Palestinians have given up waiting for the ‘international community’ to act on toothless resolutions and are increasing the strength and unity of their own resistance.
Zionism, by the nature of its ideology, is like a dog that knows only one trick: expand, colonise, oppress and torment the Palestinians whose homeland it has robbed. Nothing short of complete genocide could ever satisfy Israel’s clamour for ‘security’.
The initial brutal land grab of 1948, the subsequent expansion of Israeli borders in 1967, the uninterrupted incremental land theft on the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) after the 1993 Oslo agreement, and the transformation of the Gaza Strip into one vast blockaded prison camp: every bloody milestone along the road to hell follows the same insane rubric: expand or die.
What history is already starting to demonstrate, however, is that the surest way for the apartheid Israeli statelet to hasten its own demise is to intensify its blind rage against the Palestinian resistance. This has never been so clearly revealed as in May’s 11-day bombardment of Gaza by the IDF (so-called Israeli ‘Defence’ Force) and the reign of terror unleashed by Israeli settler mobs.
Who is the victor?
If victory or defeat in war were determined solely by the number of civilian deaths notched up by the winner, or by how many schools and hospitals and how much infrastructure the victor had torched, or by how many children it had succeeded in slaying or traumatising, then the performance of the IDF would surely carry all before it.
Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) gave some flavour of the horrors, reporting: “From the evening of 10 May to the morning of 13 May, the Gaza ministry of health reported that Israeli airstrikes had already killed 67 people, including 17 children, with nearly 400 injured. The Israeli authorities reported the death of seven people as a result of rockets and missiles launched by Palestinian militant groups in Gaza during the same period.
“The recent airstrikes on Gaza follow days of violence in Jerusalem. During the night of Monday 10 May, MSF teams supported the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in the assessment and stabilisation of hundreds of patients injured by the Israeli police, most of whom had sustained rubber bullet, stun grenade, and blunt trauma injuries.
“‘Our teams were confronted with serious injuries caused by the Israeli police to men, women and children,’ said Ottens-Patterson. ‘They treated children as young as 12 who had been injured by rubber bullets. The violence was the worst that MSF teams had witnessed in Jerusalem in years.’” (Heavy Israeli bombing pushing Gaza to the edge of catastrophe, MSF, 13 May 2021)
And since that report the toll of death and injury has spiralled unabated. Yet far from strengthening the hand of zionism, this latest onslaught finds the Tel Aviv regime more isolated and fragile than ever.
Conversely, it is serving to reveal the depth of resistance that is uniting Palestinians in Gaza, those in the West Bank and, crucially, those Palestinians who are recognised on paper by Israel as Israeli citizens but who are in fact treated like colonial subjects, effectively stranded in stateless limbo.
Some in the west greeted last year’s Abraham Accords, supposedly ‘normalising’ relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain, as a welcome distraction from Israel’s failure to deliver on promises made at Oslo in 1993. The plan was to shift the focus away from delivering any kind of Palestinian state at all, instead seeking to bribe the corrupt feudal sheikhdoms of the Gulf into abandoning even their lip-service support for Palestine.
By surrounding Palestine with Arab regimes tied hand and foot to imperialism, it was hoped that the unresolved issue of the Palestinian state could be quietly swept under the carpet and the whole host of pigeonholed United Nations resolutions could be left to gather dust in perpetuity.
But the old zionist dog just cannot help itself. Rather than biding its time, it proceeded to trample on the same course, trying to impose at once by force what the Deal of the Century had not yet achieved: namely, the complete colonisation of the West Bank.
But as the bulldozers moved in to obliterate more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and police brutally attacked worshipers at the al-Aqsa mosque, the resistance spoke out with a clear and confident voice. Hamas issued a deadline for Israel to cease the repression. When that deadline expired and the attacks continued, Hamas began firing rockets into Israel and IDF forces began yet another punitive bombing campaign on Gaza.
Palestinian resistance stands united
Whilst US imperialism has been busy negotiating with Gulf states, Syria and Iran have been engaging in some diplomacy of their own, offering Palestine a helping hand against their common foe. The consequences could be catastrophic for Israel.
“The return of Hamas to the resistance front,” wrote Julia MK, “represented a successful outcome of diplomatic negotiations facilitated by Iran and Hezbollah in 2018 and 2019. The ties that were severed between Syria and Hamas, the latter which had a presence in the former before 2012, and the 10-year campaign to drive a rift between Hamas and the Resistance Axis through sectarianism proved themselves to be upended in the matter of a week.”
The failure of US imperialism and its jihadi proteges to crush Syria’s independence has won for Syria the opportunity to help promote unity in the struggle against the common enemy, working to erode the sectarianism that has sometimes blunted the sword: “Last week, the restored relations between Syria and Hamas were crystallised with Bashar al-Assad’s invitation to all Palestinian resistance factions to work with Syria.
“Cementing the cracks caused by the US- and Nato-backed war in Syria, cordial letters of gratitude and support between all resisting Palestinian factions and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were also exchanged.” (Ceasefire violations, continued occupation: a testament to the resistance’s success by Julia MK, PressTV, 25 May 2021)
The unity and vigour of the resistance took Tel Aviv by surprise. Whilst the ratio of death, injury and damage inflicted by each side remained massively in Israel’s favour, having the benefit of being armed by the US and Britain with all the latest death-dealing kit, the much feted ‘Iron Dome’ that was supposed to protect Israel was shown to be fallible.
While the majority of Hamas’s homemade rockets were indeed intercepted by the Iron Dome, a significant number got through, demonstrating an impressive ability to reach deep inside Israel. For the zionists, even this small percentage was a price too high to pay, sending Israeli citizens skittering for their bomb shelters and destroying the illusion of immunity for the occupiers in their gilded cages.
According to some reports, so worried were the Israelis at the prospect of more casualties that IDF units were pulled out of the areas bordering Gaza for their own protection – away from the constant barrage of rocket and mortar fire.
In the end, not daring to launch a ground invasion for which resistance fighters had shown themselves to be more than ready, after just 11 days of its air blitzkrieg against Gaza, the Tel Aviv government jumped at a ceasefire deal brokered by Egypt (under the wing of the US), eager to climb out of the hole it had dug for itself.
In a further comment by Julia MK, she noted: “The call for ceasefire came just 11 days of humiliating blows from Gaza, which amounted to at least 4,300 missiles fired into the zionist entity, hitting key targets in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, Nir Oz, and across southern regions of occupied Palestine.
“Despite the widespread destruction the zionist entity had inflicted upon Gaza, it, by its own admission, was unable to put an end to or stop the rocket barrages swarming in from Gaza. Even with its state-of-the-art Iron Dome air defence system …
“Operation ‘Battle of the Sword’ led by the Palestinian resistance in coordination with the Lebanese and Iranian resistance, delivered the greatest force delivered to Israel since summer 2014. Palestinian resistance factions were more unified and stronger than ever, and barely exhausted their old stockpiles before inflicting considerable damage on Israeli production facilities, gas production sites, and several military targets.” (Ibid)
A similar message was conveyed by blogger Ibn Riad in a series of tweets, reporting tersely: “Gaza won. Palestine won. Resistance won.
“Let’s talk about asymmetrical warfare. Resistance groups typically emerge as grassroots armed movements against occupation, such as in Lebanon after the zionist occupation of the south in 1982. By 2000 this resistance managed to liberate the south …
“Resistance primarily functions by incurring an unacceptable price on the occupation, and Gaza won by successfully doing so … The zionist entity’s loss of the operational war (the fighting) was matched by their loss of both the intelligence and media war.”
Most worrying for zionism is the way in which Israeli Palestinians have come out on the streets in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Gaza and the West Bank, bearding the oppressor in his own den and turning a ‘punishment’ for Gaza into the opening salvoes of a civil war stretching right across historic Palestine.
Bringing the war back home
Writing in the Financial Times, Gideon Rachman noted: “The brutal clashes between jews and Israeli-Arabs, who make up 20 percent of the population of the country, have brought the conflict inside the borders of Israel itself, leading to talk of civil war.
“In recent years, many Israeli politicians had come to hope and believe that Arabs living inside the country were no longer identifying so strongly with the Palestinian cause. But the current crisis has brought a renewed sense of unity between Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel itself.
“The idea that the Palestinian problem could be safely walled-off, out of sight, is no longer credible. Instead, Netanyahu’s strategy may have increased the threat to his country – by inadvertently opening up a new front, within Israel itself. That threat will remain, even after the pummelling of Gaza has stopped.” (Netanyahu’s master plan for Israel and Palestine has failed by Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, 17 May 2021)
One astute FT reader, Nicholas Westcott, helped Rachman join the dots, pointing out that Netanyahu “has succeeded in killing the possibility of a two-state solution. He, and Israel, have yet to recognise that this makes a one-state solution the only remaining option. That is why the struggle now moves to Palestinians in Israel.” Curiously enough, Westcott used to be the European Union’s managing director for the middle east.
In haste to limit the damage, US secretary of state Antony Blinken scuttled off to Ramallah for a photo opportunity with the paper Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, bringing with him a thin fistful of dollars supposedly to “rebuild” Gaza (so recently trashed by imperialism’s own Israeli attack dogs).
But it is too late to put the genie back into the bottle: the two-state solution is dead, stifled at birth by zionism’s own hand, and the proud spirit of united Palestinian resistance is a flame that will not easily be crushed.
“Tamer Nafer, a Palestinian rapper from Lod, the Israeli city gripped in a paroxysm of communal violence between jews and Arabs, thought he had seen it all.
“At 43, he has lived through the first and second Palestinian intifadas or uprisings, the steady rise of increasingly right-wing Israeli populism, and a cycle of wars between the country whose passport he holds and his fellow Arabs in Gaza. Never before has there been such strength of feeling in Israel’s minority Arab community, he said.
“‘This time it is different, a kind of reawakening born of 70 … years of oppression,’ he said, the morning after his hometown seemed to rip itself apart – jews and Arabs who are Israeli citizens fought on the streets, as police and special forces failed to impose order. ‘In this country, equality is a technicality – this is a jewish country, and its national anthem itself ignores two million Arabs and christians.’
“This week, Nafer’s own anthems – such as Innocent Criminals (‘When jews protest, the cops use clubs / when Arabs protest, the cops take their souls’) – blared out the car stereos of young Arab men driving around mixed cities such as Lod, Jaffa and East Jerusalem, the background beat to the uprising.” (Arab-Israeli uprising: ‘This time it’s different’ by Mehul Srivastava, Financial Times, 14 May 2021)
Long live the intifada!