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The Battle is Somewhere Else - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Whilst we are preoccupied with criticizing and condemning, and with attacking one another or attempting to convince Hamas to sign the Egyptian document for inter-Palestinian reconciliation, Israel, through pro-Israeli pressure groups in the US, has begun to launch a media campaign in American newspapers calling on the American reader to think about what it called the “facts” before forming an opinion about what happened to the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla.

Israel has acted in accordance with the famous saying: “If you kill a person then look for a lawyer to help you but if you kill ten people then wage a public relations campaign or seek the help of a lobby.” Meanwhile the victims – the Arabs and the Turks – are content with shouting and cursing. The media that is defending Israel is telling the US citizen and decision maker that the Turkish humanitarian organization that funded the Freedom Flotilla is an organization that financially supports Hamas, the “terrorist” [organization] according to the media, on a permanent basis. It also claims that the Turkish organization has ties with a Hamas official and the media is trying to suggest that he has ties with a group that plotted to target Los Angeles International Airport in 1999! One of the accusations that the media is trying to convey as a fact is that the passengers on the Mavi Marmara ship were willing to be martyrs and what is meant here of course is that they were “suicidal” and there are other errors in the media.

As mentioned above, this is all happening whilst the Arabs, as well as the Turks, are addressing themselves whether through the media or through speeches which does not help the matter in any way, not to mention the emergency and non-emergency meetings, whilst Israel, which is clearly guilty, is acting in line with a clear and deliberate mechanism. This is not in order to win over international public opinion but to neutralize it; Tel Aviv will not be able to win over international or American public opinion regarding the Gaza issue and it knows that this is the case as long as the victims of the ship included activists from international organizations. However Israel is trying to consolidate its position whilst we, the people in the right, are as far away as we can be from organized activity and from making the most of the media and legal tools that are available to us in order for the Gaza crime to continue to hit on Israel on the head like a snowball, especially as political activity is ongoing and there is no room for emotion within it.

The problem is that those who claim to sympathize with Gaza and the Palestinian Cause do not want to think and to work just as they do not want to listen to any critical opinion and so they devote themselves to cursing and casting those who disagree with their opinion as traitors. Regrettably, they include some Arab media figures in search of false popularity as crying and shouting is all that is required instead of criticism and hard work. This is something that we have made a habit of in every crisis.

Israel is moving towards the scene of the battle whilst our Arabs are happy to deliver speeches and to condemn; even some members of Hamas are brazenly accusing Amr Musa of visiting Gaza without absorbing the Arab anger. The question here is what has Hamas ever done to end the injustice that the people of Gaza are suffering or to strengthen the Palestinian position, especially considering that Hamas has edged closer to the position of the Palestinian Authority regarding the peace process and the need to stop the firing of rockets as Hamas sent numerous messages to Washington during the Freedom Flotilla crisis in which it asked for Washington’s love!

Therefore, the Arabs, and more importantly the Palestinians, must ask themselves what they did during the Freedom Flotilla crisis to help their cause instead of asking what the US has done for us and what the West will do for us.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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