Gaza Crisis and International Order: Hegemony and Resistance

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dr. Seyed Mohammad Kazem Sajjadpour

The Gaza crisis which is undoubtedly one of the gravest human tragedies in history is a multi-layer and compound crisis. One layer relates to the human, ethical and emotional aspects of the crisis. This level rends the heart of any human being. The injustice done to the Palestinians roused the wrath and anguish of any human with the least emotions. Here, to be indifferent does not make any sense!

However, the crisis in Gaza has other layers as well, namely political, strategic, regional and international. In these layers, there are dozens of questions concerning the motive of the players, the rules of the game as well as the internal and external environments. Perhaps, one of the main questions here is the relationship of the Gaza crisis with the international order. How can we analyze the Gaza crisis from the viewpoint of international order?

In reply to this question, it must be said that the Gaza crisis is a reflection of hegemony and resistance. The present international order which is rooted in sovereignty and central part of Western countries over the past few centuries encountered huge challenges after global expansion of colonialism. Almost all the former colonies under domination of sovereign countries in the international order eventually gained independence thanks to the ceaseless struggles of the people and took control of their own fate. Of course, the independence was not gained easily and none of the colonialist states voluntarily offered independence to their former colonies. It was the tireless and bloody struggles which forced the colonialists to given in to the new conditions. Although, the post-independence situation in many countries faced numerous challenges (and still does), however, the Western hegemony was shattered in all of them thanks to the popular resistance.

Hegemony and resistance, however, still continue in the Middle East and have assumed different forms. The Gaza crisis has displayed the phenomenon of hegemony and crisis in this region which is without doubt the most international region in the world. The Palestinians still do not exercise control over their land and their fate but put up a lasting resistance vis-à-vis international hegemonic powers. Let’s not forget that Israel is a manifestation and center of gravity of the Western hegemonic system in this region. Until some time ago, Israel refused to even admit a reality called Palestinians. But the resistance put up by the Palestinians gradually forced Israel and its supporters to accept many realities about Palestine and its people. Nevertheless, the real right of this innocent people has not been recognized and their preliminary rights are being breached tyrannically. All the hegemonic powers share the same stance in trampling upon the rights of the Palestinians. One of these common points is that all the major Western states are opposed to the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland. This is a blatant hegemonic tendency and wherever there is hegemony and domineering there is resistance too.

The relationship between the Gaza crisis and the international order should not be limited to the struggle of the Palestinian people and the hegemonic powers within the territorial domain of Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the Occupied Territories. Beyond this crisis, hegemony and resistance can be clearly seen within the regional and international dimensions. The people of the Middle East, Muslims all over the world, the developing countries and freethinkers within the Western societies should be seen within the perspective of hegemony and resistance. A minority, namely the hegemonic Western powers are trying to impose their will on the majority of the world. The policies of Israel are precisely a feedback of this hegemonic tendency and these policies are faced with global opposition and resistance.

In addition to what was mentioned, the Gaza crisis and the international order can be pondered upon from another dimension too, namely duplicity of their yardsticks and actions. It seems as though humanitarian rules and regulations are not supposed to be carried out in this region. Failure to execute these laws in this region exposes the presence of double standards. Attacks on women and children cannot be justified in terms of humanitarian laws at all but it is done and justified by the hegemonic powers in Gaza.

Another illuminating angle in the relationship between the international order and the Gaza crisis should be sought in the role played by various actors. The international, regional and local players expose their particular nature in one way or the other. The case of the international hegemonic players is clear. Among the regional players, the role played by the Egyptian government has astronomical distance from its real and natural weight. And yet, the main players are the people of Palestine and residents of Gaza themselves who challenge the global and regional hegemonies through their brave resistance.


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