There is hardly any sincere person in the world—Muslim or non-Muslim—that does not sympathize with the plight of the long-suffering Palestinians. Their tragedy is that their own leaders have let them down repeatedly.
Though extremely brave, the Palestinians must be the most unfortunate people in the world. Victims of colonial intrigue, their land was handed over to the Zionist invaders from Europe, turning them into refugees in their own homes and villages. The cowardly Arabian rulers, strong on rhetoric but weak on action, were the first to betray them. Now, even their own leaders have abandoned them to the nonexistent mercies of the Zionist squatters and colonists.
Developments in the region have also eclipsed the plight of the Palestinians. This was deliberate. The chaos that has engulfed the broader Muslim East (aka the Middle East) region was part of the imperialist-Zionist plan to divert attention away from the Palestinians’ suffering while weakening the countries on Israel’s peripheries. The one country — Syria — that is part of the resistance front and shares a border with Israel, although the Golan Heights remain under illegal Zionist occupation, has been virtually destroyed and will take decades to recover. The other Arabian regimes — Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt — cannot stoop low enough to appease the Zionists. Turkey too, under the self-styled sultan, Recep Tayip Erdogan, is trying to ingratiate ifself to the Zionists. The latter have skillfully penetrated Kurdish groups to undermine governments in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria.
This is the external dimension to the Palestinian plight. Internally, their own leaders, most notably Hamas, have betrayed them. Some of them have allowed themselves to be bribed by such despicable regimes as those in the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. If these regimes are sucking up to the Zionists, why should one expect they would help the Palestinians? Unless careful, leaders of Islamic movements run the risk of being co-opted by unscrupulous regimes for their own purposes.
Since last August, Palestinians on the West Bank and especially in Jerusalem have been involved in an existential struggle against the Zionist invaders. The latest bout of blood letting started when Zionist squatters (aka Jewish settlers) tried to encroach on the sacred territory of al-Masjid al-Aqsa. The unarmed Palestinians tried to defend the holy site with their bare hands and bodies. To date, the Zionist squatters aided and abetted by the occupation army have murdered more than 200 Palestinians. Most of them are children; girls and women are also among the dead, often shot dead at point blank range.
The Israeli newspaper Ha‘aretz, has dubbed the uprising the “Third Intifadah.” “What makes it different [from previous intifadahs] is that it’s being carried out by individuals who aren’t taking their lead from religious or political figures,” the daily wrote on March 12. The Israeli daily went on to say that most of the individuals “are relatively young and have no organizational affiliation.”
What has been the reaction of Palestinian leaders? The Palestinian Authority (PA), dominated by gangsters, is only interested in lining their own pockets. They use the Palestinians’ suffering to milk others for money that goes straight into their bank accounts in Switzerland, France, and elsewhere. Unfortunately, some Hamas leaders have been equally indifferent to the people’s sufferings. They have become accustomed to living in five-star hotels and being driven in leather-cushioned limousines. These are enough to dull the spirits of even the most highly committed revolutionaries. This is precisely what has happened to some Hamas leaders.
The long-suffering Palestinians deserve better, both from the wider Muslim Ummah but especially from the Palestinian leadership. So far, their leaders have not shown the kind of courage, wisdom, and spirit of self-sacrifice that the situation warrants. This is a great pity.