Since Wednesday the 13th of February 2002, the Sharon-Israel military command alliance has begun to implement their plan to seize more West Bank and Gaza Strip lands. This is the beginning of mass displacement (or what is referred to as Transfer), and the plan that was drawn up by the officers of the Israeli Chiefs of Staff a year ago to gradually escalate the aggression against the Palestinian people.
This phase of the Sharon-Mofaz plan involves the permanent reoccupation of lands in areas that, according to agreements signed, fall under the full supervision of the Palestinian National Authority. According to the first phase of the Sharon-Mofaz plan, these areas will be part of a border strip (similar to the Lebanese border strip), ranging between eight and ten kilometers wide.
The military and political alliance that is currently ruling Israel is using the fireworks, the so-called Qassam2 missiles, as an excuse to carry out the plan of elimination against the Palestinian people.
It is important for the Arabs to know that the plan to seize the Palestinian lands and displace their owners has begun, and we are sounding the alarm again as we had previously done at the time of the Israeli attacks against the Palestinian people a year and a half ago. The Gaza Strip will be surrounded by a border strip, according to the Sharon-Mofaz plan, from the north, center and south; that is, the areas of Beit Hanoun é Beit Lahia in the north, the areas of Khan Younis é Deir Al-Balah in the center, and the areas of Rafah é the Egyptian border to the south.
As for the West Bank, the implementation of the Israeli decision will have deeper implications. The Tulkarem-Qalqilia-Jenin area is a candidate for a complete take over because it forms a spear head in the center of the Israeli map, and because this area is only a few kilometers away from the Mediterranean coast.
The ruling military alliance in Israel will begin to create a strip in that area that will transform it into an area taken over completely by Israel. The Israeli occupiers will find creative methods of abusing the Palestinians in order to forcefully evict them from their lands and homes. The diabolic Israeli plan includes allowing armed settlers, protected and supervised by the Israeli army, to commit massacres similar to the Sabra and Shatilla massacres, which were supervised by, and the perpetrators protected by, Sharon himself, who is still thinking and acting with the same criminal colonial mentality that has ruled him since he was a member of Zionist terrorist movements in the thirties.
We are therefore sounding the alarm for a grave danger that threatens not only the Palestinian people, but all Arabs. Any new Palestinian Nakba in the twenty-first century will have repercussions that will far exceed the tremors that followed the Nakba of 1948.
The Arabs are now in a better situation than they were in 1948, and vast sectors of Arabs have developed in terms of either education and science, or in terms of political awareness, social advancement, aspiring to freedom, democracy and defending basic human rights.
The situation is different now in all the Arab countries in terms of the structure of the society and the extent of its economic, social and political growth. Thus, the tremors that will follow this new Nakba (if the Arab countries allow it to happen or are unable to prevent it) will be very destructive throughout the Arab world.
Therefore, the Arab summit that will be held in Beirut faces one essential and fundamental question: How do the Arab countries prevent a new Nakba, put an end to the Israeli arrogance, and how do they become strong enough to take the responsibility of using their influence to stop Sharon’s plan from being implemented and making the U.S. understand that if it does not alter its position, the Arab world will have something to say?
This is the question the Arab summit is being asked, and no other.
This phase is one of the most delicate phases of modern Arab history, and any discussion of any other case by the Arab countries at their summit in Beirut, no matter how important they believe it to be, will be an unforgivable crime.
The crisis between Iraq and Kuwait for example, despite all its consequences and the dangers that threatened the region because of it, does not justify to the Arab masses why it should be considered a major topic in this phase.
The sole topic is the Arab countries not allowing another Nakba to take place on Palestinian lands. This means that we are asking all the Arab countries to put to one side all these secondary differences for the sake of this major and permanent danger, because Sharon’s plan to evict and eliminate the Palestinian cause is a plan to seize control over oil and energy sources and to submit the Arab world to the control of Israel, or to shared Israel-American control.
The self-defense being practiced by the Palestinians on a daily basis, using their bodies and those of their children, is not really only a defense of their lands, homes or existence, but is also a defense of the Arab people and their wealth and their independence, across the whole Arab world from the ocean to the gulf. It would be a mistake to think that not dealing firmly and seriously with the American position would spare the Arab countries the tragedies that await them if they allow the Americans to continue to give the green light to Sharon so that he may do what he wants, and what he has planned to do.
We say this frankly to our brethren all across the Arab world; we are sounding the alarm for a grave danger. Sharon has begun to implement the displacement plan that he has called for all his life and has now got the opportunity to implement.
The Palestinians possess only their bodies, and they will sacrifice them in defense of Jerusalem, their lands and their human and historic rights é but what comes after the floods is what constitutes the greatest danger to all Arabs. We therefore call on them to hear our bells warning of grave danger, and we call on them to stand firm; the current American administration understands only tough stands.
We Arabs possess many factors that make us capable of taking stands that go along with our dignity and pride and with our rights and the justice of our cause, and with our freedom and independence.
We call on all Arabs to take this stand now because time is short and the displacement plan has begun. We call on them not to wait more than they have already waited.
The Arab summit would then be that podium from which the Arabs would declare, backed by their capabilities, their insistence on ending the Israeli occupation immediately. Washington will then know that the Arabs are serious, and that Israel must withdraw from the lands it occupied in 1967.
Bassam Abu-Sharif is a special advisor to President Arafat.