The Palestinians Deserve Better than What Iran or the West are offering

Hamid Alkifaey
2024 / 5 / 1

It looks that the Iranian attack on Israel on 13th April was somehow an open public event. Almost everyone knew the details of the attack, a few days before it happened. Even the approximate number of drones and missiles was known before Iran fired them.

This, in itself, reveals that Iran was in fact negotiating with multiple parties, directly or indirectly, on how this operation of ‘revenge’ might be executed. Indeed, informed sources said that Iran telegrammed the US and some Arab countries about its intentions.

Let’s now examine the operation in more detail. 300 drones, or so, were launched from western Iran on Israel. They were flying low and slow, which enabled Israel, supported by the UK and US, to bring them down even before they reached its borders.

The end result was no casualties and no serious damage to any target, if there was an intended one. If the drones were programmed to fly low and slow intentionally, it means Iran was not really serious about harming Israel and the whole operation was a show for public consumption. If that was their maximum speed and power, it means the Iranian military industry is mediocre, thus, the Iranian regime exposed its weakness before the whole world, let alone its declared enemies.

Now, let’s look at the implications of this theatrical Iranian ‘offensive’ and how it has helped Israel, and its right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, and made it look like a victim before the world, which has been highly critical of its war in Gaza and the collective punishment it has inflicted on the Gaza people.

1- It has relegated the human tragedy in Gaza to a secondary importance in the priorities of the world’s governments and media. The talk has been ever since, not about the humanitarian disaster befallen the people of Gaza, but over the conflict between Iran and Israel and how it can be contained.

2- It has brought life into the dying government of Banjamin Netanyahu, who was under pressure from within Israel and outside it, to stand down, due to his mishandling of the Gaza war, and the failure to prevent Hamas’s assault on Israel on October 7th 2023. Even the American Democratic Majority leader, Charles Schumer, called for his replacement. Now his popularity has gone up and his position is more secure.

3- It has led to an increased military and political support for Israel among Western nations, which were critical of Israel’s handling of the Gaza war, in fact they were embarrassed by it after initially declaring their support for Israel after the 7th of October’s massacre. Now the US, UK, Germany and France have come to the help of Israel speedily. Even Iran’s friends and allies, China and Russia, are unhappy about the Iranian offensive.

4- It has made it possible for the US congress to pass the $26b US aid to Israel, which was not approved before due to differences among Republicans and Democrats.

5- It has provided proof to all, that Iran is weak militarily, economically and politically, despite its huge resources, population and area size, its important geopolitical position and economic potential. This long-awaited and vociferously bragged about offensive, was no more than a drab show that failed to convince even the staunchest of supporters.

6- It has exposed the falsehood of Iran’s long-propagated claims of supporting the Palestinian people and its declared intent to liberate their occupied land, an issue that has been a central focus of the Iranian propaganda machine for 45 years.

The Iranian regime, since coming to power in 1979, has inflicted serious damage and harm on Iran itself, and all neighbouring countries, especially Iraq. It has only talked about its animosity to Israel publicly, while dealing with it clandestinely and buying arms from it during its war against Iraq, as revealed by Jack Straw’s book, ‘The English Job’.

It has set back economic and political progress in Iran and neighbouring countries for decades, yet it has emboldened extremist religion-based movements in the Muslim word, and given right-wing marginal religious parties in Israel ammunition to get stronger and grow their popular support within Israel and beyond.

The Palestinian people have suffered for so long under Israeli occupation. One of the reasons of this suffering is that other countries, such as Iran, have manipulated their plight for their own domestic political purposes. It’s a huge failure on the part of the international community, especially the US and UK, to be so incapable of helping Palestinians out of their misery, which both countries have contributed to, if not caused it in the first place.

The Palestinian cause is just, it’s a national issue for a people who have been forced out of their homeland and denied the right to establish their own state. It’s not a religious issue, nor should it ever have been. The Palestinian society is diverse; there are Muslims and Christians, Arabs, Jews and others.

Nor should it have been an Arab issue. It’s a Palestinian issue, that was wrongly Arabised and Islamised, both of which have served the Israeli extreme right, which propagated that ‘since it’s an Arab issue, the 22 Arab states should accommodate those Arab refugees (the Palestinians) amongst them’. That was one of the main reasons why the problem has not been addressed for 75 years.

Most problems in the world have been resolved, and the Palestinian question could have been one among them, had it been left to the Palestinians themselves, who are very resourceful and capable people.

By unconditionally supporting Israel, even when it breaks international humanitarian law and occupies Palestinian land, and tolerating the meddling of the Iranian regime in the internal affairs of other nations, the Western world has not only discredited its long-standing claims of promoting freedom, democracy and the application of international law, but has also sown the seeds of hatred, violence and instability in the Middle East and the wider world. Israel breaks international law as a matter of course, discriminates against Palestinians, treats UN resolutions with contempt and kills Palestinian civilians, local and international journalists, UN personnel and relief workers. It has even accused UN agencies of involvement in terrorism!

The Iranian regime, on the other hand, has used the plight of the Palestinians as a pretext to expand its influence in the Middle East and beyond, and spread its peculiar brand of Islam in the Muslim world, establishing armed militias in foreign countries, seizing ships, harbouring and assisting terrorists, attacking embassies, firing missiles on Iraqi cities, threatening Azerbaijan and other neighbouring countries, fomenting discord and hatred and misleading people across the region with its fiery revolutionary rhetoric, that’s broadcast through its numerous TV channels and other propaganda outlets.

These activities have destabilized the Middle East and sown chaos across the world. If left unhindered, the Iranian regime will cause more harm to the people of the region and damage to international peace.

Sanctions, imposed on Iran by the West, have harmed the Iranian people, not the regime. On the contrary, they are blowing air into the regime’s balloon, giving it reason to claim victimisation by ‘international arrogance’, for following ‘the divine path of God’! Iran has it in its constitution that its armed forces have a ‘Divine tasks’, and thus, has the right to intervene in other countries, with no respect for international law.

As long as this thinking persists, Iran will never be reconcilable with the international community. It’s the only theocracy in the world in the twenty first century. The Iranian people are no doubt fed up with this regime, that’s intruding on their lives and bringing nothing but wars and sanctions upon them. The Middle East is tired of Iran’s meddling in its affairs, where at least four countries are now suffering under Iranian influence. There will be more of the same if Iran doesn’t change course, and it won’t unless forced to do so.

The root cause of all current problems in the Middle East is the Palestinian issue. It can be resolved if the US and Western nations get serious about it. They have the power, resources and influence to succeed. If no solution to the Palestinian question is found, there will be more war, violence and instability, especially with the continuous unconditional support given to Israel by the US and Western nations, regardless of what it does, and in spite of universal recognition that it’s an occupier of Palestinian land.

The world needs to wake up to the dangers that this time bomb could unleash if it’s not timely defused. Any delay in finding a resolution to the problem would be callous and adventurous. The Palestinian people deserve better and the time to act is now.

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