The Palestinian cause has been reborn, stronger than ever, following an uprising throughout Palestine in reaction to Israeli aggression against the people of Jerusalem during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
After attacks on worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, coupled with violent attacks on Palestinians throughout Jerusalem and the threats to ethnically cleanse the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, an unexpected Palestinian rebellion broke out.
The Israeli aggression in response to the Palestinian uprising in all the territories was overwhelming. Before the entire world, Israel massacred the people of Gaza and shot dead innocent protesters in the West Bank. The aggression against demonstrators in the West Bank resulted in at least 30 murders, whilst in the Gaza Strip 248 people were massacred. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, of the 248 murdered, 66 were children, 39 women and 17 were elderly people, in addition to 1,948 people having sustained injuries.
Israeli Premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, announced gleefully in his ceasefire speech that Israel had killed 200 terrorists; so according to him at least some of the 122 women, children and elderly people were terrorists. Netanyahu also lied about Israel’s supposed military achievements, which were nil, claiming to have severely weakened the Gaza-based armed groups tunnel systems. The reason why Netanyahu had to lie about the fact that Israel hit little in terms of military targets, is because he knows full well that the Israeli military were dealt a shocking defeat.
The historic Algerian revolutionary writer Frantz Fanon coined the phrase “by any means necessary”, a phrase echoed by other revolutionaries the world over, including the famous black liberationist Malcolm X. The Palestinians, in their latest uprising, have embodied the meaning of that phrase and showed it to still be the attitude needed in order for change to come about in such times.
The Palestinian Uprising Inside Israel
In an unprecedented way, not seen since the end of their experience under military rule in 1966, the Palestinian people with Israeli passports rose up against the Israeli regime. In solidarity with Jerusalem, the Palestinians of what are known as the 1948 territories, or inside Israel, rebelled in a way not anticipated by anyone.
In approximately 40 different cities and towns, the Palestinians took to the streets in protest, even resisting with arms against the onslaught they faced by Israeli settlers and police forces. The city of Lyd, was declared by its Israeli mayor as having erupted into a “civil war”, as the people of Jaffa, Haifa, Akka, Umm Al-Fahm, Nazareth, al-Naqab (Negev) and elsewhere, rose up both peacefully and violently. This brought the Israeli economy to a standstill and forced a massive and expensive deployment of Israeli forces to violently put down protests; it also further damaged Jewish and Palestinian Israeli relations.
On May 18, a general strike was also organized, which encompassed the Palestinian people of the 1948 territories and put the Israeli construction industry at a standstill, causing a total revenue loss of around 40 million in one day. Much of the Israeli labour industry consists of Palestinian workers – especially when it comes to building – putting Israel in a very weak position as they rely on Palestinians to keep their comfy lives going.
Prior to the Oslo Accords, having been signed in 1993 and 1995, the West Bank and Gaza Strip were closely linked economically to Israel, but since have been almost completely disconnected. During the first Intifada, in 1987-1993, the economic tactic of utilizing general strikes also worked, but now it is less successful in the occupied territories.
The Struggle Against Occupation In The West Bank
The people of the West Bank did participate greatly in the general strike however, with approximately 150,000 Palestinians living there who work low paid labour jobs in settlements or inside the 1948 territories participating. Of the 60,000 plus Palestinians who work inside of Israel, all but around 150 of them refused to show up and work on the day of the general strike. What Israelis quickly came to realize is that without Palestinians their economy would suffer greatly.
The Palestinian people of the West Bank also rose up in mass non-violent demonstrations, placing pressure on Israel’s military which was forced to deploy in much larger numbers to put down the protests. In reaction, Israel shot dead countless unarmed civilians, 12 in just one day alone.
There were also waves of armed resistance attacks, lone wolf operations carried out by desperate Palestinians, and also coordinated groups of fighters who forced Israeli occupation forces to flee areas surrounding the city of Jenin on a few occasions.
The Palestinian Uprising In The Streets Of Jerusalem
Israel’s court system, illegal settlers, and extremist members of Knesset who showed their support for it, all worked together on the case of ethnically cleansing the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. 28 Palestinian families have been targeted for violent expulsion from their homes, so that they can be replaced with illegal Israeli settlers, which would amount to an expulsion of up to 550 people.
In opposition to the Sheikh Jarrah ethnic cleansing campaign, massive pushback came from residents of East Jerusalem and beyond. Despite the brute force of Israeli armed occupation forces, more and more demonstrators took to the streets to oppose the evictions.
In the surrounding areas of the old city of Jerusalem, inside the old city itself, and throughout East Jerusalem, Palestinians took to the streets to confront Israeli occupation police and, with all means available to them, resisted. This put a huge amount of pressure on the Israeli forces and although thousands of Palestinians were injured during Ramadan and the uprising, around 100 Israeli occupation police forces also sustained injuries.
The Armed Resistance From Gaza
In a fashion never seen before, all the Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip worked together in a coordinated fashion as part of the ‘Joint Room’ of resistance factions. From the secular PFLP and Fatah, to the Islamic Hamas and PIJ, all were united.
New weapons were unveiled by the armed resistance and used against Israel’s military, such as drones and unmanned submarines. New rockets capable of reaching any part of Israel were also revealed and used; new military tactics were also utilized.
Israel’s 3-year-long “knockout blow to Hamas” plan failed tremendously. Israel’s army failed to launch a ground incursion into any part of Gaza, and Israel’s military were nowhere to be seen anywhere near the separation barrier – they had retreated.
Israel’s airports were shut down by rocket fire, Tel Aviv was brought to a standstill, and the infrastructure of surrounding areas of Gaza was hit harder than ever. Israel’s military was surprised by the strength of Gaza’s armed factions, which had not in the past possessed many real weapons.
Israel also failed to take out Gaza’s tunnel infrastructure, killing only a few combatants who were active at the time and were fighting; it only destroyed very minor tunnel systems. Israel’s main targets were the civilian infrastructure of Gaza and its civilians themselves.
The Palestinian armed groups hit countless Israeli military bases, air bases, soldiers, air defense batteries, gas pipelines, ports, and fired at oil facilities, warships, and a chemical warehouse. Hamas even gave Israelis in Tel Aviv a curfew on Saturday night, last week, between 10pm and 12 midnight, to gather supplies before rocket fire continued.
Their military strategies caused great political defeats, scared Israel’s ground forces into hiding, inflicted soldier casualties, economic losses, power outages in Israel, and destroyed the morale of the Israeli people, politicians, and military.
A Unified Resistance
In an unprecedented fashion, the people of the world showed their support for the Palestinian plight, whilst celebrities, sports stars, and even hosts of mainstream television shows voiced their outrage at Israel’s war crimes. The calls for sanctions against Israel are now coming out of the mouths of politicians in the US, UK, and EU, whilst the International Community got engaged as quickly as possible to end the violence.
Calls for BDS (Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions) have grown the world over, as the International Criminal Court (ICC) is now poised to investigate war crimes committed in the occupied territories. There has also been the Human Rights Watch report, which labelled Israel and Apartheid State, as well as a statement issued by Israel’s top Human Rights organisation B’Tselem which labelled Israel an Apartheid regime.
The pressure of global public opinion, BDS, the ICC, Human Rights organisations, and a growing urgency in the international community to remedy the situation, are external threats to Israel’s system of discrimination; whilst the general strikes, mass non-violent protests, armed attacks, and coordinated armed resistance also put pressure on Israel internally. If Israel is now to get dragged into a war with any external enemy, this would also be another level of pressure.
The strategy to bring down Israeli Apartheid and see the liberation of the Palestinian people has been shown to work effectively when it is all inclusive and no one element alone will work. This is why the latest round of escalations has proven that a united Palestinian resistance using all means necessary is the only way to deliver results, and going forward, this will now be the cure to the disease of Apartheid.