The Palestinian issue has long been called the central issue in the Arab world, but the relative lack of popular anger amid the ongoing Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip should serve as a wake-up call.
Gatherings of support for the Palestinians have taken place around the globe over the past few weeks. Arab countries have seen similar efforts, but they come nowhere near to matching what should be taking place, based on what has been said and written about Palestine over the years.
When non-Arabs stage such protest activities and present coherent arguments about why their governments should not support Israel, this can only help public opinion and hopefully lead to a change in policy.
But in this region, much more should be done to put forward a unified voice of outrage at what is taking place – with the complicity of the international community.
Thanks to technological developments, people today are interconnected as never before – but the same technology can divert people’s attention toward trivial things; the Arab world’s satellite television stations and social media reflect a huge level of interest in everything except Palestine at a time of crisis.
Naturally, people are entitled to ignore what is going on, but they should remember that the failure to solve the Palestine issue – which has been a catalyst for momentous developments in the region ever since 1947 – has long-term costs, and no amount of self-diversion and interest in trivialities can do away with this fact.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 23, 2014, on page 7.