis have forgotten that history moves forward, that oppression does not last forever, and that national resistance eventually wins. The Palestinian resistance has already survived for more that half a century of occupation.

If anything, Israeli crimes have shown that to the Israeli government Palestinians are one mass. This indiscriminating vision is similar to the present Western indiscriminating view of Arabs and Muslims. It is stark racism against all Arabs and Muslims. Israel and the West should be careful; such treatment will eventually unify Palestinians, and in fact all Arabs, in their struggle to preserve what are their rights.

The language and terminology used in newspapers describing the Israeli war are alarming. It seems that journalistic integrity and professional ethics have been dangerously compromised. In the Christina Science Monitor the relevant headline read: “Israelis back in Gaza: many motives.” The British Guardian wrote: “Israeli tanks intensify siege around Gaza.” The Los Angeles Times’ article was entitled: “Israel arrests Hamas officials.” On June 6, the Herald Tribune had the headline: “Hamas provokes a fight.”

Finally, those who have been supporting Israeli crimes against Palestinians are not doing Israel a service. There will come a day when American and European officials will say that they understand that Arabs are “very nervous.” It might take decades of resistance and struggle, but it will come one day. Arab History tells stories of many aggressions and occupations. It also shows that none has lasted.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

More Posts