Operation Al-Aqsa Flood carried out by the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, over the weekend has exposed the fragility of the occupation state of Israel. The Zionist state’s famed security and intelligence apparatus failed its citizens, spectacularly so, leading to the most serious defeat in its history stained with the blood of the Palestinians.
There is no doubt that the operation — surely the first of its kind in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict — is a strategic turning point in the whole region. It was clearly planned meticulously, and carried out with courage and conviction. The result was the disgrace of the Israel Defence Forces, the strongest army in the region, with an invincible aura about it. The IDF basically collapsed under the weight of the moment. It is adept at bombing and shooting unarmed civilians, but not so good against a determined, well-trained but lightly armed guerrilla force.
The operation was unexpected, not even in any of the wildest of Palestinian dreams. Nevertheless, it was a logical extension of the Sword of Jerusalem battle in May 2021, which re-laid the foundations for the struggle against the Israeli occupation. It was also the first time that the factions in Gaza took the initiative to respond to Israeli attacks in Jerusalem. Today, the Palestinian resistance groups have made clear that their operations are no longer limited to responding to Israeli aggression — of which there is plenty, on a daily basis — and trying to deter Israeli offensives against civilians. Israel’s efforts to divide and rule the Palestinians by separating Gaza from the West Bank, and its own Palestinian citizens — 20 per cent of the Israeli population — from both. The operation also confirmed that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a red line against which any attack is unacceptable.
The ongoing Israeli bombardment of Gaza, including residential areas and civilian infrastructure, is the apartheid state lashing out in anger. It will change nothing: Zionist myths upon which the state is built are crumbling. We could be looking at the beginning of the end for the state of Israel, which was built on the terrorism of the Zionist gangs in the British Mandate era, and has used violence and cruelty against the Palestinians ever since. Its armed forces backed by billions of US tax dollars every year have been found wanting when faced with fighting men who don’t fear death; they are more accustomed to using bombs and missiles to kill and maim men, women and children indiscriminately. The world watched, fascinated and horrified all at once, before Israel’s lackeys in the West lined up to defend its non-existent “right” to defend itself against the people who live under its military occupation.
The Palestinian situation must now be reassessed in its entirety. The occupation must be ended and the siege of Gaza must be lifted. Justice must be at the heart of all efforts to bring peace to the region. That is all that the Palestinians are asking for: justice based on international laws and conventions. That includes their legitimate right to return to their land usurped by Israeli settlers. Failing this, the Zionist state knows that it will never be able to guarantee the safety of its citizens. The emigration figures could be about to get a whole lot worse from Israel’s point of view.
Ultimately, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood has highlighted the injustice of the ill-fated Oslo Accords, and the unfit for purpose status of the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas. It exists only to serve Israel and its occupation, and must be reformed. Its tens of thousands of security personnel are nowhere to be seen whenever Palestinians need to be protected.
The operation has also highlighted the double standards of the international community. As the PA’s representative at the UN, Riyad Mansour, said on Sunday on the sidelines of the Security Council’s closed meeting about events in occupied Palestine: “Regrettably, history for some media and politicians [only] starts when Israelis are killed. Our people have endured one deadly year after another. We came to the Security Council month after month warning about the consequences of Israeli impunity and international inaction.” The unquestioned support for Israel voiced in Washington, London and Brussels demonstrated that reliance on the international community leads nowhere. Few Palestinians have any illusions that Mansour’s fine words will have any effect on their situation.
Even fewer have any faith left in the states which have normalised relations with Israel, such as the UAE and Bahrain, to do anything for the Palestinians. They expressed their sadness at the deaths of Israelis and called the Palestinian guerrillas “terrorists” in line with the Zionist narrative, but are silent when Palestinians are killed in huge numbers.
Such is the state of the Arab world today, even as Israeli jets threaten to bomb an Egyptian aid convoy heading for Gaza — and actually have bombed the headquarters of the Palestine Red Crescent — and a far-right minister plans to distribute “10,000” guns to illegal settlers. It’s time that the Arab world and its leaders woke up to the reality of the Zionist state in our midst; peace with justice is not part of its lexicon.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.