The death of 12 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after Israel bombed in what it called pre-emptive strike against the Islamic Jihad seemed like déjà vu. The Islamic Jihad responded with s barrage of rockets, but did not harms a single Israeli in response. Last year saw a similar episode, which led to an escalation to war. Calling it war was perhaps a misnomer, for it was nothing but a turkey shoot for Israeli pilots who had command of the air. This bombing did not provoke the ummah, and there was only one demonstration Amman. From a Muslim problem, it declined to an Arab problem, nd now is merely a Palestinian problem. It might be remembered that Amman would see protests, because the country contains a large number of people who still have refugee status.
Perhaps one problem the Palestinian people face is the lack of an identifiable symbol. One may disagree with his politics, especially towards the end of his life, but there is no doubt that Yasser Arafat, with his stubble, keffiyeh and pearl-handled revolver, was an easily identifiable icon of the Palestinian national struggle. The nearest person to be a replacement was Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, the Hamas founder. However, he was assassinated in 2004, leaving no one to act as a charismatic figure. PLO chief Mehmoud Abbas is one of the most senior Palestinian leaders, but his lack of a following among Palestinians prevent him from playing the required role.
The late Mr Arafat appealed to non-Muslim leftists, Sheikh Yassin to Islamists. Neither could manage to get Israel to allow for the Palestine people to exercise their right of national self-determination. So long as the Zionist entity continues to exist, that right will be given. Instead bombs will fall on flimsy excuses.