by Khalid Amayreh
"Arab oil is not more important than Arab blood." These are the memorable words of the late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, uttered soon after the outbreak of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war in an effort to push the West, especially the United States, to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Arab land.
Faisal belonged to a generation of Arab leaders who knew the centrality of the Palestinian question to the survival and future of the Arab people. He also understood the ramifications and risks of challenging the American empire whose policies were influenced and controlled tightly by the Zionists then as, indeed, they are now. King Faisal paid with his life for daring to say "no" to the evil empire which masquerades as a force for democracy, freedom and justice while pursuing an agenda based on imperialism and neo-colonialism.
In 1975, he was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid, for unknown reasons, although it is widely believed that the latter was a pawn in an American conspiracy to assassinate the king who had adopted an uncompromising stance vis-à-vis Israel.
Today, more than ever before, the oil-rich Arab countries need the late king's shrewdness, wisdom and courage. He used to pray for martyrdom in Jerusalem; in many respects, he was a martyr for Jerusalem.
I know that this article may upset many so-called "khaleejis" who would argue vociferously but ignorantly that the wealth of the Khaleej (Arabian/Persian Gulf) belongs solely to them, and that non-Khaleej Arabs and Muslims have no rights over it.
That's very true if we adopt the parochial ideology of territorial nationalism as our way of life and substitute it for the Islamic concept which treats all Muslims as one Ummah (nation; people), not dozens of tribal states, each with its own national strategy and agenda. Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, "In their mutual love and compassion, Muslims are like a single body, so that whenever a part of that body suffers, the whole body will share the suffering and agony."
Today, the Gulf states, emirates and sheikdoms sell approximately $2 billion dollars' worth of crude oil every single day. This amount alone would free the Palestinians from financial enslavement under the Israel lobby-controlled US Congress, which is telling us that we must abandon the reconciliation agreement and resume civil war between Fatah and Hamas or America won't give us financial aid. In other words, if the Palestinian Authority (PA) wants to ensure continued American financial support, the people of Palestinian must spill their own blood by their own hands. The US Congress would love this because Israel would be the ultimate benefactor.
Similarly, the Israeli entity, run by increasingly fascist-like thugs hailing from Eastern Europe and Russia, is trying to choke the PA into acquiescence by withholding tax and customs money which the apartheid state collects on the Palestinians' behalf, pursuant to the scandalous Paris protocol signed in the mid-nineties.
Like Congress, the Israeli message is clear: if we, the Palestinians, desire to receive our own money and keep paying salaries to our civil servants and employees, then we must jump to the command of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the Holocaust. Put another way - and this will no doubt upset the Israel lobbyists in Europe - Palestinians must behave and act like the Judenräte, the Jewish-led councils formed by the Nazis in Europe to carry out anti-Jewish policies and pacify any Jewish resistance against the Third Reich. The Zionists in Israel and Washington want Palestinians to trade our freedom and dignity for the loaf of bread we feed our children before they go to school. Failure to comply with Zionist wishes means that they will try to starve us (or put us "on a diet" as one Israeli said about the siege of Gaza) and make us grovel at their feet.
The money needed for the salaries of Palestinian civil servants is not a great deal; it ranges between $120 and $150 million a month and a single Gulf state could pay that easily without suffering any financial hardship. Delivering the Palestinians from American-led financial blackmail would restore a semblance of self-esteem and free them and their leadership in Ramallah from the shackles of Israel's obsequious allies in Washington.
Failure to do so, on the other hand, simply because the Palestinians dared to achieve national reconciliation after four grim years, could force the Palestinians to seek help elsewhere. That may not bode well for our Khaleeji brothers, but what are the Palestinians supposed to do under such circumstances? Surrender to Zionist thugs who use financial blackmail to take the bread from our children?
It is time for the Gulf's political and cultural elites to wake up from their stupor and start thinking in strategic terms. If they don't, and the Gulf countries continue to pursue parochial policies based on tribalism and pseudo-nationalism, they are condemning themselves to the less-than-honourable attentions of foes from far and near. Without some Arab-Muslim depth, the existence of some of these states is precarious. Gulf leaders must internalise this fact before it is too late.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|