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6 months on, where do Israel and the Palestinian resistance stand?

April 8, 2024 at 11:54 am

Demonstrators hold a protest in memory of the children killed in the Gaza Strip on April 05, 2024 [Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency]

Six months have now passed since the start of Israel’s war on the Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip.

From day one, Israel has been killing innocent civilians under the pretext of fighting the Palestinian resistance, which it says carried out a brutal massacre against Israeli troops and settlers living in settlements on the peripheries of Gaza on 7 October 2023.

Israeli leaders declared their plan live on a world stage, stating that they planned to kill civilians, cut water and food supplies, expel people from their homes and destroy them.

When asked about children and women, several Israeli officials said that there are no innocent people in Gaza. Some of them even went as far as to say children of the “enemy” are “future enemies”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set several goals for this brutal war: freeing Israeli prisoners of war held in Gaza, destroying Hamas and achieving security for settlers living near Gaza.

However, the reality on the ground is very different. Israel has been ethnically cleansing Gaza, pushing its residents southwards towards Egypt as part of its efforts to pave the way for the annexation of the Gaza Strip.

“Israel’s leaders promised to starve the Palestinians, and to wipe Gaza out, from the very start. They have lied over and over again about the horrors they’ve unleashed,” British journalist Owen Jones said on Saturday.

Their actions on the ground also prove their lies as over 70 per cent of homes in Gaza have been damaged as have over two thirds of hospitals in the Strip, the World Bank and Ministry of Health have said. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed, including 14,500 children, my three-year-old son is among them, and 9,560 women, my beloved wife among them.

During this war, we have seen abject disregard for civilian life by the Israeli occupation which has prioritised its alleged goal of eradicating the Palestinian resistance and its infrastructure over its duty to protect civilian lives and properties.

We, along with Israelis and Tel Aviv’s international allies, have seen that Netanyahu is fighting to stay in power and not to free the prisoners of war held in Gaza. As a result, he has been attacked by his allies, other ministers and even members of his War Cabinet and the families of the prisoners.

Is the war on Gaza Netanyahu's final lifeline? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Is the war on Gaza Netanyahu’s final lifeline? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

After it became very clear that freeing Israeli prisoners by force is something of an illusion, many have been pressing for reaching a deal to end the war and guarantee the release of prisoners from both sides.

Even the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on this, the EU stressed on this and many of Israel’s allies, the most recent of which was UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and a group of American democrats, have called for an immediate ceasefire, warning that arms sales to the occupation state would be reviewed if the war continued.

Six months after launching its genocide in Gaza, Israel has became more isolated and the Palestinian resistance is still steadfast and resilient. This was evident last week when the Independent newspaper published a front page with the headline “Enough”.

“Where once the world stood with Israel in its moment of anguish, it now stands more in opposition to it. The moment has come to do whatever it takes to force Israel to end this war. It has to stop,” the paper said.

The UK’s Independent newspaper on 4 April 2024 called for an end to Israel’s brutal bombing of Gaza in the wake of the targeted killing of 6 foreign aid workers and their Palestinian driver [The Independent]

No one has ever spoken or addressed the Israeli occupation with such language except the Palestinians and they have been accused of being terrorists as a result of this criticism. Today, however, you find prominent leaders everywhere and whole nations criticising the occupation state and clearly supporting the Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian aspiration of ending the occupation.

Even Israelis have been involved in mass protests calling for the resignation of their government which is being run by a “selfish” “dictator”.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian resistance has been heroically fighting Israel’s brutality with its homemade weapons despite the tight siege and lack of real regional or international support, while its enemy is using the most modern technology, including AI, and enjoying an aerial bridge of arms from the US.

Despite the brutality and immorality of its fight, the Israeli occupation has never defeated the Palestinian resistance. Wherever Israel attacks, the Palestinian resistance has never surrendered or stopped fighting back before its enemy withdraws silently.

Every time, the Israeli occupation forces murder and execute innocent civilians and claim to have killed resistance leaders. But it fails to prove its claims. Then it destroys civilian facilities and claims it is targeting resistance infrastructure.

Al-Shifa Hospital is one such example. While the Israeli occupation army claims to have located military infrastructure in and under the medical complex, it failed to prove its assertions. Instead, it destroyed the facility and the equipment within it as the world watched.

Meanwhile, it claimed that it executed and apprehended hundreds of resistance members who had embedded themselves among civilians, while it became clear that 97 per cent of the people executed or detained were civilians, including paramedics and patients.

While Israel targets civilian infrastructure across the Strip, the Palestinian resistance is continuing its fight against the invading forces until they retreat. During the most recent invasion of Al-Shifa, the Palestinian resistance destroyed at least ten tanks and killed several soldiers despite the heavy fire used to destroy the hospital and the surrounding neighbourhood.

The resistance has also reappeared time and again in areas in which the occupation has said it has been defeated.

Israeli claims that the power vacuum in northern Gaza is the cause of the chaos surrounding food deliveries to the area, but fails to highlight that the area remains well run in spite of the challenges, and the alleged chaos is caused by its starvation of civilians who are desperate to feed their children.

Three weeks ago, the Palestinian resistance formed a special security service including members of prominent families to receive, secure and distribute humanitarian aid. It was a huge success as it collected the aid, preventing merchants from stealing it and selling it.

The service has been so successful that Israel started targeting its members and has so far killed 70 of them. The service has continued in spite of this.

Unlike the Israeli occupation government and its army, the Palestinian resistance still enjoys the support of the people of Gaza, despite the unprecedented scale of attacks and destruction.

The conduct of the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian resistance has weakened the former’s position while consolidating the latter’s.

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Every time Netanyahu’s envoys sit down with the mediators, who have been working to facilitate a ceasefire, they offer more concessions, while the Palestinian resistance has insisted on its demands from the start; full withdrawal from Gaza, return of displaced people to their homes, ending the siege and accelerated the reconstruction of Gaza.

“The occupation army is only capable of destroying buildings and killing children while standing helpless against the resistance,” Hamas said in a recent statement. “There has been some backtracking from the Israelis in the negotiations, but we see that it is not sufficient and does not reflect seriousness in reaching a deal.”

I believe we are coming close to the end of this war, but will it end with a permanent ceasefire, lifting the siege and agreements on the reconstruction of Gaza and the release of Palestinian and Israeli prisoners? Let’s wait and see.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.