Palestinian resistance -- emerging political landscape!

Muhammad Mahmood | Saturday, 12 June 2021

A fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into force in  Gaza on  May 21, but  intimidating threats by  Israeli Defence Minister  and police-backed Israelis attacks on Palestinians on the occupied West Bank is still on. Two days after the cease fire came into effect, Israeli police assaulted Palestinians who were performing dawn prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque and beat them up to enable Israeli Jewish settlers to storm the compound-- the third holiest site of Islam.

The 11 day fighting was  the worst outbreak of hostilities in years. Since the fight broke out on  May 10, at least 248 Palestinians, including 66 children were  killed by Israeli bombing while 12 people died in Israel. According to the United Nations (UN) nearly 450 buildings were destroyed including six hospitals, 53 schools and 11 primary health care centres in Gaza. More than 1000 housing units in 258 buildings had been destroyed and another 14,500 suffered damage. Also, more than 525 businesses were damaged or destroyed in the fighting.

Around the world, millions of people are shocked and outraged at the brutal terror bombing, ethnic cleansing and communal violence unleashed by Israel. These crimes were committed  with the active support and assistance provided by Israel's chief enabler the US. In the midst of murderous bombardment of the civilian population of Gaza described as an open air prison, President Joe Biden assured the Israeli prime minister his firm support for Israel's right to defend itself.

When President Biden visited Michigan,  a journalist asked if he would take a question on the fight as he was test-driving a new Ford truck, he replied "No, you can't. Not unless you get in front the car as I step on it". Also, his European allies chanted the same mantra of Israel's right to self defence but without extending the same right to the Palestinians.

The US corporate media also joined in condemning Hamas for starting the fight, when in fact the clashes were triggered by the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem by Israelis chanting "death to the Arabs", followed by Israeli military raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Both the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post took the lead  in their editorials in espousing Israel as an innocent victim of Arab rage. The New York Times while supported the invasion and destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria did not publish any editorial on the Israeli attack on Gaza.

The US corporate media's Indian American journalist Fareed Zakaria even went further than his colleagues describing Israel as a "liberal democracy"  and its ( Israel) founding fathers embodied "justice and morality" and he hoped these forces would gain strength to eventually give Palestinians their own state. He espoused this idea both in the Washington Post and CNN. He never mentioned that the very Zionist movement to establish a Jewish state in Palestine was essentially a colonial settler project to dispossess Palestinians from their home land to create the state of Israel. The 2018 Nation State Law declared the " right to exercise national self determination" in Israel is "unique to the Jewish people" which clearly defines not only Israel as a colonial settler state but also the "apartheid" nature of the Israeli state. This was sheer hypocrisy of Fareed Zakaria, proving himself to be  just another US  corporate media  apologist for Israel.

Israel and Egypt have enforced a blockade of Gaza for the last 14 years, supposedly to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition into Gaza. These countries jointly also control who and what can enter Gaza. Israel has the complete supremacy over its air space.

President Biden  asked the Congress to approve a US$735 million arms package for Israel which is a part of nearly US$4 billion in aid annually that the US provides to Israel. Also, the US used its veto power thrice in the course of a week to prevent the UN Security Council from issuing any statement criticising Israel's action. In fact, so far, the US has used its veto power 42 times to protect Israel, more than half of its vetoes the US has cast in the UN Security Council. The Biden administration's attempt to shield Israel at the United Nation reflects the persistent US role to underwrite the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands since Israel's inception.

The US has a number of interrelated goals in the Middle-East which kept the region in constant  turmoil since the end the second  World War replacing Britain as the regional hegemonic power causing thousands of Arab deaths and the destruction of many countries such as Iraq, Syrian, Libya and the dispossession of the Palestinians from their homeland, Palestine. These goals include securing vital energy resources, forestalling Russian and Iranian influence, ensuring  Israel remains the dominant coercive military power as the proxy for the US in achieving its (the US) strategic objectives in the region, the survival and security of its client Arab states, countering Arab nationalist  upsurge, promoting the US  sponsored democracy for the region as currently functioning in Egypt and Algeria.

There are two wars being conducted against Palestinians. One is an open war waged by Israel to gain more Palestinian land and the shadowy  war backed and financed by the US for its own geo-political interests. But the crisis in the Middle East is now on a knife's edge. While the US remains the principal sponsor of the Zionist apartheid state of Israel, Iran steadfastly remains on the side of Arab resistance against US imperialism and Israeli expansionism.  That has made Iran its (the US) principal adversary in the region and Iran has already developed economic, diplomatic and military ties with Russia and China.

Historically, the 1948 establishment of Israel posed inherent geopolitical conundrums. The fact that the land designated as Israel was already inhabited by the Palestinians was not given any importance or priority. Palestinians find impossible to accept that their land , their homes were taken over by another people. The Palestinians are a stubborn impediment to the Zionist scheme to colonise the whole of Palestine. Therefore, from their (Israel) point of  Palestinians are an obstacle that must be removed and their (Palestinians) cultural identity and history must be erased. All traces of Palestinian existence as people must be wiped clean.

Israeli leaders had hoped that Palestinians in  the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem and within Israel itself would fragment them politically and geographically to achieve the goal of greater  Israel. Gaza looked as if it had been sealed off, the West Bank broken up into Palestinian Bantustans with expanding Israeli settlements, Jerusalem was encircled  and increasing de-Palestinisation of the city, and embittered and powerless  Palestinians within Israel-- all seemed to be going according to the plan and the policy for a time seemed to work, but crisis that erupted in May prove  that to be an illusion. The attempt to weakening the Palestinians by fragmenting them also  has turned out to be counterproductive so much so that  now Israel faces four different variants of the crisis to deal with simultaneously.

The strength of Palestinian resistance is rooted in its endurance. Even in exile and defeat, the Palestinians have refused to disappear and continue to resist. Hamas now has emerged as the vanguard of Palestinian resistance and despite Israel's superiority over Hamas' ill equipped  para-military forces  produced no victory for Israel. Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas leader declared that the May conflict had "opened the door to new phases that will witness many victories". The ceasefire has created an atmosphere of enhanced instability and created a state of permanent crisis for Israel because it has no military solution to Gaza and Hamas.

Palestinian unity now is based on resistance, not the peace process. This has created a whole new challenges for Israel and its enabler, the US. The US is continuing to  prop up the corrupt Palestinian Authority (PA) headed by Mahmoud Abbas and works as a mercenary force for Israel in the West Bank. The US knows  full well the PA  represents none other than its cohort of corrupt Palestinian politicians. Such a support for the PA is in line with  its (the US) support for other corrupt and authoritarian Arab client regimes like the Saudis and the  Emiratis in the region. Furthermore, the Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah by continuing to collaborate with the Israeli government lost all credibility to represent Palestinian interests. It has, in fact,  become an obstacle in the way to Palestinian freedom. Also, whether the Palestinian resistance be moving towards armed struggle is now an  issue facing the resistance leadership.

Hamas remains formally committed to merging Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jerusalen into a Single State. In effect, one state reality is of Israels own creation and has effectively  made the establishment of a separate Palestinian state impossible. In fact, now the Israelis themselves by their own deeds with the backing of the US have made two state solution impossible. Yet, the US political establishment continues to chant "the two state solution is the only viable option" to avoid acknowledging the current one state reality.

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, former member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) told Afshin Rattansi of RT that the two state solution is dead and Israel is responsible for destroying it. The two state solution still favoured by the US and its allies in Europe and Arab client states of the US including the irrelevant PA, is completely out of sync with the reality on the ground

A truly free and democratic country for all its people is one in which, as Edward Said once opined, all sharing rights and privileges under a law that treats all as equal, citizenship prevails over ethnic and religious divide. Former Mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti believes that Israelis and Palestinians are already living in a "binational reality".  Many Jewish scholars and prominent voices such as Hannah Arendt, Martin Bauber and IlanPappe argued for a binational state ( i.e. one state with two nationalities). The reality dictates that  the one state solution is the only viable option now left to resolve  the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

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