The events of those 60 days have shown a new scenario in the historical stage of Palestine under apartheid.
Between April 12 (beginning of Ramadan) and June 13 (the establishment of the Israeli Government) we have witnessed a small chapter in the story of 100 years of war on Palestine. The events of those 60 days have shown a new scenario in the historical stage of Palestine under apartheid.
There seems to be no way to differentiate these events of 2021 of those from 2014, 2012 or 2008 if you just list the facts: 250 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, including 67 children and 2000 injured; 11 Israelis were killed and 1000 Palestinians arrested.
And again this scenario was coinciding with a political crisis in Tel Aviv after 4 elections in two years, and the coming threats of a fifth election; another election campaign of repression and massacres, as an Israeli MP denounced on CNN.
However, many changes have been in sight even if the beginning was similar to other conflict escalations.
On April 12, “Israel” permitted several ‘goodwill gestures’ at the start of Ramadan with a brightly lit Tel Aviv: “Happy Ramadan to our residents and friends”. 21% of “Israel’s” citizens are native Palestinians, most of them Muslim, and in that message their state was alienating them: for almost 2 million of its indigenous citizens, their “state” called them “residents”. “Israel” applies 65 segregation laws to them and furthermore sent them this poisoned greeting by downgrading their citizenship to a “residency” of outsiders in their own land. Alongside this, Tel Aviv deployed its armed forces to intensify repression in Jerusalem as soon as Ramadan arrived.
The Battle of Damascus Gate
In the first days of Ramadan, Israeli forces charged to clear the steps of Damascus Gate and cut off electricity to the Al Aqsa Mosque. It prevented the popular evening food distribution that celebrates the end of the daily fast. In addition, in Al-Quds without tourists, “Israel” sought further militarization of the Damascus Gate and Al-Aqsa Mosque by besieging the place with barriers and metal detectors. This battle was already lost by “Israel” in 2017 when it tried to cage Al Aqsa mosque and went so far to close it as a sign of pressure. “Israel” tried again in April 2021, the police crackdown was joined by groups of Israelis going around “Jerusalem” shouting “death to Arabs” and lynching with impunity any Palestinian they encounter. As the days passed, such Israeli mobs were repeated in Al-Quds and other cities beating and murdering Palestinians. “Israel” funds racist marches of this kind with more money every year.
As in 2017, the battle of Damascus Gate resulted in a small Palestinian victory, however, the battle of Al-Aqsa evolved into another dimension.
The Battle of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan
Israeli courts have no legal competence to determine private property in a militarily occupied territory. Despite this, in a decades-old farce of a judicial process, its judges ruled that the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in “Jerusalem” must be vacated by May 2, 2021, and handed over to a settler organization. This organization promised to take over the entire neighborhood and expel all Palestinians. This act of dispossession has been the Israeli DNA: in 1948, European settlers owned only 6% of the land in Palestine while 94% belonged to the natives. Today the natives own only 3% of the land inside “Israel”. Dispossession continues in the West Bank and Al-Quds with the natives confined in disconnected ghettos. As one US settler said to the Palestinian Mona el Kurd: “if I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it”. This settler was fleeing his crimes in the US by adopting a fraudulent Jewish identity in order to obtain the prize of a free Palestinian house. In Sheikh Jarrah, harsh police repression included spraying toxic water and tear gas inside homes and Palestinians were threatened by the Israeli deputy mayor of Jerusalem.
Emptying Sheikh Jarrah of Palestinians is important for “Israel” because it allows it to connect illegal settlements. Just as the Spanish railway company CAF does in “Jerusalem”: connecting with its tramway the colonies in occupied territory and extending apartheid Made in Spain in Palestine.
Another Palestinian neighborhood in Al-Quds, Al Bustan, has a demolition order from the Israeli municipality, knowing that “Israel” has no legitimacy and destroys the IV Geneva Convention. In Al Bustan 1500 natives, 60% children, will be dispossessed under disguises of legalism. Ethnic cleansing against the natives (“temporary residents”) is camouflaged by sophisticated judicial, electoral, administrative, town planning, archaeological, religious and economic strategies. The aim is to eliminate all Palestinians, as in “West Jerusalem”, where the houses of the natives are still standing but occupied by Israeli settlers. The owners were thrown into refugee camps. This gives material reality to their mythology and their strategy of fraudulently Judaizing the city. Tourists strolling through the Old City of “Jerusalem” do not know that the Jewish Quarter is a fake. “Israel” erected it in 1968 after razing to the ground the historic Maghreb quarter built in the time of Saladin almost a thousand years ago.
The Israeli army, courts, settlers and bulldozers are always ready to act anywhere in the Palestinian territory. As in Beita, Nablus, where in just a few weeks the invaders have erected a city in the olive groves of the Palestinian people. Sometimes “Israel” gives up a colony in order to put the media spotlight there, and try to hide 73 years of dispossession of the natives.
The Battle of Al-Aqsa
In the midst of Ramadan when mosques are usually crowded, Israeli forces turned the esplanade into a theatre of war with repeated assaults day and night, inside the mosques. It is strategic for “Israel” to harass the mosques in order to provoke Muslim anger around the world. In this way, colonization would be disguised in the media as an unresolvable religious battle. In addition, Israeli groups demand the demolition of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in order to build a Jewish “Third Temple” in their place.
This continued Israeli oppression of Al-Quds made Palestinian demonstrations explode throughout the territory. In cities within the Israeli state (Jaffa, Nazareth, Haifa, Lod, Acre or Uhm al Fahem), natives with Israeli citizenship lowered Tel Aviv flags and raised Palestinian banners. The Israeli mayor of Lod acknowledged that he had lost control of the situation and Netanyahu declared a state of emergency.
This united Palestinian revolt terrorized Israeli settler society and mobs lynched Palestinians with impunity.
The demonstrations showed the victory of the united native identity over the fragmentation sought by the Israeli government. The Western media also used submissive categories for Palestinians in “Israel”, such as desert Bedouin, Druze, Galilean Christians, Israeli Arabs, etc.
The Unity Intifada
This unitary revolt finally exploded with the call for an indigenous general strike on May 18 for the three pieces into which historic Palestine is temporarily divided: “the state of Israel”, the West Bank ghettos and the Gaza ghetto. The call did not come from any political faction. It was youth and grassroots organizations from “Jerusalem” and “the state of Israel”. From Haifa to Galilee, Nablus or Gaza, there was a massive turnout. The whole of Palestinian society connected with its 1936 uprising against British and Zionist oppression, when native dispossession began with the arrival of European settlers. The Manifesto for Dignity and Hope swept across Palestine in those days expressing the significance of the reunification of Palestinian national consciousness. The physical separations and categorical prisons imposed by the colonial regime were destroyed: the prison of the West Bank ghettos, the prison of apartheid citizenship in the “Israeli state”, the prison of Gaza, and the prison of “Jerusalem”. It was set as a unitary goal to end all Zionist colonial structures.
The battle across Palestine
In the face of intense repression in “Jerusalem”, a warning was issued from Gaza on June 10 that rocket fire would begin. “Israel” ignored the warning and launched a large-scale operation against Gaza.
To describe these clashes as a war between “Israel” and “Hamas” is a manipulation. It is “Israel” against Gaza, or against Palestine. Why is a political party cited on only one side?
The Israeli operation “The Guardian of the Walls” announced the death of hundreds or thousands of people in the caged strip. It’s worthy of note that the two million people surviving in Gaza were stripped, crowded and locked up in that Israeli coastal prison.
Handcrafted rockets were pitted against a 21st century military technology for 10 days. The entire world’s media daily quantified the hundreds of rockets launched by the natives but never gave us the number of missiles and bombs dropped by “Israel”.
“Israel” announced that it was going to step on the gas with its inhumane Dahiya doctrine of maximum devastation and disproportionate force on civilians. It consists of setting the attacked territory “back 20 years”, or even “to the stone age“. This military doctrine is part of the curriculum of Tel Aviv University, with which universities around the world partner rather than boycott. Following this strategy, “Israel” has sought to destroy as much of the infrastructure and economy of the Gaza ghetto as possible. When international donors once again funded the reconstruction of Gaza, the Israeli economy took a cut. Israeli destruction in Gaza included the only COVID laboratory, banks, shops, factories, bookstores, news agency buildings and hospital entrances.
Furthermore, “Israel” has repeated another doctrine started in 2014: intentionally eliminating entire families by bombing the house when the largest number of members are inside. Thus, four generations of the Al Qawlaq family with 21 members, from 90 years old to 6 months old, were exterminated. The survivor Shoukry Al Qawlaq listed his murdered family members for 33 seconds. The families Abu al Auf, Ashkontana, and up to 19 families were exterminated too.
But unexpectedly within 10 days, Palestinians took over the situation. The Israeli regime thought that the Palestinian “residents” will be “leaving Gaza in complete silence“, to suddenly stopping with a ceasefire. “Israel” could have killed thousands of Palestinians as in 2008 or 2014 without accountability.
The Israeli military gives us the answer by frustratingly acknowledging that the quantity and technology of rockets from Gaza increases inexorably year after year despite the blockade on the strip. The myth of Israeli defenses (Iron Dome) collapsed when the number of rockets launched daily from Gaza quadrupled compared to 2014. Washington’s metropolis came to the rescue of its protectorate with two extra aid packages: one during the battle of $735 million in missiles, and another after the ceasefire of $1 billion to replenish “Israel’s” depleted defense system in just 10 days. Israeli estimates the rocket stockpile in Gaza for several months of continued fighting, with superior models not yet in use.
Tel Aviv airport was closed for a week, compared to only a few hours in 2014. Eilat airport at more than 200km from Gaza also had to be closed. Israeli industrial facilities and ports were attacked and also closed. Attacks on Israeli cities and the death of 11 civilians instilled terror.
On the other hand, Israeli tanks and soldiers not only did not dare to enter the coastal prison, but did not even dare to approach the wall. A single Israeli soldier was killed by an anti-tank rocket fired from the Gaza ghetto. It was enough of a message for a specialized army in the repression and execution of civilians than in warfare.
Despite this evidence, the Israeli army issued its victory proclamation calling the 67 Palestinian children killed “neutralized terrorists”. But even the extremist Israeli media, which also called the Palestinian babies terrorists, were fearful for the future. Others assumed that the balance of power was shifting. Some media wondered what would happen if Lebanon were to join a joint action with Palestine in the future. The answer came from this Israeli analyst revealing the fear in the military leadership.
The meaning of the Palestinian victory by combining forms of resistance
“Israel” would have liked to be a liberal democracy like Australia or the US after having wiped out the indigenous people. Failing that, its fate will be the same as South Africa’s apartheid regime.
The indigenous demographic superiority (51%) over the settler society (49%) between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has already been exceeded years ago and is increasing, not counting refugees from abroad, despite the ongoing ethnic cleansing. Furthermore, “Israel’s” 73-year effort to fragment Palestinian identity and territory has failed as the entire native society has been reunified in these two months of resistance.
Around the world there were massive demonstrations of solidarity that reveal the failure of Zionist lobbies and Western governments trying to suppress that support. In Madrid, thousands of people surpassed all expectations.
The Palestinian victory on different fronts has generated multiple repercussions.
The price for the apartheid regime
The Israeli army dreams of an operation against Gaza to raze it and send the Palestinians to the Sinai desert. The reality is that this army no longer dares to approach the strip, and furthermore, it is not any more the 1948 era. “Israel” cannot expel or kill two million people. It can only reinforce the inhuman blockade, regularly bombing and killing in order to delay the inevitable fate as long as possible.
It is the Israeli settler society that has been shocked by the message that its apartheid society and native ghettos have an end date, something its elites already knew. Israeli civilian casualties are “regrettable”, but the settler society must understand that the longer it sustains the regime the higher it will pay the price. The Palestinian defense killed 11 Israeli civilians in one week; in 2014 it was half that number in much longer. Israeli society has never lived under the terror and real death that it has imposed on the societies around it. Damascus and Syrian territory continue to be bombed by “Israel” on a regular basis. Lebanon’s civilians know that price. The new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, when he was a commander ordered the massacre in 1996 of civilians sheltering in a UN building in the village of Qana, Lebanon. More than a hundred were hacked to death in their sleep, half of them women and children, and Bennett has always been proud of this. Civilians in Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and other countries have also paid a heavy price in the past.
Naftali Bennett was elected leader of the colonial government at the end of this 60-day cycle. For the first time “Israel” has needed to co-opt an indigenous opportunist to emerge from the political crisis unleashed by rivalry between Zionist political clans. Two indigenous people of the same surname help sustain the crimes and apartheid: one in the Tel Aviv government, Mansour Abbas, and one inside the ghettos, Mahmoud Abbas. Also the South African Bantustan kinglets temporarily helped sustain the apartheid regime in Pretoria. This new government will be a continuation of the previous ones, because the engine is the same: to capture more land with less indigenous people and by whatever means necessary. But it will need more and more violence to achieve less and less results, with a higher and higher price to pay as Afrikaner society paid in South Africa.
The impact on the Western Metropolis
The Western powers are the colonial metropolis of the Israeli artefact. During this time they have recited “Israel’s” right to defend its apartheid regime. They put pressure on the indigenous colonial administration of Mahmoud Abbas (called Palestinian Authority) to suppress the revolts. The new normalizers of the apartheid regime (Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco) played no role in this crisis. The usual regimes (Jordan, Egypt and Qatar) were pressured to cooperate in suffocating protest and resistance. But the West has no options left. The EU has long been making initiatives to try to co-opt Hamas as the PLO did in 1991. Two years ago the EU removed Hamas from the European list of terrorist groups. Somehow the West seeks to bring Hamas to the table to accept a future of ghettos and apartheid in exchange for money. For this reason, a close ally of the US and EU, the Moroccan regime, invited the Hamas leader a few days after the ceasefire.
But the eternally promised and delayed future of ghettos and apartheid that is called the “Palestinian state” no longer exists. The West can continue to recite the leitmotiv of the “two-state solution” in international institutions and media. Palestinian reunification has buried the coffin containing that ancient corpse of two states.
The international impact
In 1991, world solidarity with Palestine declined due to several factors: the fall of the USSR and the new world hegemony, the PLO negotiating with the apartheid regime in Tel Aviv while simultaneously the apartheid regime in Pretoria was collapsing, the forced revocation in the UN of its Resolution 3379 declaring Zionism as a racist ideology, the Oslo Accords, the creation of the indigenous colonial administration called Palestinian Authority, etc.
From 2004 and 2005, solidarity began to recover with the sentence of the Hague Court against the apartheid wall and the launching of the international boycott campaign against “Israel”, BDS.
Today, all over the world, the consensus on Israeli apartheid is spreading and its role as the colonizer of Palestine is being restored. “Israel” is losing the social and legal war despite the efforts of Israeli lobbies in many countries to silence criticism and gain legitimacy through repressive law fare.
The ICC proceedings will continue to move forward with only two paths: issue arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, or close the case by demonstrating that it is a Western court to prosecute only those whom the West decides. Both decisions will have many repercussions and both will damage “Israel” in the eyes of the world’s people.
Antonio Guterres deleted from the UN website in 2017 an internal report singling out “Israel” as an apartheid regime, but other reports are beginning to pile up, and even Western governments are timidly beginning to use the term.
It will become the norm to describe “Israel” as an apartheid regime with varying degrees of oppression against the native Palestinians, depending on where they are.
In the war dimension, the victory of the Palestinians against the Israeli nuclear regime’s army also has resonances in the region. The vulnerability of settler society has been exposed. It is no coincidence that a few days after the Gaza ghetto victory, and a Palestinian military spokesman’s thanks to Iran, Antony Blinken said that the US will maintain hundreds of sanctions against Iran, regardless of what happens to the Nuclear Deal. In other words, the Nuclear Deal will not survive because Iran will not agree to add new concessions, whether to its missiles or its relationship with its allies.
The impact on Palestinian society
We have already seen some of the meanings of this 60-day process for Palestinian society.
Internationally, the Palestinian Authority has been further exposed as a subordinate Department of Indigenous Affairs of the West and “Israel”. Mahmoud Abbas dares not accuse the apartheid regime of the crime of apartheid. Its main function is to exercise subcontracted repression, with mass arrests or assassination of grassroots activists. The Palestinian Authority leadership operates in the midst of political and economic corruption, and will do anything to perpetuate itself and sustain the colonial structure. In the midst of these 60 days, Abbas cancelled the theatre of a supposed election because of the risk of someone else taking his seat. But his days as the indigenous governor of the ghetto are about to end, and not only because of his age. After his outrageous repression of the Palestinians, the West is hypocritically condemning Abbas while deciding on his replacement. Abbas will not be honored by the West despite having played his mandated role in stifling Palestinian rights.
At the end of this 60-day period, on June 12, the Palestinian Polling Centre conducted one of its regular polls. 80% of Palestinians said that Gaza had won the confrontation with “Israel”. They rated each focus of insurrection and resistance positively: 89% approved of the actions of Palestinians in “Jerusalem”, 86% supported the protests of Palestinian citizens of “Israel” and 77% supported the armed resistance of Palestinians in Gaza. The tiny number of Palestinians who support the Palestinian Authority (11%) and Abbas (8%) represent the privileged class that lives by it.
The Palestinian writer murdered by “Israel”, Ghassan Kanafani, warned that one of the enemies of the Palestinian people is the indigenous oligarchies.
The Palestinian people have been reunified but have no political subject in the form of a new national liberation movement. The PLO committed suicide in 1991. Next October marks the 30th anniversary of the fateful Madrid Conference that led to the Oslo Accords. Coinciding with that date, a first attempt will be made to launch a new Palestinian national movement to break with Oslo and apartheid: the alternative route, Masar Badil. Sooner or later a new Palestinian movement will be born.
We in the West have forgotten many lessons. One is that when a people is determined to be free it will apply the maximum of its own suffering during its struggle, however unfavorable it may be to the hostility of the oppressor.
A fraudulent consensus has been installed in the West, by an ego of white saviors, that only the boycott ended apartheid in South Africa. This is coupled with revisionism of Nelson Mandela and other indigenous South African leaders. In the 1960s, the African National Congress decided to respond to the massacres of the Pretoria regime with armed struggle. To this end it created an autonomous armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe (MK). Indigenous armed self-defense has been indispensable in decolonization struggles, as it was in South Africa. Colonial societies or occupying entities have paid a price in physical insecurity, as in Algeria or Vietnam. Israeli society knows that the price to be paid will be higher and higher.
Palestine solidarity organizations and the boycott movement do not have to try to appease the West or conform to the frameworks of legitimacy that the West designs. In the face of the criminalization of indigenous resistance in any form, declaring the boycott movement terrorist, or armed self-defense, international legality must be remembered. Especially the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or Resolution 3070: “The General Assembly reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples to free themselves from foreign colonial domination by all possible means, including armed struggle”.