Palestinian resistance to Israeli hegemony has come to a head. Hamas’ paramilitary, the Ezzeldin AlQassam Brigades' unprecedented assault in early October reshaped the nature of the lingering conflict with Israel. The latter has vowed the complete destruction of the group, even if it means scorched earth tactics. That is evident by now.
By Ahmed Yousef (PhD)
Western pundits and powers have rallied behind them with many cutting aid to the Strip, endorsing collective punishment against fundamental principles of international law that they crafted after two world wars. Officials bemoan “sheer evil” at the loss of Israeli lives.
Yet, none acknowledges it came after almost 16 years of choking Gaza with thousands of its murdered, maimed, or needy – nearly two decades where water and energy are restricted, sewage permitted to tarnish fields, fishermen blocked from the sea, medical treatment denied, and fuel and food supplies rationed, even counting calories to maintain levels of desperation.
So, Goliath now marches on Gaza, just the latest step in a century-old scheme to depopulate Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants. Theodor Herzl, founder of the First Zionist Congress, wrote about pushing the population into neighboring countries in 1895, noting that “expropriation…must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.”
Almost half a century later, the Zionist High Command implemented Plan Dalet, which detailed the “destruction of villages (setting fire to, blowing up, and planting mines in the debris), especially those population centers which are difficult to control continuously.” Then, there was the 2011 Begin-Prawer Plan, which orchestrated the ethnic cleansing of the Negev of Bedouin Arabs.
After the Israelis rejected the Islamists’ election victory in 2006 and imposed an inhuman blockade, what did the Israelis expect? Former Zionist and trauma specialist Gabor Mater notes: “Think the worst thing you can say about Hamas, multiply it by 1,000 times, and it still would not meet the Israeli repression and killing and dispossession of Palestinians.”
Extremist right-wing machinations by autocrats like Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Tzipi Livni, Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Benny Gantz planning the West Bank’s annexation, destruction of the Dome of the Rock, and ending self-governance in Gaza were an inevitable catalyst. So, October 7th was simply another stage in Palestinian resistance that targeted military installations and settlements, yet the media lapped up the Israeli narrative of an attack on civilians.
Israeli resources, be they military might or propaganda machines, may be superior, but the regime’s arrogance will still result in a Pyrrhic victory, magnifying their failures. Hamas humiliated the Netanyahu government despite the American taxpayer-funded Iron Dome – to the tune of $1.6 billion up to 2021 – and the “smart” billion-dollar Iron Wall with its underground sensors, radar systems, remote-controlled machine guns, barbed wire, and a 60-kilometer concrete fence.
The lightning Palestinian strike changed perceptions forever. Cynical analysts continue to express disbelief, and many politicians try to diminish the plan’s localized development, crediting Iran instead, perhaps to hijack the process to settle regional scores. This is a plausible scenario given the scale of machinery and munitions America and European allies have sent.
Nevertheless, despite Western leaders waxing lyrical about the incursion’s injustice and the occupiers’ rights to defend themselves, the Israeli ogre has proven itself a paper tiger. The Palestinian David struck the Israeli Goliath, and the blow was heard around the globe. Social media creators and NGOs know full well the Israelis are the instigators despite a concerted, well-funded propaganda campaign, the AIPAC-laden halls of Congress and the White House, and those indebted to the “European Friends of Israel,” “Europe Israel Public Affairs,” B’nai B’rith Europe, and the Friends of Judea and Samaria in the European Parliament just to name a few.
We are under no illusions. We know the Israelis have no moral compass and will use every illegal munition, like the phosphorous bombs they’ve dropped on civilians, hospitals, mosques, and residential buildings, to conduct war crimes for which no one will hold them accountable. 2,251 Palestinians were killed in 2014; for example, a third of them were children, with over 11,000 injured and 18,000 housing units destroyed, according to OCHA, and no one was penalized. The Israelis have already murdered over 4,000, and we don’t expect any accountability now, either.
With over a thousand Israeli soldiers and armed colonists dead and many taken prisoner, they will not be satisfied until they wipe out much of Gaza. They have caused horrific death and destruction, but we have become accustomed to their intrigues over the past 75 years. Even if the Israelis succeed in turning Gaza into rubble and re-occupying it, they will not succeed in controlling a population that has seen the weakness behind the Iron Wall. We hope the international community will come to its senses and end this barbaric onslaught, but if they do not, we will continue to resist the shackles of Israeli occupation.
Dr. Ahmed Yousef was a senior adviser to Gaza’s Prime Minister Ismael Haniya and remains close to current Hamas leadership. Beginning in 1968, Ahmed Yousef was the pupil of the founder of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. He previously served as the Executive Director of the United Association for Studies and Research. In 2006, he was appointed as the political advisor to then-Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. He is now the head of the House of Wisdom Institution for Conflict Resolution and Governance in Gaza.