Some historians assert that history doesn’t repeat itself. However, and due to its very dynamic nature, there are others who believe that history does actually repeat itself. More importantly history doesn’t proceed over a straight line. Some strategist may have the ability to plan for, and predict what lies 10 or 20 years ahead. But under no circumstance can anyone know, with exact certainty, what may happen in the near future. We can see, sometimes with aberration, what lies before our eyes, but we are unable to see what lies behind history’s curvatures and detours. That is why wars, disasters and calamities occur. I don’t wish to be pedantic, but evidences are numerous, which show that a given nation might not be given the opportunity to play the same role twice during the course of its life or in history, in general. This phenomenon is evident when one looks at the rise and demise of historic empires; from the Roman, through the Mogul, to the British Empire. I call this phenomenon a natural law, which can easily be applied at low level power, such as the Crusaders in the Greater Syria (GS), (i.e. Syria, historic Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan) from the early 1090s until they were evicted, (or ejected), from the area at the hand of Saladin. The former racist regime in South Africa(SA) is another example. That regime came to an end after many years of bloodshed and sufferings of South Africans. It was ended under the determination of people like Nelson Mandela, (while in jail) and his fighting comrades. Determination, then, triumphed over force, and legitimacy triumphed over false claims.
From the perspective of the overwhelming majority of Arabs, the situation of Israel in historic Palestine is an exact replica of those two latter powers, (i.e. the Crusaders in GS, and the Apartheid regime is SA). As the majority of Arabs maintain, Israel, as a Jewish entity, had been foisted, willy-nilly, upon the Arab region as a project of the victorious powers, after WWII, aiming at dividing the Arabs and quelling their resistance against colonial subversion and dominance. Its creation process starkly resembles that of the Crusaders’ bastions in GS, and the Apartheid regime in SA. In the beginning, such entities normally start with small settlements, mainly agriculture, fortified later with other facilities, and then undergo an expansion process. At an advance stage the collection of settlements make up a de facto state(s), and with a help from external powers, the foisted states gain a de jure status at the international arena. They gain the right to: vote, have a say in international matters, have the right to enslave locals and suppress their revolts when occur, and gain the ability to develop an efficient militaristic arms to subdue any regional threat. But among the most crucial characteristics of such entities is their ability to implicate external powers in the crisis they engage in. By the very nature of their emergence, they are able to recruit and draw inter-regional powers, to their side, to aid them in times of crises. History tells us that the Crusaders had been very successful in drawing the attentions and interests of most European powers. Major players during that era were England and France. The racist regime in South Africa had, for decades, enjoyed the indulgence, assistance and protection of the USA, the UK and other European countries.
When the chronology of the creation process of Israel is pursued for investigation, one may find that Israel is the analogue of the Crusaders in GS and the Apartheid regime in SA. More specifically, at the start of the 20th century, the Jews in historic Palestine constituted less than 10% of the total dwellers. They mainly settled in farms. Palestine was then under the British occupation. After the so called Belfour Declaration, overt and covert mass transfer of Jews from Europe to Palestine began. By the 1930s Jewish settlers formed armed forces and started to harass the locals, and before the termination of the British mandate over Palestine, the settlers had gained control of a large area of the country. In 1947 the 1st partition of Palestine took place, approximately 50% of the land became under Jewish control. In 1948 the truce line was identified, with more than two third of the land taken by the new Jewish state.
By 1967 all of Palestine, the Egyptian Sinai and Syrian Golan heights were under full Israeli occupation. This process of enlargement and expansion, however, from the planning stage to create the Jewish state to its realization in 1948, shows that the Jewish body within the Arab region had been installed at an extremely rapid and perilous rate.
When one looks at the geopolitical and geostrategic picture of the Middle East, and the world at large, it is shocking to see the resemblance of what was in the 1090s to what was at the start of the 1850s and on. In both eras the Islamic world was divided; many states and many rulers were striving against each other. Ignorance and poverty dominated the scene. In the 1090s the ambience was so perfect for the region to be infiltrated by an external power. At that time, Europe was suffering from economic problems, and fanaticism and fundamentalism concurred. As a result of this concurrence, the Crusaders came under the shadows of swords and established their state. Amazingly, that state lasted for nearly 200 years. It took Saladin 20 years of diligence and preparation to unite the Muslims and Arabs to eject the Crusaders outside the region, and obliterate their roots. In the 1850s, however, the Muslim Arabs, in the Middle East, were under the weakened Ottomans’ rule. Poverty and ignorance, also, dominate. The European industrial powers wanted to expand the economic gains resulted from the industrial revolution. The political and economic conditions in the Middle East were almost the same as those of the 1090s. The environment was, also, perfect to attract external powers into the area, and it happened that France and England were the two powers who invited themselves. They came, under the force of artilleries and well-equipped soldiers, with a similar agenda; the creation of a permanent wedge in the area; a Jewish state in the very heart of the Arab region, instead of a Crusader one.
Sixty years have already elapsed since the forced establishment of Israel on Palestine, with many, positive and negative, developments taken place since then, and many wars broke out. Contemporary history acknowledges the political, economic and technical superiority of Israel over her Arab neighbors. This particular situation was not different, at all, from its counterpart during the Crusaders’ era. The similarities are shocking, represented in the relentless support of the USA and Europe to Israel, and the ability of Israel to engage and mobilize the NATO in her favor, in an endeavor to force her will, and optimize her security.
The presence of Israel during the past sixty years had, actually, rendered the world confused and ambivalent as to the standards and rules that must govern the international socio-political game. To clarify what I mean by this, the following points may epitomize the nature of the issue:
- Europe and the USA had entered two destructive wars (WWI & WWII) on the basis of deterring German aggression against European countries and defending democracy!
- Israel was created, by force, on a land owned by the Palestinian Arabs, who were forced out of their home land, in order to suit the false historical claims of Jews.
- Israel represents an unprecedented and untamed force, with illegitimate ambitions, and destructive capabilities that exceed her actual needs, and a geopolitical domain similar to that of a superpower.
- Based on her material superiority, and with the consent of superpowers that are supposed to defend democracy and human rights, Israel-since her inception- has constantly and continuously, violated all human and international laws, including the killing of innocent children and women, and the illegal destruction or confiscation of others’ properties.
- Many countries, including superpower ones, have enacted laws, and in some cases have reformed their legal structures, to suit the Israeli’s wishes. In other words, the whole world is adjusting for the needs of Israel. Recent examples include Belgium and Spain.
- The USA and UK have, on behalf of Israel, invaded Iraq and unabashedly obliterated the working apparatus of that state, just to please Israel.
- Hamas, and through a clean democratic process, won a landslide election in Palestine. But the West has, arbitrarily and based on an Israeli fiat, rejected the outcome.
- If an Israeli soldier (or civilian) is killed, a superpower like the USA or even France rushes to the UN Security Council to condemn the incident, with the harshest possible language, accompanied with explicit and implicit threats against the Arabs. But when thousands of Palestinians got killed or wounded, the very same superpowers call for a self-restrain.
In the midst of this deafening and annoying political cacophony, it’s worth our while to take a respite and look profoundly into the subject matter, in an attempt to comprehend the lessons of a nearly 1000 years of history. This is a necessary, because we sometimes deluge ourselves with trivial details, and forget the perils of the issue at hand.
In order to further our understanding of the matter, let’s look at the picture of 1948 and compare it with the present one. In 1948, most Muslim and Arab countries were either under foreign control or just graduated from that control; backwardness, ignorance and poverty prevail. Knowledge of sophisticated technology was very low.
Today’s picture is totally different. We can see that nowadays Muslim and Arab countries enjoy varying degrees of independence and knowledge. Pakistan is a member of the nuclear club, while Iran seems to be ratcheting up her nuclear program, and may join the club soon. Nuclear technology seems obtainable, with relative ease, through surreptitious activities. In addition, one can through money extend his/her outreach, including the ability to possess arms and lethal weapons, dirty bombs, labs that can produce biological or chemical weapons …etc, with all the potential disastrous effects that we can imagine if such things reached the hands of certain groups.
We may need to remember, once in a while, that with all the intelligence gathering capability of the USA, the attacks of September 11, 2001 couldn’t be deterred!
After 60 years of wars and despondent trials to achieve peace, in tandem with a constant Israeli refusal to compromise, one shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of dreadful and disastrous scenarios, given our basic assumption that history walks on curvatures, rather than straight lines.
The present Israel is surrounded by a band of more than 500 million Arabs and Muslims. At least 4 countries, namely Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, with population of more than 350 million people, have developed or have the potentials to develop un-deter-able weapons of mass destruction. There are no guarantees, what so ever, to prevent a group of individuals who possess the so called “Martyrdom Spirit” from ascending to top political positions, then seize such weapons, and use them!
Nowadays technology, regional tension, financial crisis, deprivation, hatred and despair, coupled with a defunct deterrence theory, make a perfect incubator for such a scenario, and present all the requisites to a great disaster!
The Muslims and Arabs can’t be looked at as credulous any more. The Muslim world, nowadays, is embroiled with the constant humiliation from the West, while the Israelis indulge themselves in killing innocent children and women, and deepening their occupation of the Palestinian land. I believe that there are hundreds of secret movements, scattered around the world, with thoughts that are beyond our imagination or comprehension. I can see embers beneath the huge pile of ash. I can, also, feel and see what people think, imagine and wish. They are grave and chilling by all means. My advice… “To Whom It May Concern”…let’s pause and think, before a de profundis screeches emerge from so many hearts. Israelis must, with bona fide, negotiate with the Palestinians, in order to give them their land back, and to give them hope that they have a future, before it is too late.
In the Arabic aphorism, it’s said: “…Take Wisdom from the Mouth of the Mad…”
Dr. Abderrazaq Bani Hani
- Jews Control 85% of Historical Palestine, says Statistics Bureau (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israel as Refuge for the Jews (middleeastatemporal.wordpress.com)
- Are The Palestinians A Distinct People? (ifaynsh.wordpress.com)