By Shahab Jafry
It no longer matters what jolted the Arab conscience into revolt — food inflation, political victimization, decades of brute puppet regimes — as the political calculus of US/EU backed family regime model is on the verge of a phenomenal, permanent paradigm shift. As if the latest fashion, nature itself seems conspiring, pushing young and old, men and women into the open across the region. Along with strongmen armed and nurtured by the west, a prominent casualty of the uprisings will be the set of arrangements that has helped hold the regional status quo for at least three good decades, the prime purposes of which have been ensuring command and control over oil supplies and safeguarding Israeli sovereignty.
Already unnerved, Tel Aviv will panic when the momentum of the Arab street spills over into Palestine and ignites the powder keg of public alienation, frustration and political impotence. Bled for decades by leaders that turned out treacherous turncoats, the Palestinian youth is by far the most embittered with long-held regional realities. More importantly, it has the least to lose with successive generations subsisting in virtual prisons. The rage festering since the Hamas-Fatah civil war that followed the ’06 landslide and the shameless betrayal exposed by the Palestinian papers mutated the helplessness of the dispossessed into an anger not before known in Gaza and the west bank.
While protests so far have aimed at regime change, the Palestinian uprising will have no formal governance structure to uproot, let alone replace with more credible alternatives. It will be a mass rejection of the marketing team that once advertised the Nakba into a romance of sorts, only to insult and embarrass more than half a century of blood, sweat and tears.
Then it will definitely steamroll into Israel, with the Jewish state’s usual resort to brute force only serving to increase the intensity of the struggle. Already, Netanyahu’s administration is trying to preempt the inevitable in typically self-destructive fashion, playing the Arab-rights and settlement gambits in a manner that will increase Israel’s international isolation.
Ironically, Israeli government officials continue to overlook the most crucial development that the uprisings have already brought about atop Capitol Hill, where the Zionist lobby no longer commands the kind of influence it did until very, very recently. Mubarak’ fall epitomized Washington’s new dilemma — a world where it will have to abandon Arabian knights in favor of peoples’ democratic aspirations. In time, when enough Arabs march upon Jerusalem and brave day after day of tear gas and baton charges, there will be precious little wealthy, influential Zionists can do in Washington to avert a major novelty in middle eastern history.
There will be no stopping this Arab spring. Though momentarily stalled in Libya and Bahrain, it will advance, across the Saudi orthodoxy, reorienting politics in kingdom-statelets, upsetting oil deals sealed over decades, rubbishing arms sales that define the political economy of two regions, and finally snowball into Israeli mainland. It seems the time has come for the Arab street to turn a new leaf in the region’s history, too uninspiring for far too long.
In this shift lies an important lesson. The subjugation, exile and embarrassment of the Palestinians have reached an unprecedented level, provided cover by superpower veto, aid and media. With nobody coming to their rescue, especially from brother Arab governments that sold out to American interests too easily and cheaply, it is one of nature’s great ironies that the very people marginalized and insulted by their own rulers as well as foreign, have risen to shake the region at its very foundations. As the people awake from their long slumber, and puppets hostaged in castles built on sand collapse, the road of insurrection will led to Jerusalem.
– Jafry Shahab is a freelance writer based in Dubai. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: [email protected]