The number of Palestinian causalities is high compared to previous Israeli attacks; 385 killed and more than 1750 injured (these numbers are valid at 31 December) . The majority of the Arab masses are only observing what is going on, with a lot of outrage and anger. This is due mainly to the general atmosphere of fear and their marginalization that is strongly maintained by the ruling elites. Only a small minority of politically active individuals are participating in the protests on the streets and these are mainly Islamic activists.
This can be understood in two ways. On one hand, Hamas, which is leading the Gaza strip, can be understood as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the biggest Islamic organization that enjoys an influential presence in the biggest Islamic countries, usually in an illegal way. On the other hand, it can also be seen that the left in Arab and Islamic countries has changed deeply since the fall of Soviet Union. A big part of it shifted from the traditional reformist policies of Stalinist parties to embrace the neo-liberal policies of the mainstream tendency of globalization, but kept the same old tactics: looking for compromises with the ruling elites, or promoting a “democratic” change based primarily on the neo-liberal policies and accepting American, or in general Western, intervention as the main way of imposing such “change”. To be fair, there is a tendency creating some influence from Trotskyism and, to a lesser extent, Anarchism – but these new tendencies are still very weak and elitist and lack any important presence or influence on the grassroots movements of the masses.
In fact, the Arab masses have been left to the propaganda of Islamists. Both liberal and the majority of ex-leftist intellectuals opted to support the policies of the pro-American “moderate” governments. Meanwhile those leftists who consider themselves as anti-imperialist acted as mere supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah and failed to distinguish themselves from these Islamists, or, even more, failed to promote a real democratic and progressive approach to and understanding of the ongoing fight.
It is clear that despite the promises of Hamas, promises that come out of their Islamic religious teachings not from the facts on ground, Israelis enjoy the upper hand and that their forces, with their determination to inflict as many causalities and as much harm as they can on the one and half million poor residents of Gaza, can defeat the resistance in Gaza. Pro-American regimes, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are doing anything they can to make the mission of Israeli forces as easy as possible. For example, the Egyptian regime is keeping the crossings bver Egypt’s border with the Gaza strip closed to humanitarian aid in order to keep the people of Gaza facing hunger, darkness and the cold weather, which can weaken their resistance and create resentment against Hamas’ leadership.
These corrupt dictatorships became today symbols of “modernity” by neo-liberals as their master – the Bush administration and its first ally in the region, Israel, the butchers of Gaza. This proved to be the best propaganda Islamists received in these days. Of course, Islamic fundamentalists do not have real solutions, neither a democratic one, to the crisis, or even to the issues of fighting poverty or social injustice. However, due to the weakness of the left here, and its vague understanding, and their proposed alternative view of these issues which is strongly influenced by Stalinism and reformism, these Islamists are now in the first line of the demonstrations against the American-backed Israeli aggression . This only reaffirms the importance of organizing anarchist propaganda and activities , that can , by word and deed , demonstrate a new libertarian alternative to both neo-liberalism and fundamentalism .