[News] Why Gaza fought back

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 21 10:47:01 EDT 2014

*Why Gaza fought back*

Published Thursday 14/08/2014 (updated) 16/08/2014 10:58

By Ramzy Baroud

My old family house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza was recently 
rebuilt by its new owner, into a beautiful three-story building with 
large windows adorned by red frames.

In Israel's most recent and deadliest war on Gaza, the house sustained 
significant damage. A large hole caused by Israeli missiles can be seen 
from afar, in a part of the house where our kitchen once stood.

It seems that the original target was not my house, however, but that of 
our kindly neighbor, who had spent his entire working-life toiling 
between manual jobs in Israel, and later in life as a janitor for 
UN-operated schools in Gaza. The man's whole life savings were invested 
in his house where several families lived. After "warning" rockets blew 
up part of his house, several missiles pulverized the rest.

My entire neighborhood was also destroyed. I saw photos of the 
wreckage-filled neighborhood by accident on Facebook. The clearance 
where we played football as little kids was filled with holes left by 
missiles and shrapnel. The shop where I used my allowance to buy candy, 
was blown up.

Even the graveyard where our dead were meant to "rest in peace" was 
anything but peaceful. Signs of war and destruction were everywhere.

My last visit there was about two years ago. I caught up with my 
neighbors on the latest politics and the news of who was dead and who 
was still alive underneath the shady wall of my old house. One 
complained about his latest ailments, telling me that his son Mahmoud 
had been killed as he had been a freedom fighter with a Palestinian 
resistance movement.

I couldn't fathom the idea that Mahmoud, the child I remembered as 
running around half-naked with a runny nose, had become a fierce fighter 
with an automatic rifle ready to take on the Israeli army. But that he 
was, and he was killed on duty.

Time changes everything. Time has changed Gaza. But the strip was never 
a passive place of people subsisting on hand-outs or a pervasive sense 
of victimhood. Being a freedom fighter preceded any rational thinking 
about life and the many choices it had to offer growing up in a refugee 
camp, and all the little kids of my generation wanted to join the Fedayeen.

But options for Gazans are becoming much more limited than ever before, 
even for my generation.

Since Israel besieged Gaza with Egypt's help and coordination, life for 
Gazans has become largely about mere survival. The Strip has been turned 
into a massive ground for an Israeli experiment concerned with 
population control. Gazans were not allowed to venture out, fish, or 
farm, and those who got even close to some arbitrary "buffer zone," 
determined by the Israeli army within Gaza's own borders, were shot and 
often killed.

With time the population of the Strip knew that they were alone. The 
short stint that brought Mohammed Morsi to power in Egypt offered Gaza 
some hope and a respite, but it soon ended. The siege, after the 
overthrow of Morsi became tighter than ever before.

The Palestinian leadership in Ramallah did very little to help Gaza. To 
ensure the demise of Hamas, Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian Authority carried 
on with its "security coordination" with Israel, as Gaza suffered a 
Draconian siege. There was no question, that after all the failed 
attempts at breaking the siege and the growing isolation of Gaza, Gazans 
had to find their own way out of the blockade.

When Israeli began its bombardment campaign of Gaza on July 6, and a day 
later with the official launch of the so-called Operation Protective 
Edge, followed by a ground invasion, it may have seemed that Gaza was 
ready to surrender.

Political analysts have been advising that Hamas has been at its weakest 
following the downturn of the Arab Spring, the loss of its Egyptian 
allies, and the dramatic shift of its fortunes in Syria and, naturally 
Iran. The "Hamas is ready to fold" theory was advanced by the logic 
surrounding the unity agreement between Hamas and Fatah; and unity was 
seen largely as a concession by Hamas to Abbas' Fatah movement, which 
continued to enjoy western political backing and monetary support.

The killing of three Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank in late 
June was the opportunity for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 
to test the misleading theory on Hamas' weakened position. He launched 
his war that eventually mounted into a genocide, hoping that Hamas and 
other resistance groups would be forced to disarm or be completely 
eradicated -- as promised by various Israeli officials.

But it didn't. From the very first days of the war it became clear the 
resistance could not be defeated, at least not as easily as Netanyahu 
had expected. The more troops he invested in the war on Gaza, the more 
Israeli army casualties increased.

Netanyahu's response was to increase the price of Palestinian resistance 
by inflicting as much harm on Palestinian civilians as possible: He 
killed over 1,900, wounded nearly 10,000, a vast majority of whom were 
civilians, and destroyed numerous schools, mosques, hospitals, and 
thousands of homes, thus sending hundreds of thousands of people on the 
run. But where does one run when there is nowhere to go?

Israel's usual cautious political discourse was crumbling before Gaza's 
steadfastness. Israeli officials and media began to openly call for 
genocide. Middle East commentator Jeremy Salt explained:

"The more extreme of the extreme amongst the Zionists say out loud that 
the Palestinians have to be wiped out or at the very least driven into 
Sinai," he wrote, citing Moshe Feiglin, the deputy of the Israeli 
Knesset, who called for "full military conquest of the Gaza strip and 
the expulsion of its inhabitants. They would be held in tent encampments 
along the Sinai border while their final destination was decided. Those 
who continued to resist would be exterminated."

 From Israeli commentator Yochanan Gordon, who flirted with genocide in 
"when genocide is permissible," to Ayelet Shaked, who advocated the 
killing of the mothers of those who resist and are killed by Israel. 
"They should follow their sons. Nothing would be more just. They should 
go as should the physical houses in which they raised the snakes. 
Otherwise more little snakes are raised," she wrote on Facebook.

References to genocide and extermination and other devastatingly violent 
language are no longer "claims" levied by Israeli critics, but a loud 
and daily self-indictment made by the Israelis themselves.

The Israelis are losing control of their decades-long hasbara, a 
propaganda scheme so carefully knitted and implemented, many the world 
over were fooled by it. Palestinians, those in Gaza in particular, were 
never blind to Israel's genocidal intentions. They assembled their 
resistance with the full knowledge that a fight for their very survival 

Israel's so-called Protective Edge is the final proof of Israel's 
unabashed face, that of genocide. It carried it out, this time paying 
little attention to the fact that the whole world was watching. Trending 
Twitter hashtags which began with #GazaUnderAttack, then #GazaResists, 
quickly morphed to #GazaHolocaust. The latter was used by many that 
never thought they would dare make such comparisons.

Gaza managed to keep Israel at bay in a battle of historic proportions. 
Once its children are buried, it will once again rebuild its defenses 
for the next battle. For Palestinians in Gaza, this is not about mere 
resistance strategies, but their very survival.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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