The images are depressingly familiar: Palestinian victims of Israeli aggression. However, there is a twist. These are Gazans, of whom more than 100 had been killed by Wednesday, the eighth day of the Israeli attacks. And when the ceasefire went into effect. The dead included pregnant women and children. They are Palestinians, who are supposed to have made peace with Israel, at the Oslo Peace Accords.

It is almost as if the images are meant to bolster the chances of incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu at the Israeli election falling due in January. Though the Zionist entity has been around since 1948, and fought with the neighbouring Arab States since 1956, and though it fought Palestinians in Lebanon, it has not been so violent with Palestinians in Gaza since 2008.

The Palestinians, there have not known how to behave themselves, not only having elected Hamas to office there, but demanding access to Egypt, from which the Zionist entity had conquered Gaza in 1967, along with the Golan Heights.

With the Golan Heights, not yet returned to Syria, it is inevitable that the effect on Syria is considered, and it is once again remembered that the Zionist entity was created on Palestine, which was itself carved out of the old Ottoman Syria, as was Lebanon. The big difference was that, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, Syria and Lebanon were given to France, and Palestine to the UK. Though it was not until 1948 that the Zionist entity came into being, it was facilitated in this by the UK, and it became the American outpost in the region.

The Zionist lobby being very strong in the USA, it is a virtual certainty that the attack on Gaza was only made after getting a go-ahead from Washington, and shows that Washington is now, perhaps, over the recent presidential election there. Apart from the US and Israeli elections, Hamas itself is holding internal elections, and unlike Barack Obama or Netanyahu, Khaled Mashaal is not standing for re-election. It cannot entirely be a coincidence that the attacks have come now.

The signal for the attacks was the killing in an air attack of Ahmad Jabbari, the Hamas Military Chief. This was followed by rocket attacks against Tel Aviv, which so caused no injuries, let alone deaths, and then the Israeli air strikes started. A ground attack by the Zionist entity was expected at any time, because one of the main objectives was to stop these rockets.

At the same time, Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi has launched an effort to end the fighting by a ceasefire. Such ceasefires are how such attacks usually end, as did the present, which ended with the Zionist entity absolved of blame. Indeed, the USA had, as was only to be expected, come out openly in support of the Zionist entity, claiming that it had a right to ‘defend itself.’

A ceasefire might stop rockets landing on the Zionist entity, even restore the mobility denied by Israel to Gaza residents, but it will not stop them continuing to build settlements designed to deprive the Palestinians of even the truncated state they had agreed to at Oslo.

But apart from the settlements, another factor has been to distract the attention of the Arab world from Syria, which is in the throes of a civil war, but also because there has been a re-alignment of the opposition with the Syrian National Council being replaced by a new body, and with a former prayer leader elected its head. The conference took place in the capital of Qatar, who is proving a reliable American ally, and which supports the Ikhwan, who have won in Egypt, but who were virtually eliminated in Syria. Support there is for Islam, but so far no party has taken hold of the country.

Whether part of anyone’s plan or not, the Israeli attacks on Gaza have acted to shift attention from Syria to the Palestinian issue. It must be kept in mind that the Palestinian issue is not only old, but it has been kept alive throughout the Arab world by a large Palestinian diaspora.

The attacks have been a test for Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi, who has been obliged to broker a ceasefire to preserve the peace treaty with Israel, which he is committed to uphold. In the process, he has not just opposed Hamas, which is the Palestinian equivalent of his own Ikhwan, but also the Gazans, who are linked by proximity even more to Egypt than other Palestinians.

The Islamic forces might see Mursi as a paladin, but so far, he has not taken any action that might afford Palestinians any relief, at least not when Israeli interests are thereby compromised. It is almost as if the Egyptian army is overawed by Israeli forces, which continued mobilising. It must not be forgotten that Egypt has only just gotten suppressed trouble in the Sinai region; a region which abuts Gaza, and which Egypt only recovered from Israel after recognising it and signing with it the peace treaty Mursi is so carefully defending.

Pakistan’s government is courting Mursi enough to invite him over, and for him to be accorded the honour of an address to a joint sitting of Parliament. However, at this juncture, Pakistan must not be content merely to follow the lead of the Arab countries on Palestine, but must remember that the Quaid-i-Azam saw Palestine as allied to the Kashmir issue, because both involved illegal occupations of Muslim lands. It was because of this that Pakistan helped the Arab countries raise the issue in the UN when it first arose.

However, both issues are seen by the ordinary Pakistani as of fellow Muslims.

Whereas Palestine may be more distant than Kashmir, it does include Jerusalem. However, it is this fellow feeling that is dangerous, not just for the Americans, Russians and Syrian leaders, but also for Arab leaders. It may be that those in Syria who are dying might not see it that way, but their fierce determination to try Islam in place of the Baathist socialism they have known for so many decades, has caused not just fear in the Assad regime, but also among the superpowers supporting it. This is the fear that Syria might be heading in the direction of a new caliphate.

Bashar al-Assad plays on this far when he says that the fall of his regime would mean turmoil ‘from the Atlantic to the Pacific’. That phrase in land terms echoes George Bush’s remark about ‘Morocco to the Philippines’. Especially after President Mursi showed his own inability to stop the Zionist entity doing what it wanted to Palestinians; Palestinians might realise that their only hope of a permanent solution lies in Muslim forces of a Muslim state. Otherwise, they will once again be subjected to similar treatment by Israelis.

It should not be forgotten that what has happened to the people of Gaza is not something that has happened for the first time. It seems almost as if the Zionist entity only agreed to the Oslo Accords because it could see that its army would perpetually dominate the Palestinian people in the land they were given. However, such is the grasping nature of those ruling the Zionist entity that they are not giving statehood even to the territories it forcibly occupied in 1967. This shows how they use their control of the USA to throw their weight around the region.

This should teach the Pakistan government and people certain valuable lessons. First, it is pointless to recognise Israel. Second, it is useless to expect US help in ending illegal occupations. Third, US friendship means being subordinate to the Zionist lobby.

The writer is a veteran journalist and founding member as well as executive editor of TheNation. Email: maniazi@nation.com.pk