Palestine’s widening geography of resistance: Why Israel cannot defeat the Palestinian people- A commentary from the Afro-Middle East Centre*

Palestine Update 544

Palestine’s widening geography of resistance: Why Israel cannot defeat the Palestinian people-
A commentary from the Afro-Middle East Centre*

There is a reason why Israel insists on linking the series of attacks carried out by Palestinians recently to a specific location – the the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. By doing so, the embattled government of Naftali Bennett can simply order another deadly military operation in Jenin to reassure its citizens that the situation is under control. Indeed, on 9 April, the Israeli army stormed the Jenin refugee camp, killing a Palestinian and wounding ten others. However, Israel’s problem is much bigger than Jenin.

 If we examine the events starting with the March 22 stabbing attack in the southern city of Beersheba (Bir Al Saba’) – which resulted in the death of four people – and ending with the killing of three Israelis in Tel Aviv – including two army officers – we easily reach an obvious conclusion: these attacks must have been, to some extent, coordinated.

 Spontaneous Palestinian retaliation to the violence of the Israeli occupation rarely follows this pattern in terms of timing or style. All the attacks, with the exception of Beersheba, were carried out using firearms. The shooters, as indicated by the amateur videos of some of the events and statements by Israeli eyewitnesses, were well-trained and acted with great composure. One example was the 27 March Hadera event, carried out by two cousins, Ayman and Ibrahim Ighbariah, from the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, a Palestinian town inside Israel. Israeli media reported on the unmistakable skills of the attackers who were armed with weapons that, according to the Israeli news agency, Tazpit Press Service, cost more than $30 000.

 Unlike Palestinian attacks carried out during the Second Palestinian Intifada (2000-2005) in response to Israeli violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the latest attacks are generally more precisely targeted, seek out police and military personnel, and are clearly aimed at shaking Israel’s false sense of security and undermining the state’s intelligence services. In the Bnei Brak attack, on 29 March, for example, an Israeli woman who was an eyewitness at the scene told reporters, ‘The militant asked us to move away from the place because he did not want to target women or children.’

 While Israeli intelligence reports recently warned of a ‘wave of terrorism’ ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, they clearly had little conception of what type of violence to expect, or where and how Palestinians would strike.

 Following the Beersheba attack, Israeli officials attributed it to the Islamic State group, which was a convenient claim considering that IS also claimed responsibility for it. That theory was, however, quickly dismissed, as it became obvious that the other Palestinian attackers had political affiliations to other Palestinian groups or, as in the Bnei Brak case, no known affiliation at all.

 The confusion and misinformation continued for days. Shortly after the Tel Aviv attack, Israeli media, citing official Israeli sources, mentioned two attackers, alleging that one had been trapped in a nearby building. This proved to be untrue; there was only one attacker, who was later killed, though hours after his attack and in a different city.

 A number of Palestinian workers were quickly rounded up in Tel Aviv on suspicion of being the attackers simply because they looked Arab, providing more evidence of the chaotic and confused Israeli approach. Indeed, after each of these Palestinian attacks, total mayhem ensued, with large mobs of armed Israelis taking to the streets looking for anyone with Arab features to apprehend or to beat senseless. Israeli officials – wittingly or unwittingly – contributed to the frenzy, with far-right politicians such as the extremist Itamar Ben Gvir leading hordes of other Jewish Israeli extremists in rampages across occupied Jerusalem.

Instead of urging calm and displaying confidence, Israel’s prime minister on 30 March called on Israeli civilians to arm themselves. ‘Whoever has a gun licence, this is the time to carry it,” he said in a video statement, clearly inciting violence against Palestinians. However, if Israel’s solution to any form of Palestinian resistance is to carry more guns, Palestinians would have been pacified a long time ago.

 To placate angry Israelis, the Israeli military raided Jenin city and the Jenin refugee camp on many occasions, each time leaving behind several dead and wounded Palestinians, including many civilians. Among the dead were the child Imad Hashash, 15, killed on 24 August while filming the invasion of the refugee camp with his cellphone. The same scenario had played out on 9 April.  Nevertheless, from the Israeli perspective, this was an exercise in futility; it was, after all, Israeli violence in Jenin throughout the years that had led to the organised armed resistance that continues to emanate from the camp. Palestinians, whether in Jenin or elsewhere, resist and fight back because they are denied basic human rights, have no political horizon, live in extreme poverty, have no true leadership and feel abandoned by the so-called international community.

 The Palestinian Authority led by Mahmoud Abbas seems to be entirely removed from the masses and their experience of occupation and resistance. Abbas’s statements reflect his detachment from the reality of Israeli violence, military occupation and apartheid throughout Palestine. True to form, Abbas quickly condemned the Tel Aviv attack, as he had one with previous ones, referring each time to the need to maintain ‘stability’ and to prevent ‘further deterioration of the situation’,  according to the official Wafa news agency. One would be forgiven for asking what stability Abbas was referring to, when Palestinian lives have not been stable for more than seven decades and when Palestinian suffering has been compounded by growing settler violence, illegal settlement expansion, land theft, and, thanks to recent international events, food insecurity as well.

 Israeli officials and media are, again, conveniently placing the blame largely on Jenin, a tiny stretch of an overpopulated area. By doing so, Israel wants to give the impression that the new phenomenon of Palestinian retaliatory attacks is confined to a single place, one that is adjacent to the Israeli border and one that can easily be ‘dealt with’. An Israeli military operation in the camp may serve Bennett’s political agenda, convey a sense of strength, and win back some in his disenchanted political constituency, but it is a temporary fix – if any kind of fix at all. Attacking Jenin now will make no difference in the long run. After all, the camp rose from the ashes of its near-total destruction by the Israeli military in April 2002. And attacking Jerusalem and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, as Israeli troops did on 15 April, will increase rather than reduce Palestinian resistance.

 The renewed Palestinian attacks speak of a much wider geography: Naqab, Umm Al Fahm, the West Bank – with a clear shift towards more actions within Israel. The seeds of this territorial connectivity are linked to the Israeli war of May 2021 and the subsequent Palestinian rebellion, which erupted in every part of Palestine, including Palestinian communities inside Israel.

 Israel’s problem is its insistence on providing short-term military solutions to a long-term problem, itself resulting from these very ‘military solutions’. If Israel continues to subjugate the Palestinian people under the current system of military occupation, deepening apartheid and expansive colonisation, Palestinians will surely continue to respond until their oppressive reality is changed. No amount of Israeli violence can alter this truth.
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*Established in 1998, the Afro-Middle East Centre (AMEC) aims to foster, produce and disseminate the highest quality of research on the Middle East, to maintain public discussion and to help shape the public discourse on issues related to the Middle East. AMEC’s research includes relations between Africa and the Middle East. AMEC engages in funded research on the contemporary Middle East. It accepts research commissions from government, business, academia, non-governmental organisations, and community-based organisations. AMEC has been based in Johannesburg, South Africa, since its establishment. Read more @ https://amec.org.za/about.html

Children and Armed Conflict

Gaza Strip, March 2022: statistical update on violations against children in times of armed conflict by Israeli and Palestinian duty bearers – in accordance with the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanisms established by UN Security Council Resolution 1612 http://mezan.org/en/post/24099

Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Civilians and Properties Gaza Strip – 2022. http://mezan.org/en/post/24098

Violation of the rule of law in the Gaza Strip and its impact on Palestinians and their properties  http://mezan.org/en/post/24100

The day I witnessed the Zionist massacre against the Palestinian civilians
by Dr Salim Nazzal*
In 1982 I was working as a secondary teacher, and I had just graduated from the University. I was happy with my life, and I bought a car and rented an apartment in the Lebanese city of Tyr. On Friday, I went from southern Lebanon to Beirut to attend a conference to discuss social issues in the Palestinian camps in Lebanon because I was a member of the Palestinian Teachers Union. The situation was tense. Menachem Begin, the prime minister of Israel and responsible for the Deir Yasin massacre in 1948, had threatened to invade Lebanon to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization situated in Lebanon.

It was a nice conference in the Hamra Hotel in Beirut, and there I had the pleasure of meeting friends whom I had not seen for some time. But during one of the lectures, a person came and whispered in the professor’s ear. Then the professor announced that the conference had been canceled and asked everyone to return to his area because we were coming from several regions. I drove quickly back to south Lebanon at a time when the Israeli planes were flying and bombing several places.

I went to the camp where my parents live. I met my worried father. I still remember the worry on his face. I tried to calm him down but told him that the satiation was tense and nobody knew how the events would develop. In the evening, I visited the Norwegian medical team that was there to help the Palestinians. They were also worried, so I tried to calm them down and explain the situation to them. And only two days later, on Sunday, June 6, the invasion began. The sky was covered with the Israeli planes bombing here and there. The sea was also covered with Israeli military ships. Despite the weakness of the Palestinian resistance forces compared to the forces of the Zionist enemy, a lot of courageous resistance took place, which was hindering the progress of the hostile forces.

I was in the camp with my family when the plane bombardment began, which I had never seen like that before. The bombing destroyed everything moving, the Bombing of homes, schools, and shelters where the camp residents was hiding. The world should know that the Zionist strategy is based on the merciless Killing of civilians to weaken the resistance. And it is a policy that has not changed. The Zionists do not know international laws or Morals because they know that the hypocritical West supports them.

The American Veto is ready in the United Nations to prevent their condemnation. The planes were bombing and leaving, then other planes came and continued the bombing.

They destroyed the whole camp, including the neighborhood in which my family live. It was impossible to know the roads because everything was in ruin. In a place not far to my family house, there was the shelter of the Hula Club, in which more than a hundred people from the camp’s residents hid. I heard the screams of people; they were screams that I will never forget. They were cries of sadness, anger, and pain. I ran with some young men towards the shelter of the Hula Club in an attempt to save the people. One extended his hand to a woman, and only her hand came out with him. It was a horrible thing beyond all description. All shelters were hit with phosphorous bombs.

I could hear people screaming and crying everywhere in the camp, which had turned into rubble. Women were screaming, and children were crying. I heard someone screaming saying, “Where are you, God? You did allow these murderers to do this and do not interfere.” Unfortunately, only a Palestinian writer wrote about the Hula shelter massacre. So the Hula massacre was not widely known. The killed in the Hula shelter have stayed there until now after the place became a mass grave for those killed by Zionist criminals.

PS: I devote this article to my friend  Abu Fadi who lost all his family in the Hula shelter including his five children, and yet faced the Zionist made tragedy with patience beyond description.

*Salim Nazzal  is a Palestinian Norwegian researcher, lecturer playwright and poet, wrote more than 17 books such as Perspectives on thought, culture and political sociology, in thought, culture and ideology, the road to Baghdad. Palestine in heart.
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The worst of Israeli settler attacks on Al Aqsa is yet to come
Last Friday, Muslims worshipers went to Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform their morning – Fajr prayer – as they normally. Unfortunately for them, the Israeli occupation has become used to turning the holy month in Jerusalem into a battlefield. As if every Ramadan should be a tragic month for the city of Jerusalem and its people. Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam and the place of Prophet’s ascension, has often been the epicenter of Israeli-Palestinian clashes. Last year, it witnessed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police during the Muslim fasting month. That helped to ignite an 11-day Israel-Gaza war that killed more than 250 Palestinians in Gaza

Ramadan 2022 has witnessed a repeat of Israeli aggression on the Muslim worshipers. On Friday night, Palestinian worshippers insisted on remaining in the mosque to prevent the extremist groups from entering al-Haram. Without any provocation they were suddenly attacked by the Israeli security forces. According to the Red Crescent, more than 158 Palestinians have been injured in the ensuing clashes with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.  During the encounter, the Israeli police stormed parts of the mosque compound firing sound grenades and rubber bullets and arresting more than 450 people.

Sondus Ewies is a Jerusalemite journalist covered the events at Al-Aqsa last Friday. She gave MEMO this account of what happened: “We went to perform Fajr´s prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque as usual. Then we were surprised by the occupation forces who stormed the mosque. They attacked the worshipers with gunfire, gas and rubber bullets.” She added, “The occupation forces attacked young and old, men and women, journalists and ambulance crews, causing many injuries among them. Additionally, they inflicted widespread damage to Al-Aqsa Mosque’s chapels and courtyards, including libraries, utilities, doors and windows.”
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