The Gaza War: What Israel Wants and What the Palestinians Are Doing
Rockets are fired from Gaza City into Israel amid Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Aug. 7, 2022. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Gaza War: What Israel Wants and What the Palestinians Are Doing

Annahar Al Arabi, Lebanon, August 11

This last round of fighting in the Gaza Strip was yet another aggressive attack launched by Israel against innocent civilians held in an open-air prison, similar to the ones it previously waged in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021. Since withdrawing from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and the rise of Hamas to power in 2007, Israel has declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile entity” and launched several wars against Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). In the process, more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed, tens of thousands were wounded, infrastructure was destroyed, and more than 50,000 homes were destroyed. The Gaza Strip is home to two million Palestinians who live in insanely difficult circumstances, due to the scarcity of resources and because of the siege imposed on them by Israel for 15 years. Therefore, before talking about the Israeli political implications of all these wars, we should explain the reasons that led to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. The first is the strip’s lack of natural resources and a high population density, which placed a heavy burden on Israel. The second is that through its “withdrawal,” Israel sent a misleading and evasive message about its willingness to compromise with the Palestinians, portraying itself as if it is willing to make territorial concessions in exchange for peace. The third is the fact that the strip is home to some two million Palestinians, which would pose a huge demographic threat on Israeli society. The fourth is that the withdrawal sparked internal rivalry among the Palestinian factions and allowed Israel to send a clear message to the world that the Palestinians are “not ready” to govern themselves. In general, in all of its policies toward the Palestinian people – through settlement, expansion, population displacement, home demolitions, killings, arrests and sieges – Israel seeks to impose its own version of the conflict, and subsequently kill the spirit of resistance among the Palestinian people. As for the Palestinians, despite Israel’s military might, and its superiority over them in all respects, all of this doesn’t seem to weaken their faith in their cause, as is evidenced by the continuation of their resistance in all forms and means, one intifada after another. However, the dilemma on the Palestinian side is whether this resistance, which has been carried on for a century, has actually translated into tangible results on the ground. The Palestinians, in their long, tortuous and complicated conflict with Israel, are confronted with two basic dilemmas. First, they cannot change the balance of power in their own favor, because the only real military power that can threaten Israel would be another Arab state. The last time a regular Arab army fought against Israel on the Palestinian’s behalf took place over six decades ago. Second, despite their sacrifices and heroism, the Palestinians unfortunately cannot translate any of their resistance into practical gains or achievements. The Palestinians of Gaza live in a large prison, and suffer from severe poverty and scarcity of resources. Unfortunately, their suffering – be it human, material or moral – is still not commensurate with the desired returns. While Israel has become more developed, strong and stable, the Palestinian people are experiencing ever-growing havoc. In short, the Palestinians may benefit from the realization that, in these unfavorable circumstances, after all of the experiences they have gone through, they don’t need to prove that they’re brave, self-sacrificing and dignified people, as much as they need to prove to themselves and others that they are also capable of transforming their suffering into political achievements. It is obvious that this requires changing the outdated political equation, which they have been clinging to and working on for nearly half a century. – Majid Kayali (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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