The Palestinian cause, ever since it began, has been facing thorny turns like western conspiration, Arab abandonment, and internal disregard of resistance. The current stage, however, could be the most dangerous because Palestine is now suffering from these problems combined together, and an American-Israeli-Arab desire to terminate the cause entirely. The question then is: Will such plan succeed?
The answer is No. Based on facts from the Holy Quran, sunnah, sirah and history; it is definite that truth prevails and falsehood, no matter how long it lasts, vanishes. The more important question is “Where do we stand?” and “How can we advocate the truth and support it?”
This paper sheds light on the military, political, diplomatic, and social realities of the Palestinian people, especially in the Gaza Strip. It attempts to predict the general characteristics of 2020.
First: The Military Aspect
The Palestinian people have advanced in the military field since the emergence of the Palestinian cause until this day. Differences between past revolutions and current revolutions must be highlighted. Despite the importance of the revolutions of the first half of the 20th century, they all ended without passing any military achievements to the following periods. However, recent intifadas have been characterized with smooth transition of the struggle. Although the 2000 Intifada emerged from almost nothing, it incredibly developed and successfully benefited from field experience and the power of armed resistance. This is considered a huge achievement for the resistance. As for the revolution that erupted outside Palestine in the 1960s, it was important; still, internal revolutions from inside the occupied lands were more influential on the occupation and got closer to the public.
If we wish to fathom such reality, we must overview the stages of military developments the Palestinian people went through. Inspired from the sunnah, they are seven as follows:
This is reflected in the Palestinians’ great shock when they were displaced from their lands. Only after their recovery did they fight against the Jews’ attempts to displace them. Despite their struggle, the Palestinians could not thwart the Zionist project. The Palestinian resistance back then lacked the religion-based or Jihad-education, and other times the circumstances were the reason. For example, the Palestinian people did not have an entity that would defend or protect them. Such entity first appeared when they retrieved Al-Qastal village in 1948. Of course there are other reasons such as Arabs and Muslims’ leadership’s abandonment and disregard.
From the first year of Hijrah in Ramadan to the following Ramadan, the Prophet (peace be upon him) prepared 8 military companies whose purpose was not to battle. Instead, they were meant to motivate the Companions to retrieve their rights; to remind Quraish of its enmity; and to reassure Arab tribes.
For the Palestinians, the Hijarah and Al-Aqsa Intifadas were part of the ‘clashes’ stage, and so was the fighting for freedom in the 1960s and 1970s. The only difference is that the fighting for freedom was individually attempted by a group of heroic fighters, but the Intifadas were popular with the society as their heroes.
This stage represents the battles of Bader and Uhud. In Palestine, the first and second wars showed a shift in the resistance’ potentials and abilities, and the nature of fighting with the Israeli occupation; preparing the Palestinians and resistance for a graver, more malicious confrontation with the occupation.
Setting new rules of engagement with a rival is not an easy step. It comes as the result of previous encounters where the occupation tried to impose its own rules with force. Following the same policy, the Palestinian resistance entered a serious stage. It does not have equal forces, but it is more powerful because it depends on the power of faith and the truth for which it fights.
The Palestinian resistance managed to change the rules of engagement with the Israeli occupation. It is noticeable how the occupation tried to set a new rule of engagement where they strike several targets for each rocket launched from the Gaza Strip. In 2014, the fighters set a new rule, which is one strike for one strike. This policy was imposed with force, too.
The hero of this stage is the Companion Abu Baseer. At the time, Islam gained new territory that was used as a base to surprise Quraish’s convoys. This could happen to the Islamic movement in its next war with its enemy. It is expected that the Movement gains new territory through the fighters’ advancement, in big numbers, towards the occupied lands of 1948 carrying out high-profile operations. The occupation fears this scenario and prepares itself for facing it.
The coming battle will pave the path for the liberation of Palestine, God willing. This, of course, remains an expectation based on analyzing the rise in the Palestinian resistance, and setbacks of the deterring powers of the occupation and the disruptions in its politics. As we can see, the Israeli parties are incapable of forming a government after two rounds of elections. They might even go for a third. Other reasons are the increasing discrimination against eastern and African Jews, fragmentation of the society, and seeking personal gains.
Finally, Hamas’ most important accomplishment in this regard was forming the Joint Operation Room of the Palestinian military wings. Its work was very clear during the escalations that erupted the past year during the Great March of Return.
Second: The Political Aspect
For a long time, Palestine has had the PLO as its sole party. The truth is the PLO is basically Fatah. Meaning, its attitudes and decisions are the attitudes and decisions of Fatah. This has resulted in several setbacks for the Palestinian cause. If the political, social and military forces are in the hands of one party; this will do more harm than good.
This was very clear in the settlement agreement Fatah went for without holding a national meeting or disclosing any information to the Palestinians. The current deteriorating reality of the Palestinian cause is a living proof, as well.
Because of Allah’s mercy, the occupation denounced the settlement agreement, as Jews always do. The new Palestinian, the USA wanted to create, did not enjoy the right to self-determination, did not retrieve al-Quds, could not liberate the detainees, could not break apart the settlements, and failed to return the refugees. In fact, al-Quds was declared as the capital of the occupation, the refugees issue has been pushed away, and the settlements have been legalized in the USA’s recent resolutions.
Despite the dangerous implications of the American resolutions and Israeli measures, they have been seen as a gift from Allah to strengthen people’s faith and lead them to decide on jihad as the only option for resistance against the occupation. This is not the opinion of Islamists only but all factions of the society, excluding a very few belonging to Fatah.
The Palestinian authority as an entity remains only as an authority that hunts down the resistance fighters. Therefore, the people will not accept its presence for any longer, and the future will be for resistance only; with Hamas in the lead. This is mainly because Hamas is the heart of the Jihad project in Palestine considering its military power, political transparency and social approval.
In spite of the remarks made on Hamas being in charge, this step has qualified it to play a bigger role in the coming stage; a stage when all Palestinian forces must be on the same page and under one project to liberate Palestine. This is no longer a mere dream. We cannot identify a specific day or year, this is Allah’s knowing only, yet it is clear that corrupt regimes in the Arab world will rapidly fall since their injustice and corruption have reached alarming levels.
Hamas’ presence in politics had a great role in stopping political defeats (concessions), or at least it did not legalize such actions through the Parliament, in which it represented the majority. Hamas also reinforced the concept of resistance, protected it and grew its powers.
Third: The Diplomatic Aspect
Despite the rising power of the military force of the Palestinians and diversity in their political programs, they are still diplomatically unqualified.
The reason for this is the Palestinian ambassadors who are affiliated with Fatah, or support the Palestinian Authority’s methods.
What we hear and see indicate that the performance of the Palestinian embassies is below what is necessary, whether in introducing the Palestinian cause or serving the Palestinians abroad. If the Palestinian embassies had had real presence, they could have exposed the corruption of the official institute. Unfortunately, the national institutions in general are off duty, and the Legislative Council in particular. At times when the Council actually stands against the shortfalls of the Palestinian embassies or the spreading corruption due to illegal profiting of international economic projects in Palestine, its voice is disregarded and ignored. Sometimes, it is even forced not to embarrass the Palestinian Authority to avoid any further restrictions against Hamas in the West Bank .
As for Hamas, it has succeeded in building strategic relations with several countries that stand with Palestine out of religious or political beliefs. Hamas’ clarity and the charisma of its leaders such as Khalid Mesh’al and Ismael Haniya played a major role in strengthening such ties. However, the political blockade on the Gaza Strip influenced the Movement’s communication with the surrounding Arab and Islamic world, and other countries that do not follow the American or Israeli policy.
In addition, there is also the defamation campaign undertaken by the Arab Quartet against the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The result is Hamas’ inability to communicate with other countries although they know such claims are mere lies. However, the inciting countries with their power prevent them from reconnecting with Hamas.
Palestine in UN Resolutions
The Palestinian cause has been diplomatically advancing in the UN as more countries are voting in favor of the Palestinian cause, and less countries are supporting the Israeli occupation; sometimes the vote against Palestine was by the Israeli occupation and the US only. As for the average number of countries abstaining from voting, it is 6-7. In 2017, the US exercised great pressure on other countries attempting to persuade them into changing their position on the transfer of the location of the US Embassy; which explains the increase in the number of countries abstaining from voting in favor of Palestine.
In 2009, (114) countries voted in favor of Goldstone Report which accused the occupation of having committed war crimes during its assault on Gaza in 2008-2009.
In 2011, (167) countries voted in favor of the resolution to give Palestine the right to self-determination on its lands and East-Jerusalem; 7 voted no and 6 abstained.
In 2012, (138) countries voted for making Palestine a non-member observer state while (9) voted no.
In 2017, Trump presented the resolution of moving the Embassy to al-Quds. (128) voted against the resolution, (9) voted in favor and (35) abstained.
In the same year, the UN discussed the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. (176) countries voted in favor, (7) voted against and (4) abstained.
In 2019, the UN resolution to extend UNRWA mandate in Palestine was approved by (170) countries, (2) voted against (the USA and the Israeli occupation), and (7) countries abstained.
The Palestinian envoy in the UN and other official, popular or faction-affiliated committees have all contributed to the success of such accomplishments. They have shown the Palestinian right and exposed the Israeli occupation crimes.
Fourth: The Social Aspect
During the presence of the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians had a luxurious life. This is not the case, however. Back then, the Palestinians were far from applying the faith-based life-style. Therefore, they never thought about fighting the occupation. One would hear the people, due to extreme poverty, in Gaza say, “Our lives were much better during the occupation’s rule”.
The Palestinians’ lives continued to be the same until the beginning of the Intifada. Sometime before the Intifada, the people had started to rebuild their connection with Allah. After the Islamic awakening initiated by some reformers and during the first and second Intifadas, the Palestinians rebuilt their connection with the Quran and sunnah, which increased their love for jihad and desire to fight for Palestine.
The faith-based spirituality improved. At the same time, the people’s economic conditions worsened under a difficult siege. However, they were fortified against the dangers of the test of faith (ibtila’) as the people did not hate the resistance and did not ignore their rights (a few disagreed, but that is a little number in comparison with a whole nation).
The truth is this is what concerns us: Helping people reinforce their steadfastness. Considering the suffocating siege on the Gaza Strip, this has become difficult, yet the official and popular Islamic role appears of great importance here to alleviate the people’s sufferings; especially in Al-Quds, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Hamas was capable of strengthening people’s faith, and coordinated the work among institutions and harmonized their efforts to alleviate the sufferings of patients, the wounded, and families of martyrs and detainees.
The Future of the Palestinian Cause in 2020
It is clear that the escalation rounds between the resistance and the Israeli occupation, though of great importance, cannot lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip because the occupation continues to stall. In addition, Palestinian elections will not be held as this is a maneuver by Mahmoud Abbas, who too wants to put an end to the resistance in Gaza. The coming logical move after such rounds is war, which could erupt in the end of 2019 or the following year. For sure, the coming war will not be similar to its predecessors. This war will result in thousands of martyrs and injured. It will cause great havoc and destroy the infrastructure. It will strongly affect the potentials of the resistance. It will not, however, entirely terminate the resistance. Following are the reasons for the occupation and the Palestinian people to start a war:
Fourth: The Results of War
Undoubtedly, the Palestinians do not want another war. However, the results of the war, if it happens, could be as follows:
- To the Palestinians
- The increase in national appreciation of the Palestinian resistance, which will be severely affected by the occupation’s attacks but will not be entirely terminated. This is mainly for two reasons: First, the great popular support the resistance will receive and its 3-war experience.
- The end of the Israeli blockade and a huge increase in economic abilities.
- The chance for Hamas to have new Arab, Islamic and international horizons.
- The end of the negotiation project and what is left of Fatah.
- The restructuring of the PLO and Hamas and Jihad inclusion in the Organization, or the formation of another national organization that encompasses all Palestinian factions.
- To the Arabs
The fall of Arab regimes, especially those surrounding Palestine. These regimes have repositioned themselves after the revolutions, but they will fall again after this war, or if any after it. The assault against Gaza and the people’s steadfastness will encourage the people to move against their corrupt regimes which, though seeming powerful, are very fragile.
- To the Muslims
- Palestine’s allies, with Turkey and Malaysia in the lead, who support the Palestinian resistance will rise, which would lead to the formation of an Islamic Alliance that is not affiliated with America or any corrupt regime, and which will stand against the American-Israeli alliance and other allied western countries.
- The increase in the number of Islamic countries that advocate the Palestinian cause after the retreat of the conventional leadership, i.e. Saudi Arabia, of the Islamic world.
- The strengthening of diplomatic relations between Palestine and other Islamic countries. Here, Malaysia’s decision to open an embassy in Palestine, located in Jordan, is considered a bold move. Other countries may later follow and do the same.
- To Israel and America
- The fall of high-profile political leaders, Netanyahu going down first.
- The termination of the Deal of the Century and any other project aiming to terminate the Palestinian cause.
- The fall of the Israeli narrative in the world and the rise of the true Palestinian narrative.
Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre