Middle East Monitor / September 20, 2021
The re-arrest of the two escaped Palestinian prisoners, Iham Kahamji and Munadil Nafayat is not the end of this event. There is no need to feel overly disappointed to the point of it overcoming us, regardless of what the coming days will reveal in terms of the details and circumstances of their re-arrest inside territories that are supposedly under the authority of the Oslo Accords authority, i.e. the PA.
This event was not a police chase between the police of an ordinary state and criminals, but rather it is part of a continuous struggle waged by a people subjected to invasion, theft, colonialism, Judaization, siege, and horrific crimes against humanity at every moment at the hands of a colonial movement that “spawned” a hybrid state. It has begun to act as an empire expanding in the Arab region and continues to attack its people and engage in the international system that oppresses nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America, through the sale of weapons and advanced surveillance technology.
The legendary liberation process led by six Palestinian prisoners of freedom entered the depths of the collective Palestinian consciousness. It also astonished the free people of the world and strengthened the global solidarity movement.
This process revealed, firstly, the extent of the torture and deprivation to which thousands of Palestinian detainees and their families are subjected, and the need to direct constant attention to their suffering and their need for liberation.
Secondly, it created a new rift in the image of the Israeli security system. It has also, most importantly, caused another erosion of Israel’s image, as it is seen as an aggressive colonial state that continues to trample on human rights, violate international law and evade punishment.
The process of liberation came from within the Israeli colonialism’s most fortified and guarded bastion less than three months after a major event that swept Palestine from the sea to the river, shook the region, and captured the imagination of the Arab peoples and the peoples of the world, i.e. the uprising of hope and dignity and the Sword of Jerusalem battle.
Before that and for a long time, the battlefield against Israel did not witness events that generated sweeping popular unity and exploded the practical and moral energies of the Palestinian individual, as did the recent uprising of hope and dignity, and the prison escape.
It is ironic that the comprehensive moral impact of the prison escape was the fruit of the effort of only six individuals, not an entire nation, as was the case during the hope and dignity uprising, also known as the Unity Intifada. This is an expression of the comprehensive national popular unity that this uprising embodied, despite the destructive internal division.
It is true that the last intifada did not end the occupation and did not dismantle a single settlement or a single apartheid wall, and the prisoner escape ended with the re-arrest of the six heroes, while the recent events did not cause human losses for the colonizer.
So why was Israel shaken and its leaders confused by these two major events? The reason is that our people remind the enemy that their current sovereignty over Palestine will remain questioned, as well as their oppressive colonial regime. It also reminds the enemy that our people will not rest until justice is achieved. Moreover, since the system of fragmentation and separation of the Palestinian people as a means to control, subjugate and loot, as well as fragment the collective consciousness, at least at the popular level, has fallen, it has allowed for an infrastructure for popular resistance, which is taking root in the people’s awareness and on the ground, outside the leadership structures that lack representation and legitimacy.
Of course, during these two events, the PA was in a state of confusion, marginalized and isolated from everything going on. The authority itself did not want the emergence of real popular resistance, even unarmed, because this embarrassed it and exposed its role as the agent that it adheres to. It does not wish for any kind of success, albeit symbolic of these events because it contradicts what it claims about the approach of snitching and negotiations being the only way to establish a meagre Palestinian entity on less than one-fifth of Palestine.
The effects of these two events did not and will not end as resistance is a continuous process, in various forms, and at varying rates, subject to the circumstances and the rationality of the minds of those taking action.
Yes, let us get angry and not stop getting angry, but do not despair or lament, although there are a thousand reasons to grieve and cry. As long as there is injustice, and gross injustice, there is resistance and a passion for a free and dignified life, and as long as we belong to a people in which there are heroes who create surprises, they will revive hope for a new dawn.
Awad Abdelfattah is a political writer and the former general secretary of the Balad party; he is the coordinator of the Haifa-based One Democratic State Campaign, established in late 2017