It isn’t a new situation that the occupation is launching a frenzied revenge campaign against the leaders, members and supporters of Hamas under the pretext of an alleged military operation against the occupation. It is also not new for the prisons to fill up with the members of the movement, as the prisons have never been empty of them. Perhaps the most recent campaign that has gone on since the disappearance of the three setters resembles the campaign launched by the occupation against Hamas after the soldier Nissim Toledano was captured in 1992, during which hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders were exiled to Marj Al-Zohour and later returned to Palestine after their legendary stay at the borders.
What’s new this time around is that the campaign still hasn’t stopped and its end is unknown due to the fact that the fate of the three setters is still unknown until this moment. Another new issue is the fact that Hamas is facing the campaign and is counting on a great and extensive jihad legacy, meaning that the concerns over the fate of the resistance idea and project is no longer present. What Hamas has faced in Palestine, especially in Gaza after the capture of Shalit, followed by the Battle of Al-Furqan and Sijeel war, is no less deadly and destructive than the most recent campaign, but, the movement survived and resisted and all the attempts to destroy the movement were not successful without fulfilling the prisoner exchange deal and without Hamas’ military strength in Gaza growing, the same place the captured soldier was kept for five years.
What is also new is that Hamas, in the West Bank specifically, at this stage does not have any fear of losing and has experienced continuous draining over the past seven years at the hands of the occupation and the PA. It was stripped of all the elements of its organisational work. The Legislative Council that was formed was mostly disabled, its institutions were seized and their management was changed, its organisational, student and relief work has been banned and its members are persecuted in their jobs. Moreover, the occupation and PA prisons have been filled with them, but the expense of resistance paid by the movement in the West Bank specifically will not be much different than what is happening today, and is not expected to weaken the movement or the masses, who have continued to live under persecution, surveillance and harassment.
The occupation’s campaign will not weaken Hamas even though it destroyed its organisational structure and has disrupted the movement. Despite this, Hamas will strengthen and will get back on track towards confronting the occupation in the correct context, which will, in turn, weaken the efforts and attempts to falsify the Palestinian scene that have gone on for years. These attempts have denied the most important issue, i.e. the existence of the occupation and the duty to resist it.
It is still too early to say for sure what has really happened and how Hamas is connected to the operation, but if it is proven to be a kidnapping operation, there will be much to say about its carious dimensions and its great impact on the Palestinian consciousness, and on the scene as a whole, because it will mark the beginning of a new phase different from those before it, even if the operation is not successful or failed to reach the stage of negotiations regarding the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Those following the extent of the Palestinian street’s interaction with the operation would realise that the resistance will have the greatest impact on the collective consciousness, and that one operation is enough to impose the will of the resistance and expel any fears or weakness, in order to establish a new resistance stage capable of overcoming the reality of slow destruction, redirecting the movement’s path, and reassessing the liberation project and the culture of resistance.
Translated from Felesteen newspaper, 16 June, 2014