It’s already starting in Gaza.
At the time of writing this, it’s estimated that 28 have died (including a woman and ten children) in Gaza due to Israeli airstrikes and that two Israelis (both women) have been killed from Hamas rockets. In the West Bank, over 700 Palestinians were harmed by Israeli aggression. Israel has said six of their own have been hurt by rocket fire.
The contrast in these figures is quite stark, as they typically are.
There’s been increased Israeli aggression throughout this month. This began when Israeli police decided to ban Palestinians from gathering on the steps outside Damascus Gate, a popular gathering spot, particularly after maghrib during Ramadan. When Palestinians protested, the Israeli police, as we all saw, responded with brutal force.
There’s also been anger over Israel’s attempt to evict 70 Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem (the irony that the ground for taking the homes is based on the claims that they were Jewish-owned before 1948!).
For settlers, taking land is natural, after all. If one of them doesn’t take it, another one will, according to the “logic” of the settlers themselves.
There’s also been Israeli’s firing of rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas in al-Aqsa. As has been reported, last night (May 10) Hamas gave Israel a deadline by when they should leave al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah. When that did not happen, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired rockets.
Netanyahu has vowed to respond “with great force.” Sadly, we know “great force” is the same as “disproportionate force.”
That’s why we are already seeing attacks in Gaza neighborhoods. One of them, shown in the pictures in this article, is Beit Lahiya. It was also attacked in 2014, when Israel bombed a shelter for people with mental and physical disabilities. This was during Operation Protective Edge, which is now one of the subjects of the ICC’s investigation into ‘possible’ Israeli war crimes.
Looking Back to Look Forward
Do not forget how we got here. We’re four days away from Nakba Day.
Recall that East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967, during the Six-Day War and that, despite Israeli efforts, it’s still not recognized internationally as part of Israel. That’s why the various celebrations of “Jerusalem Day” (May 10; celebrating Israel’s capture of the territory in 1967) combined with attempts to rip more Palestinians from their homes, is particularly inflammatory and outrageous.
Recall also that 1967 demonstrated just how disunited the Arab world was in fighting Israel; that’s in part why Israeli aggression saw them take the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights in Six Days. This cannot happen again. There must be a united front against Israel. But what we see is the antithesis of that.
Sadly, within Palestinian politics as well, we find little unity and serious problems within the leadership. And there’s basically little point to even read much of the statements coming out of Washington, which is always shockingly frank about its permanent alliance with a foreign nation. Same old story. “Israel has a right to defend itself.” The unspoken part of that, then: Palestinians don’t.
May Allah guide us to the right path and keep our Palestinian brothers and sisters strong in their resolve and persistence in this struggle.