Palestine shatters the Arab conscience, and poses a troubling, even tormenting, question to the millions living between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf: are the Arabs really finished? Have they departed from the annals of history on their own two feet, with no coercion?
How can the Arabs be part of history, let alone create it, while their countries are slipping through their fingers on the basis of their position on Palestine? They have taken no action nor have they faced the world with all of their weapons. Instead, they have surrendered to Zio-American orders and Arab collusion on their land, their history and their fate.
The word "Palestine" was once the holy rallying call. When this name was mentioned, everyone — the young, the old, men, women, boys and girls who drank the name of Palestine with their mother's milk — would leap into action.
Last week, more than 60 people were martyred and thousands were wounded. They were all unarmed apart from stones. They were kept so far away from the nominal border that their stones could do no harm to any Israelis, soldiers or civilians, nor could they destroy or even damage the electrified fence built by Israel around Gaza in order to isolate the territory from the rest of Palestine.
What was the Arab response to this? There were no demonstrations organised in any Arab country. None of the countries with normalised relations considered severing their ties with Israel nor did they think of any action such as recalling their ambassadors. No Arab president or prime minister, king or emir made a statement or speech, or even took a public position condemning Israel's brutality, unlike those in some European and Asian countries. The streets of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad or Sanaa did not fill with the masses against the attack on their Palestinian brothers.
Even the radio and television stations reported events in Gaza as if it were just a regular news story, with no context before or after. Maybe one or two television stations disrupted their normal broadcast to let the audience know what was happening in Gaza, and perhaps some had a correspondent there to report live. But then they went back to their normal programming after making sure they got their "scoop".
Is this a state of numbness or unconsciousness? Is it fatigue or despair of one's self? Is it a denial of identity, a departure from history, or a request to be an entity or any other nationality unrelated to the Arabs?
We are talking here about Palestine, the land of religion and prophets. Palestine, where two divinely-inspired religions were bestowed upon two great prophets, while the Arab prophet was taken by the Almighty on his Night Journey from Makkah to Jerusalem, and from there to the highest heavens.
It is Palestine. Does Palestine need to be explained to the Arabs nowadays?
All of us Arabs in the East and the West have lost our identity and lineages with the loss of Palestine. We have become fragmented. There are hundreds of millions of us, but when it comes down to it, there is not one of us, because Palestine is "us".
Without Palestine, we are individuals with nothing in common, nothing to bring us together and link us. We are remnants of nations and tribes, with no history, identity or connection. We are not a nation at all.
Indeed, without Palestine, Arab Muslims do not belong to "the best nation [Ummah] brought forth to mankind" nor will we ever do so.
This article first appeared in Arabic in The Palestinian Information Centre on 21 May 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.