Palestine Exists… Gaza Resists

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“It’s not a conflict, it’s 66 years of oppression, murder, apartheid.”

This sentence summarises the war in Gaza and what’s actually happening in the stolen land of Palestine.

With all the crimes committed against Palestinians, the ashamed official silence of the world continues. All values and morals are foregone with these crimes against humanity in Palestine. The murdering of four kids on the beach, the massacres of Shujaeia and Khuza’a besides the bombarding of civilian areas, hospitals and UN buildings is the real face of 66 years of the occupation of Palestine. At this moment, you can understand clearly the double standards in the world that we are living in. It’s the picturing of the killer as a defender and the defender as a terrorist. When you collect all the information to analyse the situation, you will definitely understand that Palestinians are not suffering from a conflict. Instead, they are fighting for their existence…

They are fighting in conditions can’t be bared by normal people. These people are living for years under siege in the biggest open air prison in the world. Their rights of having the basic elements of life are denied continually. With all these factors, they succeeded in enforcing their groups of resistance to face one of the most sophisticated armies in the world. It’s not a war between two equivalent armies as shown in the western media that Israel supporters and the UN are trying to claim. Instead, it’s a battle where you will realize that having such a powerful military with its entire technological advance is not the main factor to win. Actually, it’s the faith of having your freedom, the faith of getting back your own land.

More than 1000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 5000 have been injured till the moment that this article has been written and yet no one in the entire world can call these operations with its real name “pogroms of Palestinians”. These pogroms and massacres have been exercised on Palestinians for years but the control of media prevented the killing and torturing of Palestinians from reaching the world. Nowadays, social media has played a great role in transferring the reality to the world. However, great efforts have been exerted from the Israeli side to hide the facts. Celebrities who expressed their feelings and sympathy with the Palestinian cause have been threatened. Many tweets have been deleted by some celebrities after receiving these threats. Others have stood for their beliefs and decided to join the fight because they believe that values can’t be divided.

Destroyed house in Gaza, after a Israeli missile strike. Image credit: Muhammad Sabah

To understand the current situation, we need to understand the reason of this escalation. Israel understands very well that Palestinians will keep fighting to get back their land. Israel thought that involving the Palestinians with endless negotiations will let them give up this idea. In the other hand, they have the nightmare of the resistance groups who give the hope for the Palestinians that they can liberate their land. These groups contributed to the inverse immigrations of Jews due to lack of security in Israel. They are actually playing a great role in balancing the power of pressure. Accordingly, Israel worked on fighting these groups intensively. Many years earlier, Israel succeeded in dividing Palestinians not only geographically to Gaza and West Bank, but ideologically to Fateh supporters and Hamas supporters.  During this period, Gaza has been under siege by air, land and sea. Trade is blocked. Travel is nearly impossible. Water is contaminated. Medical supplies are lacking. The economy is kept in controlled collapse. In the other hand, Israel and its western supporters worked very hard on positioning the resistance internationally as terrorists and they succeeded. Furthermore, during the last 3 years, they succeeded in convincing neighbouring Arab countries that these groups are threatening their national security.

Palestinian families taking shelter in a UNRWA school after being evacuated from their homes . Image credit: Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA

By doing this, these resistance groups lost internal and external support. In this context, we have to provide a direct answer for one of the regularly asked questions. Are Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups terrorist organisations? No, they are not because if they will be considered as terrorist organisations, then a lot of organisations through the history will be covered under this umbrella. Leaders like Charles de Gaulle and Ernesto Guevara would be terrorist leaders.  In addition, the 1977 protocol additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, referred to armed conflicts states who should be considered as lawful combatants “… in which people are fighting against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes…”. This description applies to Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

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A Palestinian man injured after a Israeli missile strike reached the hospital unconscious. Image credit: Basel Yazouri.

Under the previously provided circumstances and the weakening of many armies of surrounding Arab countries, Israel found the opportunity to accomplish its dream and tried to win the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority by lowering the roof of their requirements. This is noticed by John Kerry’s plan which started at the beginning of this year. However, this dream is smashed with a huge surprise: Palestinians refused these humiliating negotiations and declared their agreement on unifying both Palestinian parties. Israel couldn’t handle this shock and tried to find any reason to attack. Two young Palestinians have been killed and three young Israelis have been lost and found dead in West Bank. Without investigating, Israel decided to attack Gaza brutally. Later on, investigations revealed that Hamas was not responsible for the murder of these young Israelis. Nevertheless, the first question will pass in your mind, why Israel is attacking Gaza although the incident occurred in West Bank? Here you can relate that the target of Israel is to get rid of the resistance groups by isolating them then destroying them. However, this escalation led to unpleasant results for Israel. Palestinians are unified more and consequently victories on the ground and online have been achieved by the Palestinians.

Shaymaa al-Masri, five years old, at a-Shifaa Hospital, Gaza. Shaymaa was injured when her uncle’s house was bombed in the early afternoon of 9 July 2014: Image/word credit: Muhammad Sabah

By comparing the losses in the Israeli army and the combatants of Hamas and considering all the power differences and international support, resistance groups are achieving a victory with the high losses in Israeli soldiers. The brutal attacks on civilians by Israeli army, daily massacres and the speed of spreading of the information by social media resulted in building the awareness of the people around the world. Accordingly, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched on the streets of different cities around the world to express their solidarity with the Palestinians. Even Jews and Israelis couldn’t accept these crimes. Furthermore, some Israeli soldiers expressed their opposition by refusing the participation of these massacres. With the ignorance of many western governments, Palestinian supporters decided to launch boycotting campaigns to emulate the methods that isolated South Africa during apartheid.

A Palestinian child being treated at the Shefaa Hospital. Image credit: متجول

From a different perspective, different people have seen the common factors of what Israel is doing in Palestine and what ISIS is doing in Arab countries. In simple words, a group of people who decided to create a new state in a land that they don’t belong to and exercise an ethnic cleansing of the people of this land in the name of a religion that is totally contravene with the values that they claim. Killing and displacing these people because they don’t follow their beliefs. UN and many countries understand that ISIS is a group of terrorists. At the same time, they blindly support Israel which adopted the same actions. In addition, they provide the financial and political support. Disturbances due to this inconsistency of reactions of these governments and international organisations impacted their credibility severely.

Now, a very important question must be asked. What would be the international reaction if these 1000 people have been killed in different country “in Europe for example”? What if you lost 18 members of your family at once during the bombardment of your neighbourhood? What if you have been called to evacuate your home because it will be bombarded after 5 minutes? What if you watched videos of Israeli in Tel Aviv chanting “there’s no school tomorrow, there’s no children left in Gaza!”? Do you have the right to be outraged and carry all these feelings to stand for your family and land? Definitely, you have, but then you will be called a terrorist if you are a Palestinian.

Weaam Mostafa Bayaa is a writer based in Cairo, Egypt.