By Dr. Ayaz Ahmad Islahi*
A renewed violence in occupied Palestinian territories started in the first week of May by Israel’s illegitimate move for the forced expulsion of the Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem as well as it’s indiscriminate firing on Palestinian worshipers during the last Friday of Ramadan in Aqsa mosque. It caused the latest unrest in the region with a strong retaliation from Hamas. The continued Israeli violence against unarmed Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem is not a simple flare up of ‘Israeli- Palestinian conflic’ , but it’s a matter of Israel’s Imperialistic occupation of Palestine which is geting expanded under new plans of the occupying regime, in fact, at this point, the Palestinian community is battling for their very existence. The latest Isreali attacks targeting Gaza and its civilian buildings including hospitals, schools and mosques has sparked outrage in occupied Palestine and around the world. The occupying state launched deadly and incessant military strikes on Gaza Strip since May 10, killing at least 212 Palestinians, including 61 children and 35 women, and leaving 1,400 others injured. In retaliation Hamas has killed about 10 Israelis.
Palestinians call their new uprising, as Third Intifada or Sheikh Jarrah Intifada which erupted due to Israel’s new violence in Jerusalem against the Palestinian population and indiscriminate firing by Israeli forces on worshipers in Aqsa mosque during the last week of holy Ramadan. Eleven days terrorist attacks of Israel on Gaza and Hamas retaliatory actions by firing rockets against Israel have so many questions for us to assess. Now when the ceasefire has taken place, the analysis of the international problems will present their views on causes and consequences of the recent conflict. But this analysis was especially made to adress some urgent questions like why did it happen? where does Hamas stand now? and what those Palestinians who have been facing Israrl’s ethnic cleansing for last 70 years expect from the world?
Sheikh Jarrah Intifada
The Palestinians lost most of Palestine in the traumatic periods of Nakba between 1948 and 1967. They are facing an unbearable crisis after Israel’s latest attacks on besieged Gaza Strip and it’s massacre of Palestinian population but neither this nor the brutal firing on Arab worshipers in Holy Aqsa mosque during the month of Ramadan aillegal or forcible expulsion of Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah and around occupied Jerusalem could stop them from Intifada and their emotional march against imperialistic Israeli initiatives. All that happened before May 14 which is celebrated as “Independence Day” by Israel, however, Palestinians mark it as the Nakba (Days of Catastrophe). The old Palestinians , as Palestinian journalist, Omar Baghuti said, still didn’t forget their “traumatic childhood during the 1948 Nakba “, which “was overcome by mixed feelings of ominous fear and liberating hope”. The old People like the close relative of Barghuti, who is 84, have once again experienced the haunting memories of their “suppressed childhood” of Nakba days as memories of their “beloved Haifa in 1948 in 2021. The memories this old Palestinian, as he said, “gushed through his mind. Zionist militias, aided by British soldiers, literally chasing Palestinians at gunpoint to the sea”. His family was then instructed by the British regime itself “to sail to Lebanon for safety.” His father’s wise decision to disembark in Acre instead saved them from migration, and of course, their home from occupation of Jewish settlers .Yet, as Omar wrote “even as these memories filled his mind—memories of existential fear and the trauma of vulnerability—they shared space with a new and inexplicable hope”. It’s because of the young new generation of Palestinians who are strongly and courageously resisting the occupation and their brutal repression. Now the scenario which the old Palestinians are viewing from their homes in old Jerusalem are totally different from the old scenario.
Today they are viewing how Israel’s apartheid wall are collapsing because of new Intifada, and how so called “Guardians of Walls” are running daily towards the bomb shelters to save their own lives from the powerful rockets of Hamas. The young Palestinians stood firm against the aggressors and Zionist terrorists, struggling with an undying force and incredible strength and resilience to thwart violent practices of occupying forces and the mob of far-right Jewish Israelis roaming the streets of Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs” and chasing Palestinians, including women and children to lynch. They saw how the Israelis lynched brutally one Palestinian during the fresh unrest pulling him out of his car in Lydda.This scene has occured repeatedly in the indigenous Palestinian community with the physical support of Israeli forces in Jaffa, Ramleh, Haifa, Bat Yam, Sheikh Jareah and other towns triggering international protests. But who cares?
The Muslim world merely rely on diplomatic statements and most of the Arab kings and crown princes who prefer to save their normalised relations with Israel are playing safe. But Palestinians, as usual are very hopeful , never giving up even for a moment. What’s happening there is well known to you, but what they want today, is stated well in the words of an old Palestinian of East Jerusalem with a defiant and confident smile: “My generation lost Palestine……., but this new generation is courageous, resilient, determined to resist and to overcome 73 years of our ongoing Nakba. All they… I mean all we need is some, just some, more courage from the world.”. But where is the world?
Palestians under Hamas are fighting against their enemy alone to guard both, their homeland and the sanctity of al- Quds.This resistance movement has shown in this fight its extreme commitment for the protection of entire Palestinian nation having its own abundant stocks of rockets and other weaponry for counterattack against Israeli racist- terrorist forces who attacked on Gaza to defeat the Palestinian freedom struggle. The fearless and well trained Al- Qassam Brigade, the military wing of Hamas, has presented a deeper and more effective resistance in their fight against Israel than in previous stand-offs.
Hamas, with its limited military sources has successfully targeted in Tel Aviv some important Israeli infrastructures including the Ports and international air ports forcing the enemy to close down nearly all their airports. The rockets fired by Hamas in retaliation forced Israelis to sleep in bomb shelters in order to protect their lives.This time, relative to previous results, the advanced capability of Hamas rockets has put a lot of pressure on Israeli forces, to what extent the Hamas retaliation could surprise them is evident by an official IDF’ tweet that says: ” Israelis in Southern Israel are sleeping in bomb shelters”.
Even the ex Israeli soldiers and analysts of International Crisis Group ( ICG) and AFP accept that today’s Hamas is able to fire more frequently and further into Israeli cities as compared to past clashes. The Islamic Resistance Movement, which rules the Gaza Strip despite an illegal Israeli blockade for nearly 15 years, has surprised Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities with its retaliatory attacks and its frequency of strikes. More than 2,500 rockets have been fired by Hamas into Israel during 11 days of fighting responding to Israeli terror strikes , a pace aimed at overwhelming the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defence system and to repudiate their delusion of having an unbeatable military power.
In fact, Hamas resistance against the occupying regime’s firepower, both in terms of number of rockets and their reach , far surpasses its earlier responses to Israeli attacks. Israel told the world media a big lie about its readiness to begin a ground attack on Gaza in the second week of the fight, it was announced by them last week but next day they just justified their lie as war deception. This way a wicked and coward gang turns its back to the real heroes and brave defenders of the walls.
“Could Hamas counter an Israeli ground offensive?” Don’t ask me this but ask me: Would Israel dare a ground offensive on Gaza facing Hamas ? In reply to this question, the analysis of ICG does not suggest Israel to repeat the mistake of 2014 when more than 70 Israeli soldiers were killed by Hamas commanders just within few days of Israel’s ground invasion made on17th July 2014. Hamas responded to the invasion with extraordianary courage and forced Israel to withdraw its ground forces on 5th August 2014. Keeping in view the latest Hamas style of retaliation, these analysts warn that any Israeli ground attack into Gaza would trigger a fresh spiral of problems for them. As they accept: “The flare-up could get worse still,” for Israel.
Cunning foxes in Sheeps’s Skin
Those who are unaware of the real situation get disappointed when when the forum like Organisation of Islamic Cooperation(OIC), the Panislamic body of the Muslim world doesn’t come to the level of their anticipations. Apparently the OIC has once again come under heavy criticism by Muslims across the globe for failing to stand up in response to Israel’s current violence against Palestinians of occupied Jerusalem and its brutal attacks on the civilian population of Gaza strip.
In fact, Emirates and Saudi Arabia will never want to see OIC taking any strong initiative against Israel in the wake of current violence targeting Palestinians and forcing them for the expulsion from their native places in Jerusalem. As you know, Emirates already accepted Israel and made a diplomatic agreement with it just a year ago, whereas Saudia Arabiahad developed backroom contacts with Israel over the past several years. The hypocrites present the narratives set in this backroom on international forums mostly according to the plans of Israel, and the secret relations help them to get accomplished under the leadership of two main players of this dirty game- MBZ and MBS.
One of the major factors that brought them closer to Israel has been their shared antipathy towards Iran. But the most important factor is their individual relations with Israeli agents like the son in law of Donald Trump and his daughter who are thick friends of both MBS and MBZ, apparently the shrewdly planned diplomacy of these Israeli supporters has played a key role in overcoming the international barriers to shift US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem which is a part of Palestinian territory.
These two countries and some other petty Arab States Have openly or secretly developed deep relations with Israel during the last 10 to 15 years. Now, not unexpectedly, they support Israel against Arab Palestinians on every issue and try hard to strengthen Israeli agenda to occupy the entire Palestinian land. They have also supported US-Israeli plan to shift Palestinians to Sinai desert from their native lands.
Israel and the United Arab Emirates established formal diplomatic relations on August 13, 2020 calling it the Abrahamic Deal.That peace deal led to a full normalization of relations in trade and diplomatic field between the two Middle Eastern nations through an agreement that was called by former US President Donald Trump a ” historic breakthrough” but the Palestinian leaders called it a ” treason.”
Normalizing relations with a state which has occupied most of the Palestinian land was not enough to satisfy the UAE crown prince Mohamad Bin Zaed, but he went one step further by helping Israel with a huge economic package of ten Billion dollars just two months back.The United Arab Emirates, thus made its relationship with Israel stronger by announcing a $10 billion investment fund across multiple sectors in Israel, with whom it normalised ties in 2020.
The announcement was made by UAE following a call between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 11 March 2021, just two month before the current Israeli attack on Gaza and it’s illegal and violent activities at Aqsa mosque.
This package mainly includes socio-economic development of Israel. The investment fund will support the “development initiatives” , and it’s meant “to drive socio-economic progress.” it was explained by UAE on 11, 3, 2021 in an official statement published by the state-run Emirates agency.
Do you understand? Do you realize the use of 10 billion dollars which the Emirate invested recently to boost Israeli economy and “socio-economic” development? Do you know It is this money that kills Muslim children and women in Gaza in the forms of Israeli air strikes and brutal bombardments on the civilians of densely populated Gaza strip?
In other words, It’s not only Isreal and US but Saudi Arabia and UAE who are equally responsible for Israeli war crimes and atrocities against the people of Palestine. In this situation and in the presence of the great hypocrite rulers of these Arab states it’s very difficult for other members of OIC to raise a strong voice in support of Palestinians through the international Islamic body, because we can easily see many foxes in sheep’s clothing in today’s Arab world. This scenario of Middle East is against the expectations of Palestinians they have from the brother Arab nations, I think it’s some thing which is more destructive than the Israel’s brutal atracks on Palestinian people in Gaza and occupied Jerusalem.
Moreover this Arab behaviour ultimately paves the way for Israel’s dream of a ” Greater Isreal” or its ‘Isreal-Nile to Euphrates’ vicious imperialistic plan which is equally dangerous for major Arab states. I have no reason to disagree with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who couldn’t stop his outrage at the weak response of Arab countries to the plight of Palestine. Condemning the Israel’s brutality against the Palestians on 19 May 2021, he warns : “Those (Arab-Muslim states) who ignore the cries of the innocent under Israel’s persecution are actually preparing the ground for their own disasters,”.
The Strength of Palestinians
However the Palestinians under Hamas have exposed the real potential of “fifth” military powers of the world during the new clashes with Israeli forces. They successfully showed the presence of many fissures and cracks in their defence wall and the Iron Dome. “As Israel battles its way through one of the most intense conflicts the country has experienced in recent years” ( The Jerusalem Post: 16, 5 2021), the occupying Israeli force, IDF, is indiscriminately striking Gaza’s civilian buildings but Hamas and other resistance groups of Palestinians are registering great milestones in their retaliation, forcing Israel to close all its major airports and hiding in bunkers to save their lives. An IDF commander accepted ot and wrote in official tweet of IDF: “Israelis in southern Israel are sleeping in bomb shelters for the third night in a row” .
Meantime Israel’s national integrity is shattering from within and collapsing by the internal unrest spread in all its major cities in the form of strong protests from the Arabs living occupied Palestinian territories.What is the real strength of Palestinians? Their strength lies not in Hamas’ rockets, as the political analysts would conclude, nor does it come from their military power alone, then what’s the source of this inspirational courage and where does their surprising strength spring from? The most appropriate answer of this question should come from Hamas within; What has been said by the Hamas representative, Isra al-Mudallal, commenting on the latest situation in Gaza in her video message rightly answers this question, she says:”If our children are Shuhada, so let be Shuhada. You know, this is the only way we can take back our land. This is the only way we can free Palestine.”
These words reveal both power of faith and power of commitment. Yes: Strength does not come from military power but it comes from sacrifice and deciding to not surrender before occupying powers and evil forces. This is the main strength of Palestinian freedom struggle against Israel. With the turn of the Stone Intifada to the Rockets Intifada, the brave Palestinian community has replaced Israel’s Greater Israel dream into a nightmare. At this fateful and crucial stage some powerful Muslim countries must stand by the side of Palestinians and their freedom struggle and ,in this struggle, their expectations from the world is not too high, but “some, just some”.
But unfortunately Muslim countries still couldn’t understand the reality because they got trapped in Israel’s mind game to gain psychological domination propagating itself as one of the most advanced and militarily undefeated states. Why await? Are they awaiting Israeli consent or America’s nod to come forward for the protection of Palestinians and al-Quds?
Palestinians are fighting hard with a state which is, asTurkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan puts it, a “terrorist state” as part of their legitimate freedom struggle against their oppressors. Now it seems that their struggle is not only for the protection of their lives and homes from Zionist imperialist forces, but the ‘Third Intifada’ that erupted due to continuous Israeli violence and violation of international laws and UN resolutions aims to free Palestine from river to sea, driving the final nail in Israeli occupation’s coffin.
*Dr.Ayaz Ahmad Islahi, is a professor of “Arab Culture and Civilisation” in Lucknow University, India. He is a renowned Islamic scholar, journalist, author, historian, social critic, a known figure in great Quranic science, Coherence in Quran, Palestinian problem and history of modern Arab.
(Disclaimer: The views in the article are of author’s own and India Tomorrow does not necessarily agree with it).