Gaza: Freedom, Not Improving Conditions of Oppression!

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate the announcement of the ceasefire. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Haidar Eid  

We have spent sleepless nights under Israeli bombs before – in 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018, and 2021.

On Tuesday, apartheid Israel decided to launch yet another murderous campaign of bombardment against one of the most densely populated areas on earth. And again, the victims were children and women. So far, the number of those killed has risen to 33 and more than 100 wounded. Calls for a ceasefire were made as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to launch “massive strikes” in the hope of killing the largest possible number of Palestinians by targeting residential areas.

As with previous truce initiatives, in the proposed one once again Israel and the Palestinians – the oppressor and the oppressed – are equated as “two sides to a conflict” and what constitutes legitimate resistance under international law is being put on the same level as a brutal illegal occupation. The fact that Israel has an actual army, disproportionately bigger firepower and is an occupier was neglected as usual, and so is the stark difference in the death toll: 33 Palestinians and 1 Israeli. Like all previous ceasefires mediated by the Egyptian authorities and the United Nations, this one also aims to maintain “stability” in the open-air concentration camp that Gaza is, for as long as possible, by demanding that any form of resistance is subdued.

As in the past, Palestinians are now expected to gratefully accept a “period of calm” where Israeli bombs are not raining on their houses and its blockade continues to strangulate Gaza. In fact, what has come to be regularly required of the Palestinians is to conduct themselves as “house Palestinians”, and be thankful to their white Ashkenazi masters for the breadcrumbs they let them have in order to barely survive.

They are to give in to a slow death, die like cockroaches, showing no form of rebellion, and accept that if they die resisting, then it would be their own fault.

But enough is enough!

Palestinians will no longer accept the dictates of the so-called “international community” which continues to favor Israel and cover up its war crimes. Any talk of improving the conditions of oppression in light of the great sacrifices made by our people is a betrayal of Palestinian victims. Any ceasefire agreement that does not lead to the immediate lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and the reopening of the Rafah crossing, and all the other crossings in a manner that allows the inflow of fuel, medicine, and all other basic goods, and does not include provisions for ending what the Israeli occupation and apartheid – will not be accepted.

We will no longer allow Gaza to be severed from Palestine and the historical context behind the suffering of its people. This is not a “conflict”, as the Israelis like to present it, with a hostile armed group. It is an occupation, launched by a settler-colonial power that seeks to ethnically cleanse an entire indigenous population in order to solidify and legitimize its colony. What is happening in Gaza is incremental genocide, not a “security operation”.

The barbaric massacres committed by apartheid Israel since 2006, have claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, including many children. Entire families have been wiped out in broad daylight in conjunction with the systematic destruction of hundreds of Palestinian homes; doctors and paramedics were killed while on duty and so were journalists. Tens of thousands have been permanently disabled in these wars.

We, the Palestinians in Gaza, have already made our choice. We will not die dishonorably a slow death while thanking our killers under the self-deception that portrays slavery to the occupier as a fait accompli.

No, we will continue to fight for our dignity, for ourselves, and for our children. We, members of the Palestinian civil society, have long argued that the way forward should be people’s power – the only force capable of tackling the huge asymmetry of power in the struggle against Israel.

We successfully broke efforts to intentionally separate the Gaza “conflict” from its roots and made our demands heard across the world. We don’t want another short-term ceasefire or slight “improvement” in living conditions under a “deal of the century”. We don’t want breadcrumbs. We want to return to our lands, we want our rights under international law to be recognized.

– Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the Al-Aqsa University, in the Gaza Strip. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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