1 - I am writing this while mourning the sacrifices made in Ghazza. I am not undertaking this to censure or to revolt against what happened, rather, in reflection and consideration. Many readers will not like what I am writing, but it is the duty of who engages in reform to write candidly in what he/she believes in, whether the approval of the masses was won or their anger.
‘Hamas’, the ruling party in Ghazza, had managed to form a government under the impression of being an authority bound by international peace treaties. However, ‘Hamas’ ended up battling the Palestinian Authority (in the West Bank), and eventually breaking up its union with the Authority, and engaging in a preordained losing war with Israel. ‘Hamas’ had agreed to a cease fire with Israel, but then it broke that agreement, resulting in Israel directing a devastating strike against ‘Hamas’. Since Israel was the more powerful of the two, it chose to hold off its fire any time it wished. Indeed, Israel’s attack was ceased, on Sunday, January 18, 2009, in deference to the festivities of the Inauguration of the new President of the US in Washington, DC.
2 - ‘Hamas’, as a ruling and a responsible body, had the option to raise the standard of living of the people in Ghazza, even though it is solely a branch of the Authority in the West Bank headed by Mahmood Abbass. Indeed, there had been plans made with Israel, to raise the standard of living of the people in Ghazza and the West Bank to that of the Arabs inside Israel. Those plans aimed at developing and converting Ghazza to a free international market, in addition to setting up industrial and export projects. However, ‘Hamas’ repudiated its constitutional role, and hoisted its status above that of the Authority to which it is subservient. That action by ‘Hamas’ resulted in the blockade of its territory by Israel, who eventually, destructed the towns and villages, slaughtered and injured thousands of innocent inhabitants young and old. ‘Hamas’ could have instead, protected its citizens, saved their lives, and provided for them decent living conditions.
The analysis of the stance of ‘Hamas’ vis-a-vis Israel’s, must begin with understanding of the differences of the two cultures. The one is the “masses value” principle held by the Arabs and the Muslims; and the other is the “value of the individual”, that of the West, from Israel on to Europe and North America.
3 – In step with the culture of ‘the masses values’, ‘Hamas’ declared that it was victorious over Israel, despite the death of hundreds and injury of thousands of its citizens, and the immense destruction of the cities. Incidentally, in comparison, the loss to the other side, Israel’s, was negligible.
However, according to the ‘values of the individual’ principle, Israel eagerly protects the safety of every citizen, whether it were an Arab or a Jew. Also, it avenges severely to protect the life of every citizen, whether he/she were a soldier or a civilian. The ‘Hamas’ primitive, randomly and haphazardly lobed missiles did not reach the mid-part of Israel, where the ’48-Arabs live in the protection of the Israeli government. However, Hizb-allah missiles did kill some Arabs in 2006. Israel could have carried out an aerial city-war against the cities of Ghazza – as what Saddam Housain had done during his war with Iran – as well, Israel could totally obliterate all of Ghazza, had she not been observing the ‘values of the individual’ principle which calls for, among other concepts, the safety of Muslim individuals.
4 – The real struggle between Israel’s ‘values of the individual’ principle, and ‘Hamas’ ‘masses value’ culture is revealed very clearly here. Ghazza is the most populated area in the world. ‘Hamas’ hid in that densely populated land, and from there haphazardly sent its missiles against Israel. Israel, meanwhile, could have answered back with her more potent missiles to destroy every location from which a ‘Hamas’ missile was fired. That would have been an easy military task. However, Israel chose a more difficult option: it confined its assault against ‘Hamas’ elements only, while they –‘Hamas’- moved their missile platforms from a mosque to a school, to a building-top in the midst of the densely populated cities. Obviously, the Israeli army was closely observing ‘Hamas’ fighters’ moves, and were chasing them with their own missiles.
‘Hamas’, in so doing, followed purposely the ‘masses value’ concept. ‘Hamas’ victories came not as a result of protecting the children, women, and old people of Ghazza, but rather through her ability to exploit the victims of Ghazza, exhibiting to the world stage a grieving nation, thus aiming to censure Israel. Finally, ‘Hamas’ was hoping to receive monetary, as well as, ideological support from Arab and non-Arab sources. Meanwhile, ‘Hamas’ was watching Israel as she stumbles defending its actions on world media, and justifying the killing of innocent Ghazza citizenry. And so, the real culprit in exposing Ghazza citizens to danger is let slip through free.
While the number of Ghazza victims could not be fairly compared to the many thousands of victims of Saddam, of Al-basheer of Sudan, or of other Arab rulers, nevertheless, their effect is devastating. Their blood is not on the hands of Israel, but on ‘Hamas’ hands. ‘Hamas’, knowing the superiority of Israel’s military machine, engaged Israel in a battle she could not win, thus gambling with the lives of the people of Ghazza.
The sad but funny fact is that, ‘Hamas’ had built bunkers for the protection of its military leaders, but not for the population at large, where-as Israel had built bunkers for the protection of all of its citizens! ‘Hamas’ goal was to have the greatest number of fallen victims to win sympathy, politically as well as through world media. That was the ‘cheap’ victory, ‘Hamas’ leader Ismael Haniya, talked about while walking around inspecting the dead bodies scattered throughout the rubbles of Ghazza.
5 - ‘Hamas’ will further be assured of its victory if/and when Israel calls its military and civilian leaders to account for any failure during the military campaign. The ‘values of the individual’ philosophy, dictates that the Israeli government lays a heavy load of responsibility on the shoulders of its leaders to protect the safety and life of all Israeli individuals. Israel also protects the remains of any dead person, if that takes place on Israeli land, and strives to bring back home any remains if the death occurs on foreign land. Consequently, any failure by any leader to carry out that responsibility will require bringing him/her to trial.
That kind of philosophy is not known to the Arab despots. Indeed, they set up instead, secretive and mass burial places for their citizens. They provide prisons and secretive death chambers for their citizens, rather than protection and housing facilities. And yet, no one is supposed to question these despots’ activities, and the death of family members.
The ‘masses value’ principle held by the Arabs, explains the bringing of any responsible leader to trial for his/her negligence in Israel, as admitting of defeat by Israel. ‘Hizb-allah’, for example, considered the bringing of the military leaders to trial in Israel after the Israeli war with them, as a declaration of defeat of Israel. They conveniently overlooked their own military defeat, and the destruction of Beirut and other Lebanese cities, roads, bridges and civic infra-structures. Most important issue to them was the safety of the leader, sitting on his throne, regardless of the death of half of the masses. Meanwhile, the leader, or whoever aspires to the leadership, spouts out meaningless and impossible to fulfil promises, so they sacrifice even more of their members for his continued rule.
Thousands of victims were perished in Lebanon during the war waged by Israel against Hizb-allah, but Hassan Nasr-allah, Hizb-allah’s leader, remained alive, giving speech after speech proclaiming his victory, while surrounded by hundreds of thousands of his supporters shouting for his long life. No one among them, of course, inquired about those who lost their lives. Hassan Nasr-allah emerged from the one-sided war even stronger than he was before the war. His support inside Lebanon too, increased over that period, the support which spilled over to other Arab countries.
6 – The ‘masses value’ principle was demonstrated in an amusing way during Saddam’s wars. Saddam, without any convincing reason, attacked Iran. Shortly after the war started, Saddam was defeated. But, because Saddam, Khomeiny, and their respective governments Iraq and Iran, all believed in the ‘masses value’ principle, the two adversaries competed with each other about the number of foot-soldiers throne into the battle field. Iran’s Khomeiny induced his adolescent men to go to the front, carrying no arms, proceed ahead of the marching army, to wade through the mines-saturated fields, exposing them to certain death. All this, under the pretext to have the youths die as martyrs defending their country, while actually enabling the regular army to advance with little or no loss of lives.
Saddam, meanwhile, had hundreds of thousand of Iraqi Kurds and Shiites killed, because he suspected their allegiance to him. In addition, he had a number of his top ranking officers killed, because they deserted the fight with Iran. Then he attacked Kuwait with his army, an attack which ended in his retreat, but again, he declared victory in ‘the mother of all wars’, even though his country was blockaded by the US forces as a result of his aggression.
The irony of that war was, the victor, the American President George H. W. Bush, managed to lose the second term election, while the loser of the war, Saddam Housain, survived to carry on his rule. Eight years later however, George W. Bush waged war on Iraq to avenge his father’s unfinished war, ending Saddam’s rule. Saddam was found hiding in a hole in the ground, bewildered and resigned to accept his fate. Had he any self-respect or honour, he would have committed suicide. He lost every respect, even though he still commanded the love of some die-hards.
7 – Abd el-Naser too, was defeated back in the ’56 war. He lost Sinai to Israel, who later returned most of it, but kept the village of Umm Rashrash which Israel renamed Elat. By taking port of Elat, Israel secured for itself the right of its ships to sail through from Tiran to Bab al-Mandab to the Bay of Aden. In spite of that loss, Egypt still celebrates every December 23rd the victory over the triumvirate: Israel, Great Britain, and the United States. Abdel-Naser emerged the hero worthy of respect! This is the culture that idolizes the ruler over the citizens. Abd el-Naser’s victory seized the better part of him, he ruled his country like any despotic pharaoh: “For he made light of his folk, yet they obeyed him; they were impious folks” (The Qor-aan chapter 43, verse 54). Had the Egyptian people believed in the culture of ‘the value of the individual’ the result would have been different. Other people would have said: “He made light of them, so they killed him.” Such is the culture of the value of the masses.
The ‘masses value’ culture of the Middle East has produced not only Naser, Housain, Khomeiny, Nasr-allah, Haniya, or Abbass, but also Kathafy, Basheer, and few others. We call here ‘the masses value’, they called it ‘Arab Nations’ and the ‘Islamic People’. Leaders of both are in perpetual fight for the control of the masses of the Arabs and masses of the Muslims. Abd el-Nasser tried very hard to control the Arabs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Gulf, instead of confining himself to rule Egypt only. His effort ended in Ghazza and the Western Bank in a dismal failure. Nasser had other aspiring imitators such as Yasser Arafat and Yasser Abd Rabboh. They all believed in, and practiced, the culture of the ‘masses value’. Let us not forget to add, last but not least, the Wahabi movement of Saudi Arabia, which has produced the ‘Muslim Brethren’ who created cells in different local and international areas. The ‘Muslim Brethren’ was organized by Hassan al-Banna in Egypt as a local movement, and evolved more recently into an international “Al Qaeda” organization. Then there are other factions sprouting out of the main principles such as the Movement of the Liberation of Palestine and the Hamas...they all aspire to control the masses. In spite of their differing political stripes, the Wahabi / Sunni ideology unite them all under the same banner. Incidentally, the leaders of the Wahabi movement aspire to influence the entire Muslim world, from Indonesia to Senigal, from Pakistan to Shoshenia and Bosnia, and from Kenya to Uganda.
The culture of the ‘masses value’ is actually the culture of slavery and servitude; the culture of submissiveness, and despotic rule; the culture of dictators and worship of the masters and heroes. All this is contrary to the teachings of the Qor-aan and Islam. The religion of Islam teaches freedom, democracy, justice and rights of the individual. We have written about these topics repeatedly over a quarter of a century, and have ascertained the ‘value of the individual’ in Islam, the culture that the western nations believe in.
The Quran asserts that man was created as individuals: each one is differentiated from the others, for example, by his/her unique thumb-print, sound of speech, eye pupil, the lips, the forehead ...etc. Also, man arrives at Judgement Day individually, just as he was born individually, (The Qor-aan, chapter 6, verse 94). Further, “Everyone In Heavens and the earth, each will proceed to the Ever Mercy-giver as a subject. He has enumerated them and counted each; and all are arriving on Resurrection Day individually.” (The Qor-aan chapter 19, verses 93-95).
Lastly, for how long will the individual Arab and Muslim remain a cheap victim of those despots? For how long will he die, while he is shouting ‘long live’ the tyrants? For the sake of the glory of those tyrant leaders, Ghazza is sacrificed with the thousands of dead and injured victims; thousands of Egyptians languish in inhumane prisons and thousands die; thousands of Iraqis and Iranians die on the battle fields, and in their villages, and in prisons; thousands of Iraqis flee for their lives to other countries, leaving behind everything: dear or of little value; thousands of Sudanese starve to death... all of the masses losses for the individual leaders stay in their palaces till death takes them over. The culture of the masses’ value be damned.