The Israeli colonial occupier, along with the United States and some Western countries, stood before the battle of “Al-Aqsa Flood” on 7 October 2023, as if the history of the conflict had begun on that date. They overlooked the fact that, for Palestinians, October was associated with many massacres committed by the occupying state, massacres that would always stay alive in the collective memory: the massacres of Al-Dawayima, 29 October 1948; Qibya, 15 October 1953; Qalqilya, 10 October 1953; Kafr Qasim, 29 October 1956; and Hammamet Al-Shat, 11 October 1985.
The Dawayima massacre (west of Hebron) was the most horrific: 75 elderly people who took refuge in the village mosque were killed; 35 Palestinian families were exterminated; and a number of homes were blown up, with the families inside. “The Zionists were keen to throw the bodies into the village well to hide the ugliness of the massacre,” revealed by the Israeli newspaper Hadashot. The Qibya massacre (north of Jerusalem) resulted in 69 martyrs; the blowing up of 41 houses, a mosque, and the village’s water tank; and the extermination of entire families. The Qalqilya massacre took place after Moshe Dayan declared: “I will plow Qalqilya.” There were more than 70 victims. The Kafr Qasim massacre (south of Tulkarm) took place on the eve of the tripartite aggression against Egypt. There were, “over the course of an hour and a half, 49 martyrs and 13 wounded.” And the Hammamet Chatt massacre (southern Tunisia), which targeted the offices and leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Tunisia and resulted in 50 dead and 100 wounded.
The Zionist occupier has focussed on the threat Hamas - Islamic Resistance Movement – represents and announced that it would continue bombing Gaza until it was eradicated, as if the movement were an infernal weed that could be eliminated, as if it were not an essential part of the fabric of the Palestinian people. This is a people who respect difference and pluralism. The Palestinians have resisted the occupation even before the establishment of the Hamas movement in 1987, and before the Palestinian National Liberation Movement, Fatah, took off in 1965. Palestinians continue to stand and resist, along with the resistance organisations, with the goal of ending the occupation of the racist Israeli colonialism on the land of Palestine, and achieving national independence.
The Israeli occupation army announced that the massacres it is committing in Gaza are in self-defence and a legitimate response to the 7 October attack, with the aim of eliminating the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.
The Israeli occupation state has been accustomed to justifying its continuous aggression against the Palestinians for seventy-five years; it is surprising, however, that the countries that support Israel have refrained from condemning the barbaric aggression against the Gaza Strip. Even more surprising is that the Arab countries have remained neutral, and that Western media should repeat what the occupying state pronounces, without the scrutiny required by media responsibility and professional ethics.
What many countries of the world and Western media fail to grasp is that Israel is an occupying state, and that the Palestinian people are an occupied people, and therefore Israel’s right to defend itself becomes laughable. According to US News, the occupying state has the fourth most powerful army in the world. Israel imprisons an entire people, shuts them up in isolated cantons, confiscates their land, builds a separation wall in its occupied territories, one sign of its racist expansionist policies, and violates human rights, night and day.
The occupying state clearly violates international law according to the report submitted by the Special Rapporteur, Francesca Albanese, to the United Nations General Assembly about human rights in Palestine. The occupation, which was to be ‘temporary’, was prolonged; it was not to annex occupied territory and seize lands by force, and yet it annexed occupied lands and did not take into account the interest of the residents; it was to act in good faith and take into account the interest or rights of the residents, yet it did not. Therefore, the presence of Israel in Palestine is one kind of colonialism: “From this standpoint, the Israeli occupation constitutes an unjustified use of force and an act of aggression. This occupation is unequivocally prohibited under international law, and contradicts the values, purposes, and principles of the United Nations, as stipulated in its Charter.”
When we talk about Gaza, our only memories are aggression after aggression, massacre after massacre, and suffering and continual resistance followed by suffering and more resistance.
The Palestinians in Gaza remember the massacres that continue to be committed by the occupation army over the course of seventy-five years. They also remember the resistance of the Palestinian people, both women and men, in defense of land, culture and identity.
They cannot forget the heroes of the Fallujah enclave (northeast of Gaza): Al-Fallujah, and Iraq Suwaydan, and Iraq Al-Manshiya, and their legendary continual and valiant resistance with the Egyptian army in 1948, and then their confrontation of the aggressing Zionist forces after the Egyptian army left in 1949. Nor can they forget the heroic martyrs: Muhammad Jamjoum, Ata al-Zeer (Hebron), and Fouad Hijazi (Safad), who were executed by the British authorities in 1930 for participating in the Buraq Revolution in 1929 and resisting the forced confiscation of their land.
They cannot forget the commander Izz al-Din al-Qassam, who was martyred in the Ya’bad woods in 1935; or the commander Abdul Qader al-Husseini, who was martyred in the Battle of Qastal; or the poet Abd al-Rahim Mahmoud, who was martyred in the Battle of al-Shajara in 1948; or the Syrian officer Jules Jamal, who was martyred in the Suez War, in 1956. They cannot forget their women heroines: Fatima Ghazal, who was martyred while participating in the 1936 revolution; or Hayat Al-Balbasa, who was martyred while helping the wounded in the village of Deir Yassin in 1948; or Raja Abu Amasha, who was martyred in Jerusalem in a demonstration to overthrow the Baghdad Pact in 1955; or Shadia Abu Ghazaleh, who was martyred in Nablus in 1968, and was the first woman Palestinian martyr after 1967; or Dalal al-Mughrabi, who was martyred in 1978, after, as the poet Nizar Qabbani put it, “the first Palestinian republic was established, and the Palestinian flag was raised, deep in occupied Palestine.”
They cannot forget the martyrs and the wounded of Gaza, ever since 1948: the martyrs of the “Battle of Al-Furqan” 2008-2009; or “Al-Asf Al-Maakul” meaning the “Razing of Gaza” in 2014; the “Unified Fronts” of 2022; and the “Al-Aqsa Flood’ of 2023. Our memory is alive, and will remain alive, generation after generation.