By Zaakir Ahmed Mayet
In 2008 the world was filled with hope as global attention centered on the first black president entering the White House. As the New Year approached, families, friends and loved ones got together to celebrate the success of making it to a new year. However, in a small stretch of land in the Middle East, their new year was very different.
In Gaza, New Year was marked by Operation Cast Lead that murdered 1400 Palestinians injured 1000s and stunted the world with the brutality of the operation. Initially Israel boasted about their well-crafted propaganda campaign of using female spokespersons instead of males, striking only Hamas ‘terrorist’ sites and only ‘responding’ to attacks.
This system worked for roughly the first week of the operation until the truth began to emerge. From the powerless, waterless and foodless Gaza strip, horrific images began to emerge of children buried under the rubble of destroyed buildings, bodies missing limbs after being blown up by Israeli munitions and children burnt by white phosphorous fired into the their homes. The world was shocked by the cruelty of Israel as they destroyed UN facilities, schools, mosque and even food depots.
On 14 November 2012 Israel once again attempted to re-enact the slaughter of 2008/9. Just as in 2008/9, Israel had violated the ceasefire and in this case, violated it by killing 13year old Ahmed Daqqa whilst he played soccer outside his home in the Gaza strip. As the Palestinian resistance retaliated, Israel attempted to unleash its full military might on the besieged population of the Gaza by calling in 75,000 reserve troops.
But something was different this time, something that would change Israel’s plan. Within hours of the first massive munitions falling on the Gaza strip journalists began broadcasting the wanton destruction being unleashed from the skies. Instantaneously, people around the world responded with condemnation and began sit-ins, protests and petitions for the recall of their ambassadors to Israel.
Unlike 2008/9, information surfaces in real time and the populations of the world felt it their duty to raise their voices against this aggression. However, Israel being protected by the veto wielding USA has never been very concerned about global opinion. Defying the findings of the highest legal body in the world, the International Court of Justice on the Apartheid Wall in the West Bank, defying numerous UN resolutions and continuous murder of Palestinians reflects the Israel states utter disregard for International law and global opinion.
As the death toll in Gaza began to rise, the Resistance rolled out new weaponry to put up some opposition despite it being merely symbolic. Rockets began hitting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Al Quds for the first time in decades sending a message to the Generals of Israel that the taking of Palestinian lives will not come without a price. A terrified Israel watched for the first time as the Palestinians shot down an F16 fighter jet over the coastal prison.
This new form of resistance that denied Israel its military objective forced a recalibration of strategy. Along with that, in the last few days of the operation we witnessed reckless bombardment by the Israeli Occupation Forces of essential infrastructure such as cement factories, homes and vital government ministries. Enter Anonymous, a global movement of hacktivists that took a moral decision to stand as a vanguard for Palestinians against Israel’s barbaric aggression.
They began cyber operations such as #OpIsrael #OpMossad #PillarOfAnonymous that changed the status quo completely. As Israeli based pages began collapsing and massive information leaks of 35,000 documents as well as the hacking of the infamous Israeli intelligence Mossad, Israel was faced with a dilemma that they had not factored in. Previously, Israel would embark on a military campaign with little or no loss incurred other than to replenish its US stockpile of weapons.
Today, the continuous murdered perpetrated by Israeli in Gaza came at a cost of compromising their cyber space, sensitive information of the state and intelligence. As the collective of Anonymous began rolling out aid to the civilians in Gaza, packages on how to avoid drones, basic first aid and how to remain connected to the internet despite Israel’s electronic warfare, the operation Pillar of Defence came to a thunderous collapse.
Egyptians began gathering at the Rafah crossing to enter the Gaza strip and protests in Jordan and the rest of the Arab world post the Arab awakening was another grave consideration for the Israelis. As Egypt recalled its ambassador to Israel, a clear message began to emerge that the Mubarak loyalties were long gone and buried.
Furthermore it reflected an Arab world now shaped by the will of the people more than it had ever been before. It was in this context that Israel was forced to accept defeat and accept a truce. There is no doubt that Israel will violate the newly brokered truce and ceasefire in order to demonstrate some form of perceived bravado but the question that will now plague Israeli Generals and its leaders is – “At what Cost?”
As the Palestinians of Gaza once again pay the price for Israel’s adventurism to re-establish its deterrence capacity, a new world has emerged with new realities. The reality that Israel is more isolated today than it has been in the past; that the collective digital citizenry named Anonymous will not let Israel’s military aggression go unchallenged and that the Arab populations now have the courage to stand against Israel.
Israel has suffered a defeat, far greater than that of 2006 at the hands of the Hezbollah. Failing to achieve any military objectives in Gaza, increased isolation and the digital axe that now hovers over the state should they embark on another killing spree has sent one message – Israel is being restrained, not by the UN, not the USA but by the global citizenry. That is a victory for human rights and the collective; this is a victory for human conscience.
– Zaakir Ahmed Mayet is the chairman of the Media Review Network (South Africa). He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.