Most Arab States Pay Only Lip Service to Palestinian Cause: UK Pundit

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A political analyst based in London deplored some Muslim states' inaction on the "diabolical" conditions of people in Gaza and Israel's massacre of Palestinians, saying that most Arab states do not take any practical step to back the defenseless people.

"The Arab world is not a homogeneous one; most Arab countries pay only lip service to the Palestinian cause, favoring, instead, their lucrative relations with the West, especially America," Marcus Papadopoulos said in an interview with the Tasnim News Agency. 

"The only Arab country which has remained steadfast in its commitment to the Palestinian people is Syria, while Iran, which is a non-Arab country, does more for the plight of the Palestinians than the whole Arab world put together, minus, of course, Syria," he added.   

Papadopoulos is a political expert and the publisher and editor of Politics First, a non-partisan publication for the UK Parliament.  He earned his MA in Modern History and his Ph.D. in Russian history from Royal Holloway, University of London.  His comments and interviews have appeared in various news outlets, including RT, Al Jazeera, Rossiya 24, TASS and RIA Novosti.

The following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: Israeli soldiers on Monday shot and killed another Palestinian near the Gaza border three days after they killed a 21-year-old medical nurse and injured dozens during mass protests in the same area. Since March 30, Israeli troops have killed at least 120 Palestinians during the demonstrations dubbed the “Great March of Return” along the Gaza border. Most of the dead and the thousands wounded were unarmed civilians against whom Israel was using excessive force. What is your assessment about the developments and the Israeli regime’s crimes?

Papadopoulos: I am disgusted by the latest bout of violence against the Palestinians. Indeed, any humane person, regardless of ethnicity or religion, cannot help but be appalled by the murdering, in cold blood, of unarmed civilians.  And the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza do constitute murder.  The Israel Defense Forces are one of the best trained and most skilled in the world hence its soldiers knew exactly that they were firing on civilians, such as the doctor and the nurse who were heinously cut down by Israeli bullets.  But let us be clear about something: the latest act of violence by Israel will continue to be repeated because Israel has unconditional support from America, and when a country has unconditional support from Washington, the country concerned feels emboldened to do almost anything, knowing that it is protected, by an impenetrable shield.  That factor, alone, spells indefinite misery for the Palestinian people, unless, of course, the blank check from America to Israel would be revoked, which, as we all know, will not happen.

Tasnim: The National Committee of the Great March of Return said the protests would not end until the world listens to the Palestinians’ legitimate demand for returning to their homeland and breaking the siege on Gaza. What do you think about the Palestinians’ demands?

Papadopoulos: Gaza is, in effect, the largest prison in the world, created and maintained by Israel.  The conditions of people living in Gaza are diabolical.  So it is little wonder why Palestinian officials are saying that the protests will continue unless Israel ends its siege on Gaza - and I support this stance.  But my fear is that with every protest, there is the real threat that the Israeli military will murder more Palestinian civilians, and that no decisive action will be taken by the major countries of the world against Israel for this.  But, conversely, if the Palestinians do not protest, then their voice will eventually be lost in the world, which is exactly what Israel, and its main backers, America and Britain, want to see happen.  The Palestinians are in a truly terrible situation.  Protest and be cut down by bullets; or do not protest and your cause will go unheard.

Tasnim: Israel has rejected international calls for probes into recent deaths and insisted that its open-fire rules for Gaza will not change. Some Western states, particularly the US and Britain, who call themselves champions of human rights, have supported the Tel Aviv regime’s crimes against Palestinians. The UN has also failed to restore the rights of the people. What do you think? What role can Muslim countries play in protecting the rights of the oppressed people of Palestine?

Papadopoulos: The Muslim world is not a homogeneous one.  Each Muslim country acts in accordance to its own self-interests, as does each Christian country.  It is an illusion to think that Muslim countries are striving to end the suffering of the Palestinians because they are simply not; they are, instead, striving to become more prosperous, as all countries are.  Further to that, the Arab world is not a homogeneous one; most Arab countries pay only lip service to the Palestinian cause, favoring, instead, their lucrative relations with the West, especially America.  The only Arab country which has remained steadfast in its commitment to the Palestinian people is Syria, while Iran, which is a non-Arab country, does more for the plight of the Palestinians than the whole Arab world put together, minus, of course, Syria.  So where does that leave the Palestinians?  Well, justice is on their side - and this is crucial.  And as a result of alternative media and social media, Israel is feeling the heat over its abominable treatment of the Palestinians.  Now, I am not saying that Israel will relent from what it is doing in Gaza because it is now under the scrutiny of, for instance social media, but it does mean that Israel's behavior is not going unnoticed in the eyes of the world.  Alas, that constitutes hope, in what is, otherwise, an almost hopeless situation for the Palestinians.

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