When the Shujaya neighbourhood in Gaza was stormed last week, it was a very dark night, especially for the Zionist enemies. The moon, though, shone brightly in the sky above the besieged Palestinian territory, a territory filled with pride and dignity. It was a night on which the Arab Zionists wept like the Jewish Zionists as they wondered how a small group of people with no aircraft, tanks, smart bombs, submarines or surveillance technology could inflict a defeat on the strongest army in the region in possession of an arsenal of the latest weapons, ammunition and equipment. The US has even opened its own arsenals to the Zionists, and sent two aircraft carrier task forces to cover their back in the Mediterranean. The Israeli army claims that it is invincible, but the military wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades, managed to rub its nose in the dirt and expose it to the whole world as a fragile force that relies on modern technology controlled remotely, with cowardly soldiers who flee when confronted at point blank range.
There is no doubt that the battle of Shujaya will go down as one of Al-Qassam’s astonishing feats that submissive minds cannot comprehend, especially the Arab Zionists, who are more dangerous, I believe, that the Israeli Zionists and their allies. If it were not for such Arabs, Israel would not have dared to attack the Palestinians in Gaza and commit the most horrific crimes against the largely civilian population. More than 18,800 Palestinians have been martyred so far, most of them children and women. Israel would not have been able to destroy civilian infrastructure, including places of worship and hospitals, without a green light from the Zionist Arab regimes, just as they got one from the US. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has admitted that the Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority are with the apartheid state and also want to get rid of Hamas as he does.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant acknowledged that there were heavy losses among the ranks of the so-called “Israel Defence Forces” in Shujaya. One senior military commander described the ambush by Al-Qassam Brigades as a painful blow in which close friends, soldiers and fellow officers were lost. The Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevi, described the ambush as difficult and dangerous, while Netanyahu expressed his sadness, describing the battle at the losses in Shujaya neighbourhood as “difficult”. Al-Qassam fighters apparently captured senior officers, including the commander of the 13th Golani Division, the commander of the 13th Golani Battalion, the commander of the 669th Commando Unit, the commander of the 51st Battalion and another battalion commander in the 51st Division, as well as a large number of soldiers.
Whenever the Israeli occupation forces suffer such a major defeat, they turn their anger on Palestinian civilians and drop even more US-supplied munitions on them. They are cowards, like those described by The Almighty in the Qur’an thus: “Indeed, there is more fear in their hearts for you [believers] than for Allah. That is because they are a people who do not comprehend. Even united, they would not [dare] fight against you except [from] within fortified strongholds or from behind walls.”
Shujaya is one of the most prominent and largest neighbourhoods in the Gaza Strip, and one of the most densely populated. It has witnessed armed confrontations between Palestinians and Zionist occupation soldiers in recent decades. Lying on the east of the Gaza Strip, the occupation troops must face the neighbourhood’s fighters in every military offensive against Gaza. The Zionists have failed over the decades to break Shujaya. The neighbourhood is credited with igniting the first Palestinian Intifada in 1987. It is also the stronghold of the Unified Leadership of the Uprising, which thwarted the project to resettle Palestinian refugees in Sinai in 1955.Some important names in the history of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation have emerged from Shujaya, including Ahmed Jabari, one of the founders of Al-Qassam Brigades. He is known for the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, and as the driving force behind the Wafa Al-Ahrar prisoner exchange deal.
Southern Shujaya is known as the Turkmen area, named after the clans who settled there during the reign of the Ayyubid Sultan Al-Salih Ayyub in the 13th century. Northern Shujaya, or the Kurdish neighbourhood, is said to have been built during the reign of the Ayyubids, and its name is attributed to Shuja’a Al-Kurdi who was martyred in one of the battles between the Ayyubids and the Crusaders in 1239 CE.
The Palestinian resistance in Gaza in general, and not just in Shujaya neighbourhood, has set the bar high for nations struggling for freedom and independence. Operation Al-Aqsa Flood in early October and Israel’s subsequent genocidal war against the Palestinians in Gaza signal the beginning of the end for the Zionist state. The Palestinian dream of regaining the usurped land, no matter how great the sacrifices are, is starting to become a reality. The Palestinian blood that has been shed unjustly and with such violence by the settler-colonial, occupation state will nourish the free land of Palestine from the river to the sea.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.