I tried to run away from the small corpses. We have grown tired of laments. We have spent a lifetime going from one funeral to another. Anger and tears do nothing to heal the wounds. No sooner do we send off a victim than we are confronted with an uglier massacre. It is as though this terrible Middle East is addicted to the blood of the innocent.
I tried to turn away to another scene. I wrote about the latest chapter in the conflict in Iraq. America avenged its three soldiers and is seeking to withdraw from the country it invaded in 2003. It is obvious that Tehran lured Washington into a battle it cannot win and that it washed its hands clean from the practices of its proxies deployed in the maps of the “resistance.”
I was reminded that yesterday was the anniversary of the victory of the Khomeini revolution in Iran on February 11, 1979. One can’t review the past decades in the region without pausing at this date. The scene doesn’t need much explanation. Iran in Iraq is more powerful than the Iraqi state. It is more powerful in Syria than the Syrian state. It is more powerful in Lebanon than the Lebanese state and more powerful than the Houthis in Yemen. It is smarter and power powerful than its allies or proxies. It arranges the feast, but doesn’t leave any of its marks behind.
The tour of Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to the capitals of the “resistance” reveals the new features of this part of the region. He spoke innocently, as if he were the foreign minister of Austria. He stressed the need for stability and avoiding slipping into the abyss. He revealed that his country had exchanged message with the United States in recent weeks. He said Washington had asked Tehran to intervene with Hezbollah in Lebanon to prevent the eruption of a widescale war. It is not easy to plan wars in parallel to the one raging in Gaza.
I tried and failed to escape the tale of Hind Rajab. She threw the story of her six years in the face of the modern world and the age of artificial intelligence and Elon Musk’s chips. She threw it in the face of the international jungle and Benjamin Netanyahu. Her story has become attached to the world’s conscience. The great authors never wrote a more harrowing and painful story.
Hind was deluded into believing that there are areas in Gaza that are less dangerous than others. She fled with her relatives from the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood to escape or postpone death. Death has no right to visit her. She is not a “terrorist” and has nothing to do with the tunnels. She did not take part in the Al-Aqsa Flood operation or any other operation.
She was just like any other child who dreamed of a day without planes and artillery. She was content with the meagerest of toys and of sleeping on the best pillow, which was her mother’s arm. She wanted to go to school and play games. She was unaware of the decision taken by the one who sparked the second Nakba. Gaza is no place to live. Gaza is where everything that moves is killed. Gaza is the place where children are killed so they don’t learn about the nation.
Her story has become well known. The passengers of a car are killed in a hail of bullets. Only Hind and another child survive. They begged for someone to come rescue them. The Red Crescent sent two of its paramedics to rescue them, but they were killed on the way. Hind’s relative died while she lived among the corpses for days. No one came and her fate was sealed. When the occupation forces withdrew from the area, her small corpse was retrieved from among the others.
Netanyahu’s war on Gaza has produced thousands of small corpses. The war he launched on October 7 has killed children in their homes, shelters and on the streets. The refugees fled from one death trap to another. Netanyahu speaks of “total victory” and is bent on waging a battle on Rafah as the world holds its breath that it would turn into an endless sea of corpses.
Almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza. The number of people killed per day has surpassed that of other conflicts. This war has set itself apart by the number of children it has claimed. Stopping the war has become more pressing than ever. Committing a horrific massacre in Rafah will plant in the region the seeds of future unprecedented conflicts. A political process must be launched. The war on Gaza must be the last one to erupt in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and it must pave the way for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Ending the war will be difficult with the fighters so deep in it and when it is now bordering on a fight for existence. It will be difficult when many involved find it impossible to live under the same roof or in two adjacent houses. But experience has shown that attempts to eliminate the other are impossible.
Netanyahu did not launch this destructive war so that he would one day surrender to a Palestinian state whose foundations he has spent his life trying to destroy. Yehya al-Sinwar did not fire the first shot to be later asked to abandon Gaza in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state, whose existence would hinge on the recognition of Israel.
The battle for an independent state is the only way to stop the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli wars. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state is necessary for the Palestinians and the region, which has been unstable since the rise of the Jewish state. Joe Biden’s administration must move on from condemning Israel’s excessive response to openly recognizing the Palestinian state and approving a path that would lead to its establishment.
The Arabs must also wage this battle by harnessing energies and addressing the world in a united voice which was sought by the Arab-Islamic summit that was hosted by Riyadh soon after the eruption of the war in Gaza.
Israel must be confronted with the inescapable truth that was put forth by the historic statement issued by Saudi Arabia in which it stressed the need to recognize a Palestinian state above all else before establishing permanent peace that would include the normalization of relations. The Arab and Islamic world must throw its weight in the balance, taking advantage of the several factors in its favor, including Saudi Arabia’s Arab, Islamic and international influence. The Palestinian state would return the Palestinian card to its people and land. The Palestinian state would ease instability in the region.
The best way to honor Hind’s small corpse would be for her to be buried in the soil of an independent Palestinian state. This state alone can stop the flow of corpses and give hope to the children of Gaza, the West Bank and beyond.