Divided We Have Fallen

Edna Yaghi’s Column

It all began more than 52 years ago when Arab nations sold Palestine to marauding Jews from Europe and America who came to the land of Milk and Honey to pillage, plunder and massacre the native inhabitants.

At the time, the natives were under the British Mandate and were not allowed to have any weapons at all, not even a pistol. Anyone caught with any kind of gun would be thrown in prison for an undetermined length of time. Thus when the heavily armed Jewish invaders stormed into peaceful Palestine, the natives were not prepared or equipped to defend themselves.

It was then that Jews began their campaign of terror and slaughter. Whole villages were wiped out. Women and children, babies and the elderly were brutally killed. Palestinians were driven out of their homes and forced to leave all their worldly possessions behind. Many thought that the scourge would pass and that they would return home. Thinking this, they kept the keys to their houses buried in treasure chests or deep within their aching hearts.

There was a feeble Arab attempt to help the Palestinians but the British and the Jews made sure that such attempts were foiled. As a result, nearly a million Palestinian refugees flooded to other parts of Palestine. Some crossed over into Syria, Lebanon or Jordan. Life was never easy for Palestinians who lived within their occupied country or those who fled to neighboring ones.

Today, 52 years afterwards, Intifadas later, Arab leaders still watch unconcerned as Palestinians are slaughtered. They watched others murder their Arabs counterparts in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, and in 1990. They were spectators to the civil war in Lebanon and when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 in order to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel re-invented the excuse that it was for security. But the purpose was to create a puppet-regime of pro-Western Maronite Christian Lebanese that would cater to Israeli demands. Major targets of the Israeli invasion were Palestinian refugee camps, many of which were totally desecrated. An estimated 19,085 people were killed.

Then in September 1982, after the PLO had withdrawn from Lebanon, the Israelis aided the massacre of more than 3,000 to 3,500 men, women and children at the Sabra-Shatila refugee camps.

Israeli soldiers surrounded the camps and sent in troops from the fascist Lebanese Christian party known as the Phalange. For 36 hours while Israelis watched, the killing continued. Some Israelis disguised themselves as Phalanges and physically took part in the slaughter of the innocents.

On January 17, 1991 again, Arab and Muslim nations watched as foreign forces mercilessly bombed and devastated Iraq. More than 140,000 people died. The sanctions have taken a further enormous toll of around 5000-6000 lives a month. Most of the fatalities are infants. And even more than this, the intricate infrastructure of a civilization dating back to the eons of early mankind was destroyed.

That Arab/Muslim countries aided and abetted the assault on another Arab country is beyond belief. That Arab and Muslim countries helped foreign invaders to bomb and kill innocent civilians in beyond comprehension.

And now the world is asked by a war monger and the son of a warlord to support America’s “crusade” against terrorism. According to President George W. Bush, nations are either “with” the Americans or “against” them.

All the Arab and Muslim countries will feign concern and disunited, will join a new coalition led by the American aggressors against the Arab nations, against Islam, against one another.

Yes, Bush told the world that this is a crusade. It is not a crusade against terrorism because the real terrorist is not Ousama Ben Laden who has given up all his worldly possessions and the comforts of an easy life to plot and plan the attacks on American installations, thereby taking the lives of thousands of innocent victims. Ben Laden would not wage a war on women and children. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon would. He has a proven track record for atrocities against unarmed civilians. He practices murder on a daily basis in Occupied Palestine. He has the blood of more than 20,000 people on his hands as Israeli Defense Minister when his army invaded Lebanon in 1982.

He has molded the word “terrorism” as a pejorative one that describes all acts committed against Israel and the U.S. What the Palestinians are doing are not acts of terrorism but the resistance to the occupation of their land by a cruel tyrannical foreign power. What Israel is doing is waging a war against the innocents, against women, children, elderly.

Let us celebrate then the shame of our defeats as our victories are only those won by Palestinian infants casting stones before being martyred by the invincible enemy.

Let us once again watch Americans and their coalition tear us apart, bomb our countrysides, destroy the fabric of our lives, push us to the depths of despair, and plunge us into abject poverty. As one member of our body bleeds and suffers, so does the rest of our body. United we could have stood, but divided we have fallen.