The Israeli invasion of Palestine was allegedly because the Israelis wanted to stop Hamas firing rockets into Jewish populations, but it was also meant for vengeance for the 2005 invasion of Lebanon, when for the first time there were substantial Israeli casualties. The present campaign has shown yet again that being an American satellite in a hostile neighbourhood does not bring with it security. Unless the Israelis manage to wipe out the Palestinians of Gaza, the present threat will not disappear. Indeed, Israelis and Israel will not be secure if a single Arab remains alive. But at the same time, the Israelis must be happy that the Muslim world has maintained a silence that speaks of the absence of support for the Palestinians. It may be mentioned that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference was founded back in 1969 to protest the Israeli conquest of all sorts of Arab territories after six Arab armies were soundly thrashed in 1967. It was then that Gaza was occupied from Egypt by the Zionist entity, and the Palestinians burst onto the world scene as a displaced nation. They had been there since 1948, but world attention was then more focused on the Jews, who were still seeking compensation for World War II and Hitler's massacre of the Jews. Yet Israel owes its origins to World War II, even though the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in World War I set the stage. The Zionists had been refused Palestine once by the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II, but when Palestine became a British League of Nations Protectorate, the Zionists began their migration there. They were given great assistance by Hitler and his persecution of the Jews, and had it not been for him massacring so many of them they would not have had a black mark against the European and American conscience which played a crucial role in not just the creation of Israel, but in the unstinting support it received thereafter, which was more than it merited as the sole outpost of the West in the oil-rich, and therefore important, Arab world. The Zionists might not have won the argument, and thus their case for the need of a separate Jewish state. The Jews chose Palestine over the Guianas or Uganda, even though this was a solution which would create a Palestinian problem. The Palestinian Diaspora is throughout the Arab World, particularly in Jordan and Lebanon, where there is an especially large number. The Arab World had made the Palestinian cause their own, except as the Arab rulers thought they could prop up themselves or their dynasties. So at present, there is not that much enthusiasm among the rulers for the Palestinian cause, and there is more of a movement to recognise Israel. This was started by Egypt, which made its peace with Israel with the Camp David Accords over 30 years ago. Yet the Egyptian government was forced by its own previous rhetoric, and the Egyptian street, to be more supportive of the Palestinian cause, while it established diplomatic relations with Israel. Though it does not know it, Pakistan has a particular role in the Palestinian cause. Pakistan is a large Muslim state, which rallied the Arabs for Palestine in 1948 at the UN. It did so because it saw the Palestine dispute as similar to the Kashmir dispute, with which the UN was also seized. Pakistan was also a more than willing member of the OIC, which, as has been mentioned, was founded for and over Palestine. Pakistan has a sentimental attachment to Palestine because of the Qibla-i-Awwal, which it contains. Israel has historically been a point of conflict ever since the Crusades of the 11th to 14th centuries, which took place on this same Eastern Mediterranean coast. Thus Israel does not just represent a sort of second attempt for the Jews, who muffed their first attempt at statehood, but the Europeans' third at a colony on the Levant. There was the first colonisation under the Romans, then the Crusader state, and now Israel. It is probably significant that only the Crusader state was Christian, so the drive eastwards is probably ideological only in so far as its impulse is imperialist. Pakistan is therefore all the more significant for the Arab world, because it has been more steadfast than the other great non-Arab Muslim powers, Iran and Indonesia, in its refusal to recognise Israel. It is in this context that the visit of Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz should be seen, and the lunch he gave to political leaders, including the opposition. The general view is that he called for political unity, but the context is that the Saudi leadership considers Pakistan as both the backbone and the vanguard of the Islamic world, and considers Pakistan's military strength and political stability, for the leading role it ought to play. Pakistan should keep two issues in mind. First, that it is a nuclear state, something which has raised its prestige in the Muslim world as a whole, but particularly in the Arab states, from a mere supplier of cheap labour to that of a power. Its being a supplier of labour for the development of oil-rich states owed itself to its military strength, which the Arab world respected, and imported. Second, after Musharraf sent Mian Nawaz Sharif into exile in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government has tried to intervene in Pakistan's internal affairs. It was Prince Muqrin who came when Mian Nawaz was returning from exile, to explain to Musharraf that the Saudi government was not involved. Putting these two facts together, it also needs to be remembered that the Saudis are very active in the Palestinian cause, in the Arab world, and in the Muslim world. They are also leading in the War On Terror. Therefore, at this moment of crisis for the Palestinians, they need the Pakistanis, another ally in the War, to be strong, probably in the hope that this will somehow overawe the Americans, even though they originated the War so that the West could continue the imperialist project of which Israel is the cornerstone. E-mail: