by Firoz Osman
There is something remarkable about the fortitude and resilience of the Palestinian people in resisting 70 years of a brutal Israeli occupation, one of the longest military occupations in history.
More than 150 Palestinians have been massacred and over 12,000 wounded by trigger-happy Zionist soldiers discharging bone shattering explosive bullets at unarmed civilians during the six-week period beginning on March 30. Zionist soldiers went berserk on one day—May 14—when they shot and killed 62 Palestinians and injured thousands of others. This coincided with the Palestinians’ final day of Nakba protests.
Dubbed ‘The Great March of Return’, Palestinians peacefully sought their internationally sanctioned right to return to their homes. They have been under a strangulating siege in Gaza since 2007, deprived of the basic necessities of life, water, food and shelter.
Arab regimes, led by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, not only failed to support Palestine’s quest for freedom but have joined Israel in enforcing its oppression.
Worse, the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Mahmoud Abbas continues its ‘security cooperation’ with the Zionist entity against its own people. This is reminiscent of the Vichy regime in France that colluded with the Nazi’s against the French.
It is the collaboration of these treacherous Arab regimes with Israel and the West that has made Gaza into a disaster zone, starving its two million people and caused its economy, health sector and infrastructure to collapse.
The PA has punitively deprived 65,000 employees of salaries leading to food insecurity and skyrocketing levels of poverty affecting 65% of Palestinians. Electricity is available for only four hours per day and 96% percent of Gaza’s water is undrinkable.
The rest of the ‘civilized and democratic’ world and International bodies barely whisper disapproval of Israel’s horrendous crimes committed with impunity. In fact, it manifests the complicity of the Western world with the repugnant Zionist regime.
It is extraordinary that the Palestinians, facing such odds for so long, still have the courage to persevere in their struggle for freedom and justice, spurning the Arab regimes’ capitulation to Israel.
“The old will die and the young will forget” is a statement attributed to David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, expressing the hope that future generations of Palestinians would eventually relinquish their claims to historical Palestine.
Not only has the Palestinian youth not forgotten their homes in occupied Palestine holding up their keys in protests, but also displayed incredible bravery in resolutely facing Israel’s ruthless military machine. Civil society throughout the world is beginning to take a stance against the Zionist Apartheid entity, forecasting Israel’s impending doom.
The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement has grown exponentially to become a powerful tool demanding an end to Israel’s colonisation of Palestine, complete equality and the right of expelled Palestinians to return to their homes.
Universities, student organisations, labour unions and cultural institutions are cutting ties with their counterparts in Israel. Prominent artists and personalities have refused to perform or visit Israel. Newspaper editors and academics are rejecting the false anti-Semitic label to expose Israel’s inhumanity.
But it is the vulnerability of the Zionist military forces, founded on notions of terror and disproportionate force that originated from the Irgun and Lehi terror gangs, has shaken the foundations of the Zionist entity. Israel’s last convincing military victory was in 1967, when its forces decimated the Egyptian and Syrian armies in six days.
Subsequently, Israel has suffered a series of military defeats culminating in a humiliating loss in Lebanon to Hizbullah in 2006. Israel’s failure to subjugate the much smaller Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements in Gaza in 2008/9, 2012 and 2014 has demoralised the Zionists occupiers.
Military analysts opine that if a guerrilla army survives an attack from a state, then it is victorious. A conventional army that fails to eradicate a resistance movement has suffered defeat.
Author Bari Atwan observed that it is not only sophisticated weapons that determine the outcomes of wars, but also the strength of the combatants’ convictions and their willingness to fight until martyrdom—qualities the Palestinians clearly demonstrate.
Hizbullah in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, have become stronger despite the prolonged siege by Israel and betrayal of the Arab regimes. The Palestinians have broken the fear barrier, illustrated by the weekly peaceful protests that began on March 30.
This is epitomised in the last Facebook post of Razan Al-Najar, a 21-year-old volunteer medic, murdered by the Israelis as she ran toward the fortified border fence in a bid to reach a casualty, said “I am returning and not retreating, adding: Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid.”
Israel, a militaristic society that glorifies military service and idolizes conscription, is now faced with a situation where tens of thousands of young Jewish men and women choose not to take part in the Israeli army. In fact, only about half of the eligible citizens enlist, and many more leave during their service.
Israel Today and the annual “National Resilience Index” report released for the seventh annual Herzliya Conference, indicate that there was a drop of 10 percent in the level of trust the Jewish population in Israel has in the fighting and winning abilities of the Israeli forces.
Israeli studies show that due to the occupation, the level of fear in the Israeli public has risen dramatically. Not only has the invasions and occupation taken a heavy toll on the economy, it has shown that despite Israel’s superior military technology, it cannot defeat Hamas or Hizbullah and cannot achieve its strategic objectives.
A million Israelis live abroad, and surveys show that 37 percent of Israelis are considering a move to a different country at some time in the future. At the same time, it is noteworthy than only 2 percent of those surveyed said they are certain they will leave Israel—it is only a matter of time.
The Zionist Project was supposed to bring Jews to Israel. It is evident that Israel, an alien entity violently transplanted into the heart of the Arab and Muslim world, will never be transformed from enemy to friend.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu promised Jewish Settlers (illegal squatters) that he will stop the resistance rockets reaching the land they stole, but he has failed. Palestinian resistance has spread fear into the hearts of illegal Zionist squatters who spend most of their time in bomb shelters.
A new generation of Palestinians has crossed the fear barrier to emerge, stronger than ever, to confront Israel’s injustices and inhumane occupation. And in the words of Palestinian author Ramzy Baroud, when people are unafraid, they can never be subdued or defeated.
Dr Firoz Osman is with the Media Review Network, based in Johannesburg, South Africa