The Current Crisis of Palestine

Eastern Crescent
Eastern Crescent 12 Min Read 105 Views

By Dr. Mohammad Ajmal

School of Language Literature and Culture Studies

Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi

If the saying of Prophet Mohammad (saws) is to be understood that Muslims are like one body, then the land of Palestine is a clear picture of it. However, sometimes, especially in today’s age of propaganda, we seem to be driven by emotions. Many things we do not understand because we are not there and the problem is that in this fast paced world we do not even try to understand them.

There are a few simple questions that are minds troubling and I have tried to answer them here with the help of my personal understanding and knowledge, and with the help of a few Palestinian friends who belong to different Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon whom I occasionally met while working in the Embassy of Lebanon, whose visit to the Diplomatic mission was for renewal or issuance of their Travel documents, whose family members currently are in Gaza.

The population of Gaza is about two million, of which around thirty percent are local people and the remaining seventy percent are Palestinian refugees for whom there is no other shelter in the world. These are the refugees who have been pushed from their homes during the last two major wars. Their own hometowns are within driving distance. While leaving, they thought that they were going to Gaza to take refuge, when the situation would improve, they would come  back to their homes. Nevertheless, this dream has not come true until today.

Is there a way out for the Palestinians in Gaza?

Israel seized Gaza from Egypt in the 1967 war and vacated it almost in disappointment, forty years later in 2005. Since then there is a government of Hamas in Gaza. But later Israel has turned it into a permanent prison by building a long strong and deep iron wall on the ground and underground on both the sides. On the third side is the sea and on the fourth direction there is only a small part that meets Egypt which is called “Rafah Crossing” and it opens hardly once in  a year so that people can visit their loved ones only through this small passage, and that too after a very long and patient journey. Relief supplies also pass from here. But since the arrival of General Sisi of Egypt, this route is completely closed for the residents of Gaza, they cannot even get out of there. The Western countries are not at all ready to receive them, nor is any Muslim country opening its doors to them. They are in an unroofed prison where the only way out of it is death. Water, electricity and gas are all in Israel’s possession. Eating and drinking were also allowed by Israel according to the number of the population until 2005 but once Israel withdrew Gaza, such supplies and movement were completely restricted.

What is the reality of what we hear that the Palestinians were offered millions of dollars in the exchange of a small piece of land? It was actually offered to the residents of the West Bank, the city of Jerusalem. Israel wants to make Jerusalem a part of it by force; on the other hand, Muslims are also allowed to sell their land and houses. Many have left the place, getting fed up with a life of misery, but many consider the safety of Jerusalem (Bait al-Maqdis) more important than the safety of themselves and their families. They believe, and it is quite right as well, that their presence is preventing Israel from succeeding in its intentions and agenda. Keeping in mind, Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest mosque in Islam and they consider it their duty to protect it.

Why was Gaza evacuated by Israel? Literally, Israel was not and is never particularly interested in the 25-mile-long Gaza Strip, its problem is the resistance of Hamas and no holy site for Israel in Gaza. It is densely populated and occupying this piece of land and keeping its enemy under cover is a very expensive option for Israel, which is why the Israeli army was withdrawn from Gaza in 2005. So, basically all the interests of the Israeli government is in the West Bank where there is an ancient city like Jerusalem and therefore they gradually annexing the different areas of the West Bank into Israel.

But the question arises, why did Hamas take this trouble on itself? They are living by hook or crook, never knowing what will happen to them? In fact, those living in this unroofed prison are deprived of basic amenities. Their example is of a bottle that Israel has closed its opening with its palm. The aid that goes there is just to make ends their meet and suffice them to an extent. Rather, they come forward to support themselves. Every family is a family of martyrs with no opportunities of modern necessities and livelihood. What if their youths do not take the path of resistance; then what should they do? It is a crime for them to be born in Gaza. When a tiger is caged, what will it do, when it comes out except the attack when it gets the chance? Even now, hundreds of trucks full of aid are waiting to enter Gaza through Rafah crossing, but Israel has bombed it and destroyed all of them.

The worst example of living in peace by recognizing Israel is the PLO itself, which in 1993, under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, was looking for a way out to live in peace by giving up resistance and accepting Israel as a state. The West Bank is said to be governed by the PLO, but it is occupied by Israel, and in 2018, Israel persuaded the United States and other countries to move their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is part of the West Bank, and is considered to be an attempt to make it the capital of Israel.

Atrocities on Palestinian people are many; don’t go back much, just look at 2023 and you will realize that hundreds of Palestinians have been martyred, around Jerusalem, the houses and lands of thousands of Palestinians have been demolished and taken over by the Jewish settlers, respectively. There are business centers working to make everyone Jewish. If the Israeli army kills and injures Palestinians every day and seizes land every day, destroys houses every day, and seizes shops every day, then in these situations, the Palestinians have no choice but to resist. The West sees Israel through its own eyes and the rulers of Islamic countries are at the back and call of the West. In such situations, Hamas is the only hope for the Palestinian people, which is to take revenge or to fight at some level, or highlights the problem of Palestinians at the international level.

Another question arises, has Hamas attacked children, women and peaceful citizens of Israel? One must understand, there are no ordinary citizens in Israel, every citizen is a soldier. Twenty-four to thirty-seven months of military training is compulsory for both men and women over the age of seventeen. US President Joe Biden initially had raised this point, but he too had to clarify his statement as it was against reality. As the layers of information revealed, it seems that the majority were reservists, but some innocent people were also killed. Thus, the problem is that when someone is kept in such situations for years, then sometimes they get overpowered by emotions and apparently, most Hamas fighters are between the ages of seventeen and twenty five years when emotions are at their peak, they say that each of us is making individual decisions, after the war starts, there is no communication with others and sometimes such problems occur.

Logic behind Hamas’s hostage of Israelites; actually, what can be expected from caged humans? They have no option. More than 4,000 Palestinian prisoners are rotting in Israeli prisons, of which more than 1,000 do not even know their crime. So, how to get them free from Israeli prisons? They perceive; this is the method used by Hamas and they have also exercised it in the past to free Palestinian prisoners. From 2006 to 2011, an Israeli soldier named Gilad Shalit was captured and 1200 Palestinians were released in exchange for him. So, they hope that their strategy will be successful this time as well. They believe that if they had not done these hostages, Gaza would have been completely destroyed by the bombardment until now.

So the only purpose of all this is to make the world remember the Palestinians who are forced to live like animals in a prison. They want to be discussed and talked about. They are human beings like anybody else and aspire for a better future. They cannot make their voices known to the world in any other way; therefore, they attack Israel every few years so that their voices can be heard far and wide. The more damage they do to Israel, the more they will be talked about, the more they will be in the news and that is what they want. Until they are not talked about, people will not think about them and there will be no hope of solving their problem.

https://easterncrescent.net/hamass-offensive-a-natural-reaction/

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