A guest post by AKUS
It surely strikes any unbiased observer that what appears to have been a poorly staged attempt by paid locals and quite possibly foreign meddlers to infiltrate into Israel on “Al Naksa Day” was largely treated as a yawn by most of the Western media and an attempt by Syria to divert attention from the brutal crackdown on its own citizens. Not, of course, by our friends at the Guardian, who went into overdrive at the thought – the hope – that this orchestrated “spontaneous uprising” would once again embarrass Israel and hundreds of thousands of Arabs would reclaim what was never theirs in the first place – the Golan Heights, followed, no doubt, in the Guardian editors’ fevered imagination, by the whole of Israel.
Of course, the entire premise of Al Naksa was absurd. On behalf of the invented nation of Palestine, which did not exist before 1967, the Syrians staged an event that with bitter irony commemorates the worst defeat the Arabs have ever had, delivered at the hands of Israel in 1967. The results of the useless theatrics were equally absurd. The deaths were caused by rioters throwing Molotov cocktails into anti-tank minefields (on the Syrian side of the border) and blowing themselves up.
The Red Cross has been unable to corroborate any of the Syrian reports that Israel killed 23 demonstrators. As soon as the usual lies became apparent, any sympathy that might have existed for the Palestinians in the media was blown away, so to speak.
Moreover, the number of deaths, if any at all, pale by comparison with the wholesale slaughter being meted out by the Assad regime to its own citizens. The scale is so “disproportionate”, to use a well-worn term, that even members of the United Nations were compelled to agree with Israel’s description of Syria’s complaints about the similar events on Al Nakba day as “surreal”. The Palestinians and their supporters looked simply foolish as a consequence.
Israel TV, which employs numerous Arab staff and reporters in its northern studio, reported that none of them had ever heard of “Al Naksa”, and thought it was silly of the Palestinians in Syria to have a day that commemorates Syria’s greatest defeat.
Worse was to follow.
In rage at the faked reports of deaths and anger at the cowardice of leaders who once again apparently sent others to risk their lives, crowds estimated in the hundreds turned on the leadership of the Palestinians in Damascus. They attacked the offices of the PFLP-GC (a splinter group formed by Ahmad Jibril from Habash’s PFLP and responsible for the 1974 Passover Kiryat Shmona massacre of 18 Israelis). The result was a self-inflicted massacre of at least 14 and dozens wounded by the bodyguards of such luminaries as Khalid Meshaal of Hamas. Ahmad Jibril narrowly escaped with his life (unfortunately).
New reports claim that the Palestinians are having second thoughts about applying to the UN in November for statehood. Obama and Merkel met in Washington and among other matters warned in their closing statement that trying to use the UN to grant statehood to the Palestinians was not going to work. Since these are two of the major donors of the funds Palestinian leadership relies on to support their luxurious, globe-trotting lifestyle, they immediately went into reverse gear. Now they are demanding negotiations with Israel – but only if Israel first agrees to their terms!
Having said all that, there is yet another reason that the Palestinians once again destroyed their own game-plan.
Despite the fevered dreams of the Guardian staff, who apparently imagine a world-wide Stalinist proletariat arising to conquer Israel we live in a world of nation states where rampant cross-border illegal immigration – infiltration, really – is an increasingly difficult problem for the wealthy Western states. Western leaders and the responsible media understand that once again what starts with the Jews would not end with the Jews. If today the Golan, why not tomorrow Andaluz or Austria?
The US, in particular, faced with an unending flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Central and South America, made it clear that it that Israel has the right and obligation to defend its borders from being overrun, by force if necessary. Yes – that includes the borders of the Golan Heights, annexed after 1967, and never seriously challenged by the USA and EU, unlike the West Bank situation.
The Palestinians gained little sympathy, and will have even less if they or the Syrians stage a repeat performance to distract attention from what they are doing in Syria. The idea that thousands of “unarmed civilians” will just wander across the borders of another state strikes at one of the great unspoken fears of the West and many other nation states. The stakes are far too high for the world’s major powers, including Russia, China, and India who all face similar problems, for them to countenance this kind of behavior.
Moreover, these events of Al Nakba day and Al Naksa day gave pointed meaning to Israel’s oft-repeated concerns about its need for defensible borders. The Palestinians and Syrians provided Israel with the best example it could ask for to demonstrate its case. Israel may have shot a few demonstrators in the legs as a last resort (following verbal warnings which went unheeded, shots in the air, and the use of tear gas other non-lethal force), but the Palestinians – and their paid and paying supporters – clearly shot themselves in the feet.