Palestine: surrendering or preparing for a third intifada?
Through its failed foreign policy, the US administration has unwittingly and unwillingly become the greatest supporter of the “Axis of the Resistance” led by Iran. Along with Israel, Washington is, in fact, globally encouraging countries to rebel against its dominance. Israel effectively contributed to the creation of Hezbollah by invading Lebanon in 1982. The US contributed to the creation of Hashd al-Shaabi in 2014 when it refused to help Iraq to defeat ISIS. Both Israel and the US fostered the creation of Syrian resistance groups and pushed President Bashar al-Assad to join the “Axis of the Resistance” by their efforts to create a failed state in the Levant. And, when President Donald Trump offered the Syrian occupied Golan Heights, Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israel, he left no alternative to the Palestinians but to join Iran and become fully dedicated to the “Axis of the Resistance”. Is a third intifada on its way?
Notwithstanding the presence of many senior experts within the US administration, along with numerous strategic studies centres and think-tanks, Washington demonstrates again and again its limited knowledge of Middle Eastern dynamics and local culture. The devastating effect of US foreign policy is uniting many countries and groups in the Middle East under Iran’s umbrella to fight back against US-Israel decisions and operations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said on many occasions that he was the “consigliere” of President Donald Trump in violating international laws and already agreed understandings. Netanyahu advised Trump to illegally revoke the Iran Nuclear deal (known as the JCPOA), to allow Israeli annexation of the Syrian occupied Golan Heights, to recognise Jerusalem as the “only capital of Israel”, to assassinate Iranian Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani- and, most recently, to allow Israel’s “robbery of the century” (the annexation of the West Bank).
To please the powerful Israeli lobby in the US, gaining the votes of American-Israeli Jews, Trump has violated all international laws, offering what was not his to Israel. Netanyahu’s aim is to boost his shaky image domestically: he is accused of corruption and faces jail if he loses his position as Prime Minister. The Israeli PM doesn’t care about the safety of the Israelis and the reactions of Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians, who are today more united than ever regarding their common enemy (Israel) but still far from being united among themselves.
President Mahmoud Abbas is suspending all forms of collaboration with the Americans and the Israelis, particularly on the most sensitive security issues shared with the CIA. Abbas refused to talk to Trump over the phone because the US is no longer considered any kind of partner for peace. This step, even though late, could point the way towards a third intifada, bringing closer the day Israel will move forward in confiscating more Palestinian territory in the West Bank and expelling more Palestinians towards Gaza, Jordan or to the West. This date is not very far away, and likely will come this summer. The Palestinian authority in the West Bank promised to oppress any (Palestinian) civilian uprising even if collaboration with the Israelis has been suspended. But for how long President Abbas can hold back the natural reaction of the people to the Israeli unlawful?
Even the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) is now aware that Israel understands only the language of force: it has no intention of giving any state to the Palestinians. In fact, Israel never planned to leave any piece of land to the Palestinians and was preparing a bridge between the West Bank and Gaza to transfer the inhabitants of the West Bank to Gaza: a second Nakba. No doubt Israel wants to annex the West Bank but also needs to get rid of the Palestinians living there.
The Israeli soft seizure of further Palestinian territory aims to create a new Middle Eastern generation, Christian and Muslims, unconcerned about the right of return of the Palestinians (UNSC resolution 194) and the right to regain their ancestors’ territories usurped in 1948. For the Palestinians, it is important to keep history alive in the memories of all generations because there are millions of Palestinians who live as refugees, without identity, in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East. The West has been quick to provide western passports for Palestinian refugees to encourage the new generation to forget about Palestine and their right to return. This is how Trump-Netanyahu supports the Iranian-led “Axis of the resistance” and its project of rebelling against the US hegemony in the Middle East.
When confronted with the fact of their confiscation of Palestinian territories, Israelis twist their arguments according to the circumstances. Ben-Gurion, the father of the Haganah and the first Prime Minister of Israel, claimed to have taken the land after being attacked by the Arab nations. Israel built its strength with the help of the first terrorist organisation, the Irgun (1937-1948) which committed in 1946 the first “act of Terror” against the King David Hotel killing 90 people, and the 1948 Deir Yassin Massacre killing 107 Palestinian Arabs. Indeed, Irgun terrorist acts are well condemned and documented in counter-terrorism studies as “rewarded terrorism that works” because it (terrorism) led to the creation of a state over the dead bodies of the Palestinians and on the territories of their descendants.
In December 1947, the Haganah broke into Balad al-Sheikh (Tall Ghanan) and slaughtered 600 civilians. The raiding unit’s orders were to ‘kill maximum adult males’, said Benny Morris, an Israeli professor of history at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Most bodies were found in their homes. Four months later, the Haganah attacked Deir Yassin, destroyed Arab homes, and killed around 360 Palestinians, mainly the elderly, women and children. Historian Ilan Pappe has documented that Deir Yassin was but one of many Palestinian villages destroyed in this way.
One month later, in January 1948, the village of Abu Shusha was attacked by the Haganah who killed 30 to 70 Palestinians. Three months later, in May, Iskandaron brigade 33 attacked Tantoura village killing 90 people who were buried in a common mass grave which is today a parking place south of Haifa. Abu Shusha’s remaining inhabitants were expelled. In the same month of May, the Israeli Giv’ati 51st Battalion captured Sawafir al Sharqiya and Sawafir al Gharbiyya. Benny Morris writes that the Israelis had one order: “To expel the enemy from the villages…to clean the front line… to conquer the villages, to cleanse them of inhabitants- women and children should also be expelled- take several prisoners and burn the greatest possible number of houses”.
The Negev Brigade units raided al Muharraqa and Kaufakha, south of Burayr expelling their inhabitants. Beit Tima, north of Burayr was attacked by the Negev Brigade’s 7th Battalion killing 20 Arabs. The Negev Brigade attacked Huj, seven kilometres south of Burayr even though the inhabitants were considered friendly and hid the Haganah men from the British dragnet. The same Haganah expelled the inhabitants, looted and then blew up the houses. Everywhere the orders were to “kill, expel those who remain alive and demolish all houses”. The same orders are given even today; Israel’s ethnic cleansing has never ceased.
After the war, In October 1953, Ariel Sharon attacked the village of Qibyah and blew up all houses while the inhabitants were hiding inside, killing between 56 and 69 people. In 1956 Israel attacked Qalqiliya killing 70 people. In the month of October of the same year, Israel committed a massacre of Kafar Qassem in Toul Qarm killing 49 Palestinians. In November of the same year, Khan Younes was attacked south of Gaza were 250 Palestinians were killed. Six days later, the second wave of attack killed 275 Palestinians. In 1990, Israeli soldiers opened fire inside the Grand Mosque of Jerusalem killing 21 civilians. In February 1994, Baruch Goldstein hid behind the column of the Sanctuary of Abraham (al-Haram al-Ebrahimi) and killed 29 (additional 9 civilians were killed by the Israeli army who wrongly believed Jews were under attack) and wounded 28 among those who came to pray before the sun rises. Goldstein is now commemorated in Israel where his grave is now a shrine for pilgrimage.
Every Israeli action and attack carried out aimed to persuade the Palestinians to abandon their territories and leave. In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians escaped for fear of being exterminated by the Israelis, allowing the persecutors to locate Jews who came to Palestine from all over the world to steal the Palestinians homes and build new houses over Palestinian owned lands.
The exodus of the Palestinians doesn’t end here: President Trump gave Israel what he doesn’t own, and the world’s media dare not write the truth for fear of losing their jobs or being harshly attacked by the well-organised and apparently all-powerful Israeli lobbies around the world. This is only because the Palestinians in the West Bank agreed to lay down their weapons and gave up armed resistance against the occupation forces. The Israelis, who had been so mercilessly persecuted and killed by the Europeans during World War II, exacted similar crimes against the Palestinians, elderly, women and children, under the “blind” eyes of the apparently impotent international community.
Dozens of United Nations Resolutions were pronounced condemning Israeli acts in Palestine but to no avail. These are resolutions 57, 59, 101, 194, 237, 248, 265, 271, 317, 468, 469, 592, 605, 607, 608, 636, 641, 672, 673, 681, 694, 726, 799, 3414, 3516 and many more related to Palestine pronounced between 1947 and 2016, all rebuffed by Israel. The United Nations condemned the “persistent violation of the Geneva convention, the Israeli policies and practices, the annexing of parts of the occupied territories, the establishment of settlements and the transfer of alien population, the destruction and demolition of Arab houses, the confiscation and expropriation of Arab properties, the deportation, expulsion, denial of right of return, mass arrests, administrative detention and ill-treatment to Arab population, pillaging of archaeological and cultural property, interference with religious freedom, illegal exploitation of natural wealth, the change of demographic composition”. Yet, Israel offers itself to the world as the “most democratic” entity in the Middle East.
Israel doesn’t care about the Camp David or Oslo agreements. The Oslo agreement was in Israel’s favour since it forced the PLO to drop its weapons and its armed struggle. Israel wants to occupy all of Palestine- with the exception of Gaza where a resistance was born and where the Palestinians decided to fight back. Iran has now moved in to support the Palestinian cause unconditionally. Iranian officials told the Palestinians that Tehran supports all Palestinian efforts.
The Palestinians, particularly Hamas, went off course for the many years during the war in Iraq and Syria. Many Hamas militants blew up themselves in Iraq fighting against the Shia, although they had been trained by Iran and its allies to fight for the liberation of their territory. In Syria, many Palestinians fought with the Syrian army but many more fought on the side of al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State”, ISIS. Hamas supported the Syrian opposition and stood by Qatar, one of the biggest financiers of the Syrian failed-state project.
However, with the fall of the “new Middle East” and the victory of the central government in Damascus along with its allies, Israel failed in its goal of making ISIS a dominant force in Syria. The Palestinian leadership reviewed their mistakes and decided to remove those responsible for diverting the compass from Palestine to Syria and Iraq.
Iran never ceased its financial support for Palestinian groups working to recover their territory and focused on Palestine rather than Iraq or Syria. Iran explained to the Palestinians that the era when some groups were “a gun for hire” is over and the return to the main path of Palestine can’t be disregarded or exchanged. The Palestinians invested time, money and thousands of men in internal fighting and wars in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Today, Hamas and most Palestinian groups present in Gaza have united their military operational room to fight together against any Israeli attempt to impose a new rule of engagement. Palestinian deterrence is now imposed on Israel: Tel Aviv will be bombed if Gaza is attacked or suffocated so as to threaten the survival of their inhabitants. The spirit of the commanders who fought the occupation forces Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, Yahya A’yash and Muhammad (Abu Khaled) al-Da’if has been revived.
This has pushed Israel to turn towards the weakest part of Palestine, the PLO in the West Bank where its President, unlike Gaza, doesn’t believe in armed struggle to return the occupied territory by the pressure of the armed resistance. This is why Israel finds no reason to offer any concessions to the PLO and will force the Palestinians to move out of their homes, a practice the Israelis have mastered since the 1940s. Israel controls the security, the economy, the construction permissions, the electricity, the water and everything in the west bank since 1967. The colonisation has never ceased and Israel does not care about the international reaction because it claims to dominate the mainstream media worldwide.
When Imam Khomeini called for the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan to celebrate the “Youm al-Quds”, the “day of Jerusalem”, he said “Palestine doesn’t belong to the Palestinians or to the Arabs or to the Muslims or the Christians. It belongs to those willing to adopt the struggle against injustice and against the oppressors”.
The only way left for Palestinians is to surrender, or to themselves impose on Israel what Lebanon won in the year 2000: unconditional withdrawal (of Israel from Lebanon) following 18 years of armed resistance. The price was high but the harvest rich and strategic. Today, the choices of the Palestinians in the West Bank are very limited: there is no point in relying on the international community or the United Nations to change the course of Israel’s plan to annex the West Bank and expel the Palestinians. The Palestinians will have to leave, all of them, or stay and fight. A third intifada is knocking on the door and Iran will stand by it and support it.