موجز: عملية طوفان الأقصى
9 octobre 2023

The events of Oct. 7 are sure to be remembered for years to come. At around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, the Palestinian resistance in Occupied Gaza launched a resistance operation by the name of Al-Aqsa Flood. This unprecedented land, air, and sea attack has been the most powerful hit the Israeli occupation has experienced in the last 50 years.

While the Israeli Occupation Forces were completely unaware, the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, fired 5,000 rockets into illegal Israeli settlements. Simultaneously, Palestinian fighters entered Israeli territory through a manmade hole at the Gaza border fence and began a ground operation. Palestinians took over bulldozers and began tearing down the very same border fence that was caging them in. Some of the most stunning images to come out of the Al-Aqsa Flood operation were the Palestinian fighters who flew into settlements on motor-powered hang gliders

Hundreds of members of the IOF and settlers were taken as hostages as the Resistance made their way through the very cities they had been exiled from at the behest of Israeli settler-colonialism. Hamas members even stormed and took over multiple military bases and checkpoints, such as the infamous Erez crossing, which separates Gaza from the rest of Occupied Palestine and the world, making it the largest open-air prison on earth. As of this morning, Al Jazeera reported that the latest death toll stood at 576 Palestinians and at least 800 Israelis. The Israeli regime has flattened entire neighborhoods, gloating on social media, and senselessly targeted residential areas killing families.

The Gaza Strip is a sliver of land, just 25 miles long, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It holds over 2.1 million Palestinian residents, while approximately 1.7 million of them are refugees from the 247 towns and villages surrounding Gaza that have been ethnically cleansed. Their homes were stolen, making them subject to internal displacement. Israel controls everything from the amount of electricity Gaza receives per day to the number of calories that enter the besieged strip.

It is no exaggeration to say that Palestine has shocked the world with the level of coordination, intensity, and success of this operation. Yet to label this operation as a surprise is misleading. Those who understand the level of Palestinian oppression and suffering over the last 75 years know that the real question is not if Palestinians would seek justice, but when. Those who are surprised have made the mistake of severely underestimating an Occupied people's will for liberation. 

Ironically, condemnation from Westerners, namely political analysts and U.S. politicians, has been flooding the media. Even the few public figures who have momentarily built their own careers off alleged support for Palestine have come out against this past weekend's events. In similar statements, U.S. Congresswomen Cori Bush, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar have all denounced the Palestinian resistance’s actions, even though Palestinians have a legal right to armed struggle. 

This copy-and-paste statement that is being pushed on the mainstream media is equating Palestinian resistance to Israeli violence. Palestine does not have an army and is not funded by the American government, unlike Israel, which has the fourth-strongest military in the world and receives over $3 billion dollars in military aid annually from the U.S. alone. The Palestinian resistance is an indigenous people's liberation movement. Meanwhile, since its conception, Israel has been an illegal occupying entity committing human rights atrocities every day for over seven decades. 

Since Oct. 7, U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to send Israel additional aid. Gaza has had multiple large-scale assaults committed against it and received nothing. In no world could these two parties be equal to one another. Palestinians are living in refugee camps on their own land, while Israeli settlers squat in stolen homes. Palestinian human rights lawyer, Noura Erakat tweeted: Any condemnation of violence is vapid if it does not begin & end with a condemnation of Israeli apartheid, settler colonialism, and occupation.”

Popular sentiment that is being centered by Zionist apologists is the morale clause of protecting civilian populations — in this case, illegal settlers. Israeli settlers are known to arm themselves and collaborate with the IOF. The Israeli regime requires all Jewish citizens to join the military once they turn 18. No settler, especially with the amount of power they hold over Palestinians, can be equated with a non-combatant, a civilian.

After being asked to condemn Hamas on BBC News, Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian Mission to the UK, said: “[Gaza] is the biggest open-air prison. Two million have been taken hostage by Israel for the last 16 years.” For politicians and news analysts to attempt to equate both sides as guilty is flat-out inaccurate, irresponsible, and racist. Palestinian resistance knowingly gets far more demonized than Israeli colonial violence ever has, even though Palestinians have done nothing out of the ordinary for their situation, while Israel continues its reign of war crimes. Constantly, Palestinians who are invited to speak on news programs are bombarded with questions demanding that they condemn their people's own struggle for self-determination, just as BBC News did to Zomlot. 

Similarly, Sheikh Jarrah activist and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd was interviewed on LBC and was told he was “minimizing the Israeli experience” when he did not condemn the resistance and rejected the framing of this operation as a “lose-lose situation.” El-Kurd became a popular activist for Palestinian human rights in 2021 when a video of a settler stealing his family's home in Jerusalem went viral. 

This ‘equal blame’ perspective feeds into the sorely misguided belief that Palestine's 75-year-long Occupation is a conflict. The slightest amount of actual analysis would erase the term conflict from one's vocabulary completely. It seems the world has gotten comfortable with Palestinian loss and suffering. Palestine will not be liberated by treaties, so-called peace talks, or foreign intervention. In fact, each of these options and others have been entertained over the last 75 years, and every time, it is Palestinians who emerge with more losses. It is Palestinian hands that will have to take back what was stolen from them, just as we are seeing in real-time.

Gaza has been under a large-scale attack for 48 hours. As of Oct. 9, over 500 Palestinians have been murdered in Gaza, while 16 Palestinians across the Occupied West Bank have also been killed by Israeli forces. A total siege on Gaza has been announced by the Israeli regime (who also called Palestinians “human animals”), cutting food, water, and electricity in a brutal attempt to starve Gazans. Netanyahu also publicly vowed to get revenge for the resistance operation, saying he will turn the Gaza Strip into a deserted island. There is no uproar from the same world leaders, political analysts, or news anchors that have shamed Palestinians for rising against their genocidal oppressor.

Director of the Electronic Intifada, Ali Abunimah, tweeted: “The Zionists announce their Final Solution for the people of the Gaza Ghetto. The Palestinian people are fighting nothing less than Nazis. They are fighting for survival against genocide. There are one million children in Gaza, half the population.”

The Palestinian resistance has been making its way through Occupied Palestine and continuing its fight against the Israeli Occupation. Palestinians can never go back to what life was before Oct. 7, 2023. At this moment comes an overpowering grief for the Palestinian lives currently enduring a monstrous war machine, and hope for liberation at last.

Yasser Manna
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Ayham al-Sahli
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