End Israel’s brutal military occupation, and legitimate resistance won’t be necessary  

Motassem A. Dalloul

Middle East Monitor  /  October 9, 2023

Israel has attacked Palestinian villages, town and cities; homes and holy sites; and crops, as well as people for decades. The occupation state and its “democratic” allies around the world ignore human rights and international law, allowing Israel to act with impunity. Losing loved ones and facing human rights abuses on a daily basis are facts of Palestinian life.

Suddenly the world has woken up to violence in occupied Palestine, but only because on this occasion it is the Palestinians who are fighting back after years of oppression, and Israelis are the victims. The attack by the military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, on Saturday has exposed not only Israel’s military and intelligence flaws, but also — yet again — Western hypocrisy. The unprecedented surprise attack on Israel settlements and military bases near the eastern fence of the besieged Gaza Strip included an audacious assault on the central headquarters of the Israeli army’s Southern Command.

At 6:15am, the Palestinian fighters broke through the nominal border fence using jeeps, motorcycles and paragliders under cover of heavy rocket fire. Without facing any opposition, they infiltrated more than 20 military bases and settlements as well as the Southern Command HQ. They captured as many Israeli soldiers and settlers as possible, and opened fire on those who attempted to use their arms. Using assault rifles and hand grenades, the Palestinian fighters took on the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East. Military analysts, including Israelis, agree that Al-Qassam Brigades carried out a highly successful operation against Israel’s armed forces and intelligence services equipped with the latest weapons and technology.

“Mohammad Deif [commander of Al-Qassam Brigades] led an embarrassing operation against the evaluations of the Israeli intelligence, which had believed that Hamas did not desire to escalate tension with Israel,” said Israeli military correspondent Carmela Menashe. “Mohammad Deif, whom we failed to assassinate tens of times, is currently leading a battle in the depth [of Israel].”

Israeli journalist Or Heler said: “Al Qassam forces succeeded in surprising us at the military and intelligence levels. They attacked us from the sea, the air and ground.” According to Israeli Hebrew newspaper Maariv, “The attack on Israel is a tremendous intelligence failure that shocked the whole world.”

Israeli daily Haaretz blamed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for this failure. “The prime minister, who has prided himself on his vast political experience and irreplaceable wisdom in security matters, completely failed to identify the dangers he was consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation and dispossession, when appointing Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to key positions, while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the existence and rights of Palestinians.”

The Israeli occupation state has pledged to teach the Palestinians a lesson for having the chutzpah to attack the apartheid state. With Western support, it has already started to do this. Army reservists and police have been deployed to push the Palestinians back into the open-air prison that Israel has created with its 17 years of siege against Gaza. The task has proven to be more difficult than the Zionists expected. At the time of writing, Israeli media report fighting at four locations near the eastern Gaza fence.

Israel has never stopped attacking Palestinian men, women and children, killing them and destroying their homes and infrastructure

The Israeli security cabinet backed Netanyahu on Sunday in declaring war against the Gaza Strip. Palestine’s Ambassador to the UK Husam Zomlot pointed out on Sky News, though, that this “war” has been going on for decades. Israel has never stopped attacking Palestinian men, women and children, killing them and destroying their homes and infrastructure.

Netanyahu called for the residents of Gaza to “leave” but they are under siege; they can’t go anywhere, so he must know that as his armed forces pound densely-populated Gaza civilians are going to be killed and wounded. Indeed, more than 300 Palestinians have already been killed by Israel’s “self-defence”, and more than 2,000 are wounded. The UN has said that 123,500 Palestinians have been internally displaced in Gaza.

What, I wonder, is the war criminal prime minister going to do now? Israeli writer Chaim Levinson wrote to Haaretz asking more or less the same thing: “Whatever Israel does from this point onward is meaningless. Even if it finds Mohammed Deif in his bunker and brings him to trial in the people’s court. As in the Yom Kippur War, the loss came with the opening blow. The rest are stories for historians.”

I agree. Whatever the Israeli occupation does will have no real impact. It will only be more massacres and violations of laws and conventions. Netanyahu can do no more than this. It’s what the famed “most moral army” is good at; indeed, bombing and killing unarmed civilians is the only thing it is good at.

This time, there are more than a hundred prisoners being held in Gaza, not one or two. This time, therefore, we can expect more bombs from the air and sea, and possibly a ground assault. Then there will be a mediated ceasefire and a prisoner swap. And there will be “quiet” until Israeli trigger fingers get itchy again, and more Palestinians are killed, rights violations will recur and Israel’s impunity will be reinforced.

The solution, of course, is simple: end Israel’s brutal military occupation, and legitimate Palestine resistance won’t be necessary. Let the people of Palestine lead their lives unmolested by Israeli soldiers, police and fanatical settlers. It really is that simple, but Netanyahu and his most extreme far-right government in Israel’s history of extreme far-right governments are hell-bent on more domination and destruction.

Motasem A. Dalloul is Middle East Monitor’s correspondent in the Gaza Strip