Militarily, tiny Ghazzah is no match for the Zionist goliath. Few, however, can deny the courage of Ghazzah’s little Davids. The tiny sliver of land is besieged from all sides with its two million people living a precarious existence. Yet even in these grim circumstances, they demonstrate exemplary courage.
Take last month’s Zionist aggression on Ghazzah. In their customary arrogance, the Zionists attacked the tiny enclave on November 11 hoping that they would kill Palestinians at will and then return to their base. While the Zionists killed seven Palestinians in the initial assault including a Hamas commander, the resistance movement gave a fitting response to the aggressors. One Israeli soldier was killed and several wounded in the initial skirmish.
Then using homemade rockets, Hamas fired a barrage at Israeli military installations within range. While most rockets were intercepted, some got through the so-called Iron Dome. In one daring operation, a direct hit was achieved on a military bus. This caused panic among the Zionist aggressors. Similarly, illegal settlers near the Ghazzah border were forced to scramble into bomb shelters.
The Zionists then resorted to aerial bombing using US-supplied F-16s and artillery. Almost every locality in Ghazzah was hit with rockets and bombs. In three days of Zionist attacks, 15 Palestinians were killed and scores injured but the Islamic resistance stood firm. Then showing extreme frustration, the Zionists bombed al-Aqsa TV station as well to prevent the truth about their failure being aired.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire of November 13 ended the fighting. Hamas announced that it would respect the ceasefire provided the other side (Zionists) also did so. The aggressors did not accept the ceasefire because they wanted peace; rather the Zionists got a taste of their own medicine, and if they attack Ghazzah again, there will be a price to pay. Their days of impunity are over. This was the message delivered, loud and clear, by Hamas’ homemade rockets. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a post published on his official Twitter page that the quick ceasefire is an Israeli “recognition of its defeat at the hands of the Palestinian resistance.”
This led to a political crisis in the Zionist entity. Israeli war minister Avigdor Lieberman, the Russian bar bouncer, resigned in protest over the ceasefire. The illegal immigrant from Russia wanted to obliterate the Ghazzah Strip completely as the Zionists had done in mid-2014 when more than 2,200 Palestinians were killed, including 577 children. Much of the Ghazzah Strip was reduced to rubble including schools and hospitals. Over 11,100 others — including 3,374 children, 2,088 women, and 410 elderly people –— were also wounded in the 2014 Zionist onslaught.
In the latest military aggression, the Zionists were unable to achieve their military or political objectives. Instead, they got a bloody nose forcing them to sue for a ceasefire. This is what prompted Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri to state that Lieberman’s resignation constituted a “political victory for Ghazzah” after the resistance movement managed to “stand up to the Occupation [Israel].”
While the tiny strip has been under Israeli siege since June 2007, including preventing Palestinian fishermen from fishing beyond a three-mile limit, Palestinian leadership in Ghazzah has not lost hope. The blockade has caused a drastic decline in the standard of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty. Yet the resistance movement has continued to prepare for the day when it would be able to stand up to the Zionists like Hizbullah did in Lebanon. That day seems to have arrived.
At the political level, there is turmoil in the ruling Likud coalition. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is left with a razor-thin majority in the Knesset (61–59) and his shaky government could collapse anytime amid calls for elections. This is the direct result of the botched-up military attack on Ghazzah.
At the social level, the situation is equally grim. In July 2006 when the Zionists attacked Hizbullah in Lebanon with a view to wiping it out, it not only failed miserably but was soundly defeated. Even Israeli military commanders have admitted as much. That explains why the Zionists have not dared to attack Hizbullah again since.
Further, in 2006 about 35% of Israelis had dual nationality. Today, this number has climbed to more than 90%. Clearly the vast majority of Israelis have no faith in their state. With the Islamic resistance getting better organized in Palestine, especially in Ghazzah, the Zionists’ nervousness is likely to increase. This is a welcome development. Aggressors need to be slapped and put in their place. They should know their days of impunity are over.
Zafar Bangash is Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT).