Hazem Saghieh

Of course, neither of the two outcomes in the headline is inevitable. In fact, if one party were to emerge victorious, it would not attain a pure victory without partners and free of pressure exerted by third parties

Nonetheless, the headline and extreme potential outcomes seek to establish the metrics and standards that reveal the choices available to the Arab Levant, all of which are miserable options that this deadly war has given rise to.

If Israel achieves victory, a horrifying notion would prevail: nothing but might is right, and blind technology overpowers human beings and takes precedence over them and their lives. As a result, a highly dangerous and far-reaching master-slave mindset would spread across the entire region; Arabs can only be addressed through intimidation and terror, as they must be made afraid because fear is the only language they understand.

This premise implies racist hierarchies, whereby an Israeli human is unequivocally more important than a Palestinian (and thus an Arab) human, and that an Israeli child is more precious than a Palestinian child. The latter could be killed for one reason or another, while the killing of the former should be banished even from dreams. The “civilizational war” sought by all the warring parties would morph into contempt for Arab culture and values, taking a form that does not bother to distinguish between Al-Maarri with Osama bin Laden, and it would likely be accompanied by a pattern of assaults against Arab groups and individuals here or there.

On the other hand, the illusory revenge of those defeated and frustrated by this Israeli victory would be to seek solace in antisemitic myths, which could also be accompanied by aggression against Jewish individuals or groups, resulting in a sort of identification between opposition to the Jewish state and antisemitism.

Politically, despite the positive outlook shared by some optimists, political settlements in the region will probably freeze or break down, while any peace offer made to the Palestinians would be nothing more than an opportunity to unambiguously and explicitly capitulate. It can be assumed that, in this event, Jewish settlers in the West Bank would continue to confiscate and annex more land and expel and target the Palestinians who own it. Who would guarantee, in this region so conducive to parochial loyalties, that the East Bank, and perhaps parts of Lebanon and Syria, would not host another set of “fratricidal wars”?

As for the process through which Benjamin Netanyahu would be held accountable for his policies and failures, it would almost certainly not encompass Israel’s aggressive approach, of which Netanyahu is only one figurehead. In fact, this process, coupled with the notion of a need for a safer and superior fortress, could reinforce Israel’s hubris and fortify its chauvinistic attitudes.

On the other hand, in the event of a Hamas victory, “national liberation” would be once more understood as a unilateral struggle against a foreign occupier. As for how Palestinians are governed, it would not draw anyone’s attention or concern. In everything from freedoms to education, darkness and repression would prevail, and they would be made uglier by poverty and misery, which the war has astronomically worsened.

In tandem with the two belligerents’ total lack of sensitivity towards civilians and their lives, and with both the resistor and the invader enjoying rights denied to others, sensitivity towards women is collapsing as well. In resistance circles, women are increasingly being seen as birth-giving machines used in “demographic Jihad.”

Even before this Hamas victory, there were growing signs of McCarthyism. Those who do not replicate its rhetoric and actions are being slandered, and matters have gone as far as employing signs and symbols in a pagan process of adherence to Hamas terminology in describing “the enemy” and building a hierarchy in naming the dead. This can also be seen in the disruption of seminars and lectures of universities, which are supposed to be spaces for discussion, and the defamation of professors organizing them as “Zionists.”

With this arsenal that combines everything backward and regressive under the sun, Hamas and its increasing number of those drawn to the “progressiveness” of Abu Ubaida, would wage a “civilizational war” that isolates us further from the world and its achievements, under the pretext of the bias that foreign governments have shown in favor of Israel. And of course, they are not lacking in confidence that we will win this war!

The Arab Levant, where political settlements of any kind are barred, would become a region of perpetual conflicts on the borders and within all borders. Hatreds would proliferate and conflicts would be blended together into a stew that leaves Tehran alone rubbing its hands in joy and glee.

Moreover, a Hamas victory would potentially postpone everything liberal or progressive in the region. We should not fail to notice that, since the Al-Aqsa Flood, we have not heard anything about the repression in Iran, the killing in Syria, or the looting of the Lebanese, who have now nothing to wait except the speeches of a leader in which he tells them what they need to know about their lives and deaths…

This is some of what Al-Aqsa Flood could bless us with when it is pushed to its ends, broadening a cruel racist right wing that excels at killing children, and fanatical populism that despises life, reason, and freedom.