Amidst the desolation and ravages of war, victory is certain for Palestine
2 November 2023
By Emad Saber
Palestinians have lived under a murderous military occupation, martial law, ethnic cleansing, the colonisation and theft of our land, and being subjected to illegal apartheid practices for more than three quarters of a century.
In addition, Palestinians in Gaza have been besieged for 17 years, unable to travel, with Israel deciding when they can or cannot get electricity, water, medicines and even food.
In the two days before 7 October, Israel launched a pogrom in Huwarra village, and four Palestinians were murdered in the West Bank. Hundreds of settlers also invaded Al-Aqsa Mosque.
All these actions, part of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, are illegal under international law. All their settlements are illegal, their apartheid practices are illegal, the torture of our people who Israel takes as prisoners and hostages is illegal, the desecration of Christian and Muslim holy sites is illegal, the murder of our children is illegal.
Since 2008, soon after the debilitating siege on Gaza, that small strip and its two and half million residents have been the victims of regular onslaughts by Israel, from land, sea and air.
Thousands of our civilians, including several hundred children and babies, have been massacred. Israel calls this ‘mowing the lawn’, because Palestinians, for them, are like grass or like cockroaches, or ‘human animals’ as they have described us.
Yet Israel’s continuing, daily violations of international law are not only ignored by the international community, but even encouraged.
No people can accept almost eight decades of such attacks on their human rights and their dignity without responding. The Zionists believed that they would subjugate our people, but we have refused to accept their yokes around our necks and their jackboots on our chests.
Therefore, on 7 October, resistance fighters from Gaza, including member of Hamas’s Qassam Brigades, broke Israel’s siege and targeted military installations in southern Israel.
International law grants all occupied and colonised people the inalienable right to resist and fight against “colonial domination and alien occupation” by all available means, including armed struggle. In the face of Israel’s barbarism, we Palestinians will continue to exercise that right.
Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was the continuation of our campaign for liberation, a response to Israel’s programme of dispossession, ethnic cleansing, humiliation and violence.
As policy, Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups do not target civilians, and we did not do so on 7 October. Civilian homes were not our targets; nor was the rave party held within three kilometres of Gaza. It was being held close to a military installation that was our target.
Regrettably, a number of people at the party were caught in the cross-fire battle between Israeli armed security, soldiers and resistance fighters, as confirmed by eyewitnesses who had attended the party.
The lie about the resistance targeting party-goers was one in a web of lies that constituted Israel’s propaganda and its justification for bombing Gaza.
Others included the story that our fighters had raped women at the party, had ripped open the bellies of pregnant women, and had beheaded babies.
All these stories have been debunked by western media, with some later apologising for having disseminated the lies. So effective was this propaganda that the US president even claimed to have seen pictures of beheaded babies – and the White House later had to clarify that he had seen no such pictures.
These false claims are part of the Israeli narrative to portray Palestinians as bloodthirsty savages intent on murdering civilians – especially Jews. Palestinians in general, and Hamas in particular, do not believe that our struggle is against Jews.
Our battle is against the violent occupation, colonialism, and apartheid that we daily encounter, and the regular murders and massacres of our people.
The religion of our occupiers is inconsequential. Indeed, we salute the numerous Jews across the world – including in South Africa – who support justice and the Palestinian cause.
The false charges levelled against us are vastly overshadowed by the numerous egregious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against our people.
Their real guilt far exceeds the guilt they hope to project onto us. In the past three weeks, Israel has flattened numerous neighbourhoods in Gaza, with no concern for people’s lives, homes, and possessions.
Over 8,000 civilians have been murdered by Israel’s bombs raining down on women, men and children in Gaza. Some 500 of them were killed when Israel bombed the Ahli Baptist Hospital; another 60 when it bombed the St Porphyrius Church.
Israel has cut off internet, telecommunications and electricity so that it may commit its crimes against the Palestinians of Gaza in secret.
In the occupied West Bank, where there is no Hamas presence, Israeli forces have murdered 124 civilians in the past three weeks and have arrested and taken 1,740 civilians hostage – including a three-year-old child in order to force his father to surrender to them.
The Israeli occupation army stormed into 271 Palestinian homes across the West Bank. In this last week alone, settlers – with the protection of the IDF – have terrorised Palestinians in the villages of Masafer Yatta, Umm Al-Khair, Susya, and Al-Tuwani.
Israeli forces invaded the city of Jenin, killing four Palestinians and injuring tens of others. Palestinians in the village of A’nizan in the South Hebron Hills, are being forcibly transferred from their lands as a result of settler violence.
Israel holds almost 6,000 Palestinians hostage in its prisons, some of whom have been languishing there for decades. Are our civilians less important than that of Israeli civilians? Is it because Palestinians are sub-human, simply “human animals” as Israel’s defence minister called us?
There is no moral equivalence between the occupiers, colonialists, those who systematically murder and imprison children, on the one hand, and those who struggle for liberation from these abuses on the other.
Despite the utter misery and death visited on us by the Israeli war machine, we are heartened and strengthened by the support our people in Gaza have received from across South Africa and the rest of the world.
The people of the world are standing against Israeli occupation and crimes – Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, all who stand for justice. Our gratitude goes out to them.
Our resistance and your solidarity will see us win our liberation and establish sovereignty over our homeland.
- Emad Saber is the Director of the East, Central and Southern African regions in the International Relations Office at Hamas.
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