“I wish I could wake up one day and find that Gaza has sunk into the sea.” That was the strange wish made by the enemy and killer of the Palestinian people, the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The reaction to his statement saw people from far and wide praising Gaza, expressing their keenness to protect it and support it by all means, either out of love for Gaza or out of hatred of Rabin and the Israeli occupation. Yes, Gaza was the thorn in the side of the occupation, as it always has been throughout its history, resisting invaders and occupiers; it is an example for resistance, heroism and redemption. Gaza has endured many wars and has always paid the price through occupation and destruction by colonial forces; it is the gateway to Egypt for invaders from the north, and the beating heart of Palestine for invasions from the south or the sea.”
Gaza, it can be said, is always paying the price for everything. After paying the price for the wars against Palestine, Gaza is now paying the price for its survival and resilience, and for being a model of resistance.
How can it be otherwise when Gaza remained resilient in the face of the British occupation of Palestine and continued to resist until the very end? The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip then became the model for confronting the Israeli occupation and its forces in 1956, and continued to support all the revolutions of the Palestinian people in all Palestinian villages and towns.
The coastal territory also resisted after its reoccupation by Israel in 1967 and was a thorn in the brutal occupier’s side. It provided a unique example of resistance and perseverance against the occupation and did not submit. Then, in 1987, it re-emerged to erupt in the First Intifada which swept Palestine and continued until it damaged Israel’s military occupation.
In the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, the entire nation turned to Gaza and its resistance forces’ creativity which provided a new model for making simple weapons that again damaged the Israelis and caused them to withdraw from the Gaza Strip in May 2005. Supposedly weak Gaza became the first to teach the Israeli occupation army a lesson it will never forget; the same army that defeated seven Arab armies in the 1948 and 1967 wars and labelled itself as invincible.
When faced with such legendary steadfastness, everyone should have tipped their hats and saluted Gaza, its people and its resistance groups. However, the opposite happened, as the individual who always gloated that he did not believe in or support resistance was the first to abandon the Gaza Strip, which ultimately led to the detestable political division in June 2007. The Palestinian Authority president marginalised Gaza immediately.
It was a nice opportunity for Mahmoud Abbas to abandon the Gaza Strip and start the process for the dissolution not only of Gaza and Hamas, but also Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). He also wanted to eradicate Gaza’s history and geography; its wounded citizens and martyrs; its prisoners and resistance. From being at the centre of Palestinian decision-making and political activity, as well as the focus of the Palestinian cause and its heart, Gaza was removed from all branches of authority. We have seen a reduction in the number of ministers from the Gaza Strip; candidates have been marginalised in lower level positions. There is now a minimal presence of Palestinians from Gaza in embassies around the world. Abbas and his people in Ramallah have even contrived to make sure that Gaza is deprived of development and service projects, despite international aid and support for rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed by successive Israeli wars.
Furthermore, Israel has waged three wars on the Gaza Strip over the past few years and there has been more support demonstrated by South American countries than by President Mahmoud Abbas. He has either blamed and condemned the resistance groups or pardoned Israel for its crimes, holding the resistance responsible for Israeli attacks.
The long saga of agreements between Hamas and the other factions began in 2005 in order to activate the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and get the Palestinians to unite. However, the PA has not implemented any of these agreements, the most recent of which was the Al-Shati’ reconciliation deal with Hamas signed in May 2014. Abbas has contradicted everything agreed upon, including the establishment of a Palestinian unity government to end the division; the activation of the Legislative Council; and the creation of a temporary framework for the PLO.
The national reconciliation government was the biggest icon of the agreement and so he felt that it was necessary to put a spoke in the wheel and hinder its development, and Abbas continued to marginalise the Gaza Strip under false pretences. In addition, ministers from Gaza were prohibited from communicating with their ministry headquarters and the policy of excluding Gaza from the main ministries and other senior positions carried on. Given that Gaza was not even included in the budget discussed by the PA in Ramallah last October, it is reasonable to suggest that Abbas has a desire to fulfil Rabin’s wish and get rid of the territory.
If Rabin could see what Abbas is doing to Gaza I am sure he would be very happy. The PA president is humiliating and degrading Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and depriving them of their most basic needs. He is also maintaining security coordination with the Israeli occupation forces in order for the blockade on Gaza to continue and increase the suffering of the people.
Mahmoud Abbas should remember that Gaza was always and will remain unbreakable; it has stood tall against all kinds of invaders and rooted out spies and traitors, and it will confront all who try to sink it without trace. The fate of those conspiring against Gaza today will be the same as all who tried to do so in the past; they will be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Translated from Felesteen newspaper, 12 January 2015
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.