This year's 73rd anniversary of the Nakba was not marked with sadness, bitterness and grief over the loss of the land, as it was in the past, but rather with joy despite the pain, and pride despite the bitterness. It has spread hope amongst the people about the restoration of Palestine, which was usurped by the Zionist enemy after the resistance kick-started its legendary struggle against Israel and the spark of the intifada was ignited across all of Palestine, its flames burning from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. The uprising is no longer confined to Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip but has also spread to the West Bank and the territories occupied in 1948. The occupation authorities have not managed to displace the residents of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes, as they have done in the rest of occupied Palestine.
For the first time since the Nakba, the Palestinian struggle is extending across every part of Palestine. The resistance has connected Gaza and Jerusalem.
Who would have believed that missiles from Gaza would one day be capable of reaching Ben Gurion Airport, paralysing air traffic and forcing flights to be diverted to Greece and Cyprus? Who would have believed that the missiles could target Israel's strategic points? Ayyash missiles are named after the martyr Yahya Ayyash, who was murdered by Israel; they have a range of 250 kilometres and have brought work on the Eilat-Ashkelon pipelines to a halt. Israel had presented these pipelines as an alternative to the Suez Canal but has instead been forced to close down some gas field platforms. This has reduced the international enthusiasm to invest in the Israeli gas sector.
Who would have believed that the resistance could force a curfew to be imposed in Tel Aviv, sending illegal Jewish settlers scuttling into their shelters? The missiles cause panic and fear across the occupation state, prompting analysts to express concerns about its future, which is weaker as a result. As the headline in Maariv newspaper said, "The state is burning".
Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, was charged with forming a government after Netanyahu failed to do so, and has said that the area is witnessing a loss of control on the prime minister's watch. He also tweeted that Jewish and Arab rioters have declared war on Israel and that there is no adequate response from the government, the police and the leadership.
In fact, I think this is exactly what Netanyahu wanted in order to protect himself; to spread anarchy in Israel, first by provoking the Palestinians with the Sheikh Jarrah displacement issue, then by escalating Israeli violations against the Palestinians in Al-Aqsa Mosque, to which the Palestinian resistance in Gaza was fully expected to respond. In turn, the Israeli army would launch intensive raids on Gaza as usual, and another war would ensue. Netanyahu is the one who started it and he is the one who will end it, as happens every time. All of this casts him as Israel's "strongman", delays the formation of the new government headed by his opponent, and diverts attention from the corruption charges against him. It may even lead to the postponement of his trial.
However, Netanyahu has ignored the fact that this is not the same as before; that the violence is more intense, and the anger is stronger. Moreover, the struggle has spread to include areas that do not typically witness conflict between Arabs and Jews, such as Galilee in northern Israel, where the Palestinian citizens represent half of the population and live side by side with their Jewish neighbours. This struggle also escalated very quickly for the first time.
Netanyahu has also overlooked the fact that Palestinian anger is at an unprecedented level and the reaction to Israel's actions is stronger; the people are more organised. Moreover, their willingness to die for the cause has become greater.
He has also ignored the fact that the strength and capabilities of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza have developed to an astonishing degree. The Qassam Brigades now have powerful, sophisticated missiles which act as more of a deterrent.
Never before has Israel been challenged in such a way, not even during its wars with regional Arab armies. The occupation state is behaving as if it is gravely insulted by this, but it faces even more "indignity" at the hands of the resistance fighters who have devoted their lives to defending their land, freedom and dignity. It may even lose again.
For decades now, Israel has played the old colonial trick of divide and rule, splitting the Palestinians into several sections: one in Gaza, one in the West Bank, one in Jerusalem and one within the state itself. It also created the Palestinian diaspora and has worked hard to keep them all separate, trying to make each section focused on itself and not paying attention to the others. This allows Israel to single each one out if it dares to defend one or more of the others. Thus the Palestinians in Gaza face massive military "retaliation" if they seek to defend Jerusalem and its indigenous people, while West Bank residents are arrested if they try to participate in the struggle to lift the blockade imposed on Gaza. The same goes for the Palestinians in Jerusalem or Israel if they try to defend Gaza or the West Bank.
The new Aqsa Intifada has changed that. Gaza responded and showed solidarity with the Palestinians in Jerusalem, casting off the chains of division and rule to unite all Palestinians wherever they are, including the diaspora. The people of occupied Palestine are thus united against the Israeli occupation despite their very different circumstances and conditions.
Yet again, a war has been imposed on the Palestinians; they did not seek it but — all praise and glory be to God — the magic has backfired, as the saying goes, and turned against the magician. The Zionists' deception has turned against them. They started the war and thought they had enough power to protect themselves; that the threat of their nuclear arsenal and "Iron Dome" would protect them from the resistance rockets, but this was not the case. "They planned, but Allah also planned. And Allah is the best of planners."(The Qur'an, chapter Al-Anfal, verse 30) The missiles of the Palestinian resistance have thrown the enemy off balance.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.