The Palestinian issue suffered a decline in the regional media with the onset of the Arab uprisings. Indeed, many believed that the issue had been consigned to the history books and would disappear, submerged by the chaos affecting Arab countries.
There are those who were very happy to see such a decline because it freed them from their responsibility and offered peace of mind. Others raised the banner of resistance and defiance and have been waiting for the day that they could prove that the Palestinian cause is alive and well, and that the Arab identity of Palestine is protected by strong arms and watchful eyes insistent on keeping Palestine a sacred Arab land.
History is only made by strong and brave individuals who insist on restoring their rights, while the compromisers only bring about shame and ignominy. This is a lesson to the Palestinians and the Arabs who thought that negotiations will save face.
The Arabs have given in to Israel repeatedly for over twenty years and have begged for its acceptance and satisfaction. However, Israel did not benefit from the submissive Arab initiatives and continued in its arrogance in an attempt to strip the Arabs of everything.
Israel has not hesitated to use its military and political strength to hit every Arab trying to make a change. Ironically, it has never been satisfied fully by those who more or less surrendered, and yet it continues to insist on provoking those who believe in Arab and Palestinian rights. As such, Israel has been unable to take advantage of the traitors to the cause, and couldn't get rid of those challenging its hegemony in the region.
Israel has learnt nothing from history and was both aggressive and arrogant in its response to the kidnapping of the three young settlers. It took the conscious decision to escalate tensions and the confrontation with the resistance groups in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians were ready and waiting, although those who champion negotiations weren't convinced.
The resistance movements in Gaza have fought off Israel's invading army twice in recent years, thwarting its objectives. However, those Arabs and Palestinians with a bias towards Israel and talks refused to accept such an analysis and worked hard to convince people that Hamas and all the resistance forces in Gaza were defeated because Israel achieved its objectives. The reality, as Israel itself acknowledged, is that it did not achieve its objectives, despite the claims of its spies. They even made an effort to trivialise the resistance with their media describing it as a mockery.
Gaza was waiting for the Israelis to attack in order to prove to the world that it has a determined resistance force; thinking with their muscles instead of their collective brain, Israeli ministers provided the Palestinian resistance with the opportunity to fight on the fields of honour and heroism.
Some Arab leaders, including the President of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, mocked Hamas's rockets, saying they were merely pipes; they didn't top to consider that they could easily become targets in the future. Hamas made promises and has kept those promises, proving itself as a major force in the Arab and Islamic world; its detractors have been shown to be naïve and foolish.
Technical Palestinian developments
The Palestinian rockets were very primitive in the beginning; their main plus point was that they could actually be fired. Research by the resistance groups has led to the development of various weapons for use against the Israeli occupation authorities. This is one of the most significant benefits of the betrayal of the Palestinian cause by Arab countries and those Palestinians intent on security "cooperation" with the occupation forces.
The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have come to the conclusion that they must rely on nobody but themselves. The Israeli-led blockade, supported by the West and some Arab states, has driven the resistance groups to be creative, innovative and inventive. Thus the technology to make the rockets more effective with a bigger payload has been developed to the stage that they can now reach major cities in Israel; this has been witnessed by the world's media.
In 2004, I predicted that these missiles which were being mocked would one day become an effective tool in the hands of the resistance against Israel, and this has happened. Now I believe that these rockets that can reach targets over 100 kilometres away will develop further to hold explosive warheads weighing one hundred kilograms or more, and they will be more accurate, perhaps to "smart bomb" level. Tunnel and fortification technology is also being improved.
The Palestinians working on this will leave no stone unturned to increase the rockets' capabilities. In fact, developments will not end with the rockets, but will also include the electronic warfare; the resistance groups will be in a position to intercept phone calls and jam Israeli weapons, including the Iron Dome missile defence system. It may be some time off, but people should not be surprised if the Palestinian resistance announces its control over a settlement or two in southern 1948-occupied Palestine.
As such, Israel must now give serious consideration to evacuating its settlements in the south. The resistance will have the capability to liberate more Palestinian land in the future; if there is any setback in this respect it will have been caused by the Arabs who continue to besiege the resistance groups and insist on destroying them. For example, Egypt has a strong role in the blockade of the Gaza Strip and it denies the people in the enclave access to many of the basic necessities of life and supplies required technological developments. Instead of the Arab governments besieging Gaza, they should be supporting the resistance in every possible way, including financially.
Gaza is small and has very few resources, but despite this it is excelling in military technology and outdoing most of the Arab countries who still buy weapons from other countries. Gaza is flush with great minds and will be a revolutionary model and example all over the world, just as Vietnam and Algeria have gone down in history as wonderful examples of resistance to foreign occupation.
Leading the initiative
As I write, the Palestinian resistance in Gaza has continued to take the military initiative while Israel remains confused about where and how to strike. Of course, there is no military balance between Gaza and Israel, but the resistance groups' rockets are starting to bring a small degree of balance in the ability to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy. Although they are not yet at the required level in terms of payload and accuracy, the resistance knows its objectives and knows how and when to strike.
It is clear that the Palestinian resistance takes a scientific approach to any action. It is also very quiet, refraining from the bombastic rhetoric so common in the region. The resistance knows its limitations; the overhyped and weak discourse of the past is missing from the current discourse and the language used is delivering the truth rather than misleading the public into believing that they possess non-existent capabilities.
Israel seems to be confused; its air strikes have been directed against targets unrelated to the resistance and have killed many civilians. It knows that this will lead to a world media and political backlash, just as it did during its assault and invasion of 2008/2009. Fearing international mockery, yet heading towards it inexorably, Israel is keeping its assault less intense than before. This suggests that it is running out of "terrorist targets" and has fewer collaborators and spies in the Gaza Strip.
The years of the Palestinian political split have seen the resistance able to uncover and prosecute spies, with a corresponding reduction in the amount of vital intelligence passed to the Israelis. It is clear that the resistance in Gaza has much more effective security, surveillance and anti-espionage measures in place, and fighters are able to move around without their positions being reported to the enemy.
Do we detect some hesitancy in Israel's intention to pursue a ground offensive? Its military planners know little about the combat-readiness of resistance fighters and what weapons they have at their disposal. Just as they were surprised by rockets reaching Haifa, they may also be surprised at the anti-tank missiles and armour in resistance hands. A lot of surprises await Israel's ground troops should their officers decide to take the risk of an invasion. Heavy losses, I think, have to be expected, with dead and kidnapped Israeli soldiers a real possibility.
The resistance is confident that the Israeli army's morale and dignity will be dragged through the Gaza dust, to add to the list of defeats since its disastrous 2006 war against Lebanon.
A resistance that is a source of pride
After a great deal of humiliation and degradation, the Palestinian people need a strong boost to their self-confidence. The resistance has given Palestine an example and model of self-sacrifice, redemption and steadfastness, and its performance in the field has breathed new life into Palestinians at home and abroad. They have been brought out of the miserable negotiating culture and their revolutionary spirit has been revived; this is essential for the restoration of the national culture which has been damaged by the spread of consumerism.
The enemies worked in collaboration with the Palestinian Authority on dampening the morale of the Palestinian people, eliminating their national consciousness, and abandoning their cause. However, their plans have been ruined by their own hands in thinking that military action will cause the resistance to collapse. They launched their campaign but realised very quickly that they need a way out.
It is important that the current war is taking the Palestinian people from a submissive Oslo culture to a culture of hope, dignity and confrontation. I believe that we will find in the upcoming period more Palestinian voices rejecting the Oslo Accords and replacing the useless agreement with more resistance. The Palestinians now walk with their heads held high again after their humiliation by those promoting Oslo and negotiations.
Translated from Al Jazeera net, 10 July, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.