Funnily enough, comparing the number of Arab people killed during the wars between Israel and Arab countries with the number of Arabs killed locally, one will notice that Arab dictatorships have killed more people.
Sadly enough, some Arab armies and security services have proved to be much more brutal than the Israeli army.
When we compare the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza with the number of Arabs being killed these days by Arab dictators, we will be horribly surprised.
In fact, the Sudanese regime killed hundreds of thousands of its own people in Darfur. The so-called Janjaweed gangs in Sudan used to annihilate the people of Darfur like flies simply because the latter clamoured for their basic rights. An Arab satirist once commented that an Arab dictator would not accept the number of Palestinians killed in Gaza even as an appetiser!
Recently there were reports that deposed Tunisian president Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali ordered his air force to bombard a civilian area in the Al Qasrain region because the people there demonstrated against his regime. Thankfully, the army refused to carry out his order.
Take Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen. WikiLeaks has revealed that his ‘chairmanship' gave the green light to American aircraft to bombard civilian areas to quell a local revolt. Add to this, of course, his brutal handling of the Yemeni revolution.
Other Arab despots are reported to have asked their security forces to aim their guns at protesters' heads. Have you ever seen an Israeli officer torturing a Palestinian civilian to death in the street for everybody to see? Definitely not. Many of us have seen that in some Arab towns lately.
It is true that Israel is forcing an embargo on Gaza, but I do not think that the Israelis are preventing the Palestinians from getting their daily bread, whereas the security services in some Arab countries stopped cars carrying food from entering certain areas. Nor are the Israelis cutting off electricity, telephone and other communication services from houses, hospitals and schools.
It has been reported that the security services stopped nurses and doctors from treating the injured during certain Arab demonstrations as a punishment for rising against the ruling regime. The thugs contracted by the police to help quell protests went even further. They shot at ambulances.
Unlike in some Arab countries, Arabs living inside Israel can organise sit-ins very comfortably. And when the Israeli police intervenes, they never beat demonstrators to death. And if we compare how Israel treats Shaikh Raed Salah with the way some Arab dictators treat their opponents, we will be horribly surprised, as the Israelis are very much less brutal.
Israel can always claim it is facing an enemy, whereas Arab dictators are facing their own people. Let us end with a succinct verse from the late poet Omar Abu Risha: ‘‘No one can blame a wolf when it preys on a sheep if the shepherd himself is the enemy of the cattle''.
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