مكاسب العدوان على غزة… بلورة القضية الفلسطينية كقضية عدالة عرقية عالمية
“Israel should take note: the weight of opinion is turning against it”. This warning was issued by Jonathan Freedland, a British columnist for the Guardian newspaper, against the backdrop of the recent Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Following the continuous brutal bombing that lasted for 11 days, Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) agreed on a truce that came into effect at dawn, Thursday, May 20th. The severe bombardment left in its wake 284 martyrs, including 66 children, 39 women, and 17 of the elderly. It also behind a whopping 1,948 injuries of varying severity, according to the most recent toll of the victims issued by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza government.
Freedland believes that, “Thanks in part to a global focus more intense than on any other conflict around the world, western attitudes to the Middle East may be shifting.”
Despite the digital repression and the restriction of Palestinian speech via the internet — especially on various social media sites — Gaza, for the first time ever, received widespread global solidarity. The support has been accompanied by denouncing the brutality of the crimes that were committed by the occupation that have targeted civilians, exterminated families, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. The killing, the terrorizing, and the displacement of Palestinian children has had a wider echo in creating this unprecedented global interaction and sympathy.
Foolishness, Delusions, and Rekindling the Cause
In the British writer’s opinion, the conflict did not end with the entry into force of the truce and with each side formulating a narrative of their own victory that they could promote.
Hamas boasts of its ability to manufacture and develop high-precision missiles despite the Israeli blockade on the Strip since the year of 2007, breaching the notorious Israeli Iron Dome defense system — which has always been lauded and held in high regard. The organization has been able to successfully terrorize the Israelis as well as rip a hole in Israel’s social fabric through the solidarity of the Palestinian citizens of Israel with the resistance, uniting itself with the demands of the rest of occupied Palestine.
An important shift triggered by widespread solidarity for Gaza: placing the Palestinian cause parallel to the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movement, as an issue of utmost importance to a global generation, with support not limited to politicians, but also prominent popular figures
On the other side, Israeli generals and leaders claim that Operation Guardian of the Walls has weakened the military capacity of Hamas, and that most of those killed by it were Hamas fighters. They also alleged that they have done more during this 10 day aggression than they had achieved throughout the combined offensives of 2009, 2012, and 2014 altogether.
Despite all this, Freedland sees that Israel is not fooling anyone with its narrative, saying that “Israel knows that it has endured a strategic disaster: it was the ‘most failed and pointless border war’ in its history, according to Haaretz’s editor, Aluf Benn.
Still, the writer believes that “the bigger failings predate and go beyond this latest eruption,” referring to the erroneous Israeli belief that it had completely stilled the Palestinian cause altogether after the signing of the “Abraham Accords” with the Gulf states, adding that recent events has now made Israel see “the folly of that delusion.”
Freedland points out that Israel’s belief that this international interest in the Palestinian cause may quickly disappear may be the “other strategic danger” to the occupying state. He goes on to say that plenty of “credible observers wonder if a turning point was reached this last fortnight in the way the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seen around the world and especially in the west.
He explains, “For a loud and influential segment of opinion, it is being reframed not as a national conflict of competing claims, but as a straightforward matter of racial justice.” Here, he recalls scenes from the placards of last weekend’s demonstration in London, with phrases such as: ‘Palestine Can’t Breathe’, and ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’.
On the importance of this new view of the conflict, Freedland said that it places the Palestinian cause (hashtag #FreePalestine) parallel to the global anti-harassment ‘Me Too’ movement (hashtag #MeToo) and black people’s struggle for justice and equality (#BlackLivesMatter), as an issue of utmost importance to a global generation. It is championed not only by politicians, but also prominent popular figures, from soccer players to singers, to fashion influencers with millions of followers.
Sectarian and intercommunal clashes against Arab citizens inside Israel reinforce this vision, with incidents of police brutality or discrimination in the criminal justice system that appear to be to “map neatly on to the BLM template,” according to the writer.
Freedland concluded by stressing that Israel should heed these warning signs, or else “it would eventually be branded a pariah state.”
“Israelizing, or giving the Israeli character to Palestinians in the occupied interior, domesticating them in the West Bank under occupation, and isolating Gaza forever”... Netanyahu’s illusions, which proved to be just that- illusions. The Palestinian identity cannot be erased.
A Major Defeat for Netanyahu
In a related context, an article by a number of writers and reporters in the “Financial Times” newspaper focused on the role played by the recent conflict, or the “Palestinian Fury”, in exposing the “illusions” of Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli Prime Minister has long promoted keeping the Palestinians surrounded, fostering positive relations with their Arab neighbors, as well as providing safety and prosperity to the Israelis. To him, these were some of the top and most significant achievements of his long political career.
The article stressed that “the Netanyahu illusion — that assumes that Israel can live in peace without resolving the Palestinian conflict — has been shattered,” following the recent conflict that erupted in protest of the attacks made by Israelis on the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The article also quoted Mustafa Barghouti, an influential member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), when he said that “Israel believed that it would work to Israelize, or give the Israeli character to, the Palestinians in the occupied interior, domesticate them in the West Bank while under the occupation, and isolate Gaza forever.” He went on to add, “They have failed to achieve these three goals, and now Palestinians everywhere have one common goal — ending Israeli apartheid — which is something that is unprecedented since the year 1948.”