By: Dr. Sami A. Al-Arian

Voices/ January 2024

This week marks the 16th week of the incessant bombardment and destruction of human life in Gaza by the most immoral army in the world. It is worth taking a stock of 10 lessons we should learn from this painful experience.

First, the Zionist supremacist ideology, and its illegitimate racist regime, is at the root of the problem. Its insistence on dominating, subjugating, and displacing the Palestinians makes the ideology incurable and an existential threat, not only to the Palestinians, but also as the primary source of wars, conflicts and destabilization in the whole region and across many parts of the world.

Second, the US is not just an empire trying to maintain its global hegemony, and oppressive regional order through mostly tyrannical allies. Its blind support of and complicity in Israel’s genocidal and brutal actions reveals what it is willing to do to achieve its objective of total domination regardless of any consequences. In its embrace of Israel’s atrocities in Gaza and beyond, the US  has forfeited any moral authority it may have claimed in the past. As it continues to shield Israel and provide it with weapons of death and destruction, it has effectively proclaimed itself an enemy not only to the Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims, but also to all anti-imperialist and pro-justice and human rights people around the world.

Third, the hypocrisy of governments across Europe, but particularly in the UK and Germany, have once again been exposed, and their true racist nature made transparent. American and European rhetoric about respect for human rights, democratic values, rule of law, freedom of expression, diversity, adherence to liberal and secular ideals, and support of international institutions has been shown to be hollow, and a tool to uphold their claimed tribal and ethnic superiority, as well as to maintain their hegemony and control over the Global South.

Fourth, Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and everywhere else, are determined to resist their occupiers and invaders, and defend their rights until they are free and independent. No amount of Israeli violence or terror will stop their march towards gaining their freedom, dignity, independence and self-determination.


Fifth, Arab and Islamic countries are too compromised, too weak, too divided, or tribal to make a real difference in this enduring conflict and fulfill their peoples’ demands and hopes.

These governments and regimes fall into the following categories:

a) Normalizers or would-be normalizers: These regimes are basically in the enemy’s camp. They share their objectives, cover for their crimes, and continue to coordinate with them to undermine the resistance.

b) Governments that have a degree of independence and moral clarity, as well as enough political, economic or military leverage to pressure the Zionist state and their backers, but lack the will. This is because of either miscalculated self-interest, or an unwillingness to pay the price that could be exacted for standing up in support of their declared ideals and principles.

c) Governments that want to do the right thing, but are too weak or too remote to do anything of consequence in the current conflict.

d) Governments (or powerful entities within them), which are part of the so-called Resistance Axis, that have backed up their principled positions with real actions on the ground to support the people of Gaza against Israeli aggression. Even though their contributions have been limited in scope due to strategic reasons or balance of power considerations, their impact has not been negligible, and has indeed increased pressure on Israel in order to ease Palestinian suffering or force concessions.

Sixth, the barbarity and brutality of Israeli aggression has also exposed Arab and Islamic social and political movements in all their currents, whether Islamist, nationalist, leftist, or liberal, as well as Islamic scholars, public intellectuals, and political elites, as too weak, too divided, too ignorant, or in some cases even as hypocritical and compromised. In too many cases, they demonstrate a lack of strategic understanding and direction, as well as utter impotence or total absence of leadership and creativity. Fault lines within Muslim societies such sectarianism, tribalism, narrow nationalist attitudes, or rabid anti-religious discourse, have reared their ugly heads and become too widespread to sow discord and undermine the unity needed to confront the Israeli-Western onslaught and humiliation of the Arab and Islamic world.

Seventh, the sentiment of much of Arab and Muslim populations of over 1.8 billion people have clearly been in support of the people of Gaza and the Palestinian struggle. But the overwhelming majority of them have been too frustrated with their governments or too disappointed with their leaders. Sooner or later these frustrations and disappointments will be transformed into powerful political forces of enormous changes across the region. But contrary to the so-called Arab Spring phenomenon, this time the demarcation of friend and foe will be much clearer. Expunging foreign control and confronting outside influence must take priority and urgency over any other issue.

Eighth, the world is now being rapidly transformed. Public awareness across the world has been awakened, while global conscience has been aroused after decades of brainwashing, deception, and lies. After more than 100 days of continuous massacres, millions of people around the world have now become foot soldiers calling for Palestinian rights and an end to the Zionist nightmare. This movement is global in nature, reaching all corners of the world. It will continue to expand. No other issue today is more popular, widespread, or capable of uniting people of conscience around the world or those yearning for freedom, justice and human dignity.

Ninth, there are three possible scenarios moving forward, all of which lead, over time, to the same outcome. The current American scheme is to support the annihilation of the Palestinian resistance and integrate Israel into the American-led regional order as they push towards the so-called two-state solution. But the resistance cannot be extinguished. The people in the region are rejecting Israel’s hegemony and genocidal actions, while the two-state solution is way too little and too late to become a reality or viable. With the failure to force a massive Palestinian expulsion, or cause a second Nakba, there will be a global call for a single democratic state. But the arrogant Israeli body politic, its racist society, and their Zionist supporters across the world, will flatly reject that call because it would be the end of the Zionist dream of Jewish supremacy in historic Palestine. That leaves the only way forward being the continuous struggle to de-Zionize the society and dismantle its racist and Apartheid-like regime in the land. In all three scenarios, the US-led international order will continually be weakened and replaced with a more just and equitable global order. 

Finally, in the quest against the forces of imperialism, racism, exploitation, and hegemony, Palestine is increasingly becoming the most important international symbol in the struggle of truth over falsehood, justice against oppression, freedom overcoming enslavement, and genuine peace and harmony replacing devastating wars and endless conflicts.

To continue marching forward in the struggle for a free Palestine, it’s crucial to comprehend and absorb these lessons, as they will have important consequences for the future of the enterprise to dismantle Zionist structures. As Nelson Mandela once reminded his people about the struggle ahead, Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up.”

He is Public Affairs Professor and Director of the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Zaim University.

He received his PhD in Computer Engineering in 1986 and was a tenured academic in the US for two decades receiving best teaching awards at the University of South Florida (1993 and 1994) and several grants, as well as having over forty publications to his credit.

During his four decades in the US (1975-2015), Dr. Al-Arian founded numerous institutions and publications in the fields of education, research, religion and interfaith, as well as civil and human rights. He was a prolific speaker across many US campuses, especially on Palestine, Islam and the West, and Civil Rights. In 2001, he was named by Newsweek the “premiere civil rights activist” in the US for his efforts to repeal the use of Secret Evidence in immigration courts. In 2012, he was profiled by historians in the Encyclopedia of American Dissidents as one of only three Muslims in the US out of 152 dissidents and prisoners of conscience that were included in the series in the past century (along with Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali).  His US story was featured in 2007 in the award-winning documentary “US vs. Al-Arian,” and in 2016 in the book “Being Palestinian.”

Dr. Al-Arian has written several studies and numerous articles focusing on US foreign policy, Palestine, and the Arab Spring phenomena. His book of poetry on Spirituality, Palestine, and Human Rights Conspiring Against Joseph was published in 2004. He is also the author of The Arab Awakening Unveiled: Understanding Transformations and Revolutions in the Middle East, Washington, DC, American Educational Trust, 2013 (under a pen name) and The United States and Israel: From Enabler to Strategic Partner, IZU Publications, 2019.


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