A Saudi citizen went to perform Friday prayers last week and when he found that the preacher failed to address the Gaza issue in his sermon, he went to him to urge him to address the suffering of the people of Gaza. Three security officers approached him and led him outside the mosque. In Egypt, the Ministry of Endowments has been determining the topic of the Friday sermon since 2013, and that Friday, it assigned the topic of awareness for the sermon, without any reference to the successive bombing on the people of Gaza.
The worshippers thought that perhaps the imams would compensate for this by praying for the people of Palestine at the end of the sermon, but this did not happen. Some thought that perhaps the worshippers would be invited to pray in absentia for the souls of the martyrs in Gaza, because the Ministry of Endowments encouraged this a few weeks ago, for the souls of the martyrs of the Moroccan earthquake and the Libyan storm. However, this did not happen for the martyrs of Gaza, so the worshippers left as if nothing was happening in Palestine.
Even when it was reported on social media that there was a protest at Al-Azhar Mosque in solidarity with the martyrs of Gaza, and another stand for the same purpose in front of the Commander Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria, the official media did not report on them. Meanwhile, at the same time, it reported allocating Al-Arish Airport, adjacent to the eastern border of the country, to receive humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza from countries around the world, and then transport it to the stadium in the city of Al-Arish.
This reminded some of what President Mubarak did, when he closed the Rafah crossing to the people of Gaza in 2007, coinciding with Israel’s closure of border crossings with Gaza, putting its people in the jaws of Israel’s siege. At that time, when Mubarak’s regime responded to popular pressure to bring food and humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, he collected the food collected by civil associations in various governorates and placed it in Al-Arish Stadium and left it out in the open for several weeks until it spoiled, without sending any of it to the people of Gaza.
Arab siege against the resistance
When the residents of Gaza resorted to digging tunnels between the Egyptian and Palestinian cities of Rafah to smuggle goods, Egyptian authorities closed the tunnels and built a separation wall that extended into the ground to prevent new ones emerging. This was followed by the demolition of homes in the Egyptian city of Rafah and the displacement of residents to prevent anything from being delivered to the residents of Gaza.
Thus, the majority of Arab regimes, especially those that have normalised with Israel, and those on their way to normalisation, participated in the current siege on Gaza and the cutting off of water, electricity, food and medicine to it by preventing any mass demonstrations to express their rejection of the Israeli aggression against the residents of Gaza and the killing of more than 2,600 of them so far. Instead, these countries were content with the recent meeting of Arab foreign ministers demanding that the two warring parties not attack civilians.
The Arab regimes are expected to continue their hostile position against Hamas, despite the statements issued by these regimes indicating their support for civilians in Gaza who have been affected by the continuous air strikes launched around the clock for several days, and the need to open a safe passage for them. This is the same position of Norway, which has no religious, language, or historical ties to them.
3 precedents for ground attacks into Gaza
We expect that these Arab countries will continue to challenge the Palestinian resistance, after they revealed the extent of the weakness of the Arab armies, which have been unable to confront Israel for 75 years.
The resistance is aware that Israel launched a war on Gaza in 2006, only because one Israeli soldier was captured at the time. Despite launching that war, which witnessed a ground attack into Gaza in search of the captured soldier, he remained captive for five years, until he was swapped in exchange for the release of 1,000 Palestinians imprisoned in the Israeli occupation’s prisons, including Yahya Sinwar, the current leader of Hamas in Gaza.
The Arab Zionists, whether rulers or individuals, continue to raise doubts about the fate of the resistance, especially after the blatant bias of Western countries in favour of Israel, and some of them sending military aid, such as the US, the UK and Germany. They forget that Gaza was subjected to a ground invasion three times before during the wars in 2006, 2008 and 2014, and the resistance survived. What’s more, after each of the seven wars between it and Israel from 2006 until now, it developed its defensive capabilities.
The resistance forced Israel to summon army reserves for the first time since the 1973 war 50 years ago when it was fighting the regular armies of Egypt and Syria, while it is currently fighting forces estimated by some sources at about 40,000 fighters. Meanwhile, the number of Israel’s permanent forces is 160,000 soldiers. It recently summoned about 300,000 reservists.
Yes, every war has its cost in terms of lives, equipment and buildings, and this is what Gaza and its resistance fighters have been paying for the past 18 years, and remain willing to pay in order to achieve their greatest goal; the liberation of Palestine. This goal is what Israel and some Arabs believe is impossible to achieve and this is why they agreed to the Oslo Accords of 1993 and the subsequent agreements, which conceded 77 per cent of the land of historic Palestine. They also accepted a Palestinian entity that is similar to a municipality that is not allowed to form an army, and subject to comprehensive Israeli supervision and control.
What would happen if the residents of the West Bank joined Gaza’s resistance, if the Arabs in the territories occupied in 1948 joined them and if the Palestinians abroad joined, each in the manner and means of support that they could? What if they were supported by the Lebanese resistance? How long would Israel last, after it became accustomed to quick wars and wars from behind walls and barricades?