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Only Gaza will decide about its future

Now is the time, with a four-day truce in place, to listen to the resistance in Gaza about a solution to the conflict instead of imposing one on them from far away capitals like Washington or London. Prominent Palestinian journalist and editor of palestinechronicle.com, also a prolific author, Ramzy Baroud, wisely reminds the world that leaving Palestinians out of the conversation, no matter how well-intentioned, is not going to solve this problem. Indeed, both IDF and Hamas are ready to resume the fighting as soon as the truce ends, even if it is extended by a few days.

Even Palestinians who do not live in Gaza “have not earned the right” to dictate terms or drive the narrative about the future of the Strip. Only the people who are fighting and dying and burying their children will have to tell the world about the way forward, otherwise any peace will be short-lived with the sword of war and destruction forever hanging over the entire region. And right now they have no time to “sit in webinars and submit papers”. They have made up their minds and the solution, for now, is resistance.

The first order of business needs to be understating the nature of the resistance and reasons for its existence. Classifying Palestinians as “violent people” – Israeli propaganda happily echoed in western capitals – and Hamas as terrorists completely misses the point and will never bring about a solution. 46-47 percent of Gaza comprises children, according to Save the Children. They have never set foot outside the open-air prison they call home, never known a life without check posts and military raids and indiscriminate bombings.

Something as basic as water, taken for granted by much of the world, is 97-99pc polluted in Gaza. There are very few doctors, and the lucky few that can access them are mostly unable to find medicines because of Israel’s blockades. They have no rights, no freedom, and “cannot even relate to the idea of true freedom”. So, they join the resistance in the “hope to score some kind of victory and leverage it to achieve things that you take for granted”, Ramzy explains in his video messages. They know that their homes would be confiscated or demolished or they would be killed by the hundreds, yet they choose to fight. And despite the tall claims on international media, the people of Gaza support them to the hilt even as they suffer the worst genocide of the modern world.

There’s no doubt that the suffering people of Gaza desperately needed this temporary truce. It will allow some aid to trickle into the territory and bring a small measure of relief. Yet it’s being widely overlooked that a broadly clueless IDF in Gaza and badly besieged Netanyahu in Tel Aviv needed it even more; to regroup and refine their narrative.

Ramzy also tells how Gazans already know that they might be the ones counting their dead, but it’s Israel that has effectively lost the war on four crucial fronts. First on October 7, when a handful of Hamas fighters outmaneuvered and outfought thousands of IDF soldiers whose only job was to prevent an incursion. Then its military operation failed to achieve any of its stated objectives. The aerial blitzkrieg pulverized Gaza and sent thousands to early graves in one of the cruelest, most heartless displays of military superiority since the great wars of the last century, but the ground offensive is getting nowhere. It has singularly failed to “neutralize, crush and demolish Hamas” – Netanyahu’s sabre rattling – the people have not turned away from Hamas, and freedom fighters can be seen openly up and down the Strip.

Thirdly, Israel has already suffered unprecedented loss of geopolitical support. America shamelessly continues to shield it, of course, but it is being strongly condemned by capitals from Latin America to Africa to the fringes of Europe like never before. Surely, this will have consequences for a long time to come. Like all wars, this one too will end sooner or later. And after it the world will see and treat Israel very differently.

And fourthly, Israel has also decisively lost the battle for public opinion, with its reputation as a steadfast post-9/11 partner in the war against terror in tatters. Ordinary people across the western world that didn’t know of Palestinians as anything other than a violent race bent upon killing Jews have been badly shaken by what is happening. They are now familiar with on ground facts and the truth about the occupation. Israel has lost hearts and minds all over the world because of its barbarism and brutality.

Ramzy, himself a refugee from Gaza, also reminds the world that war, violence and suffering is the last thing the people want, including those that stand with Hamas. They, more than anybody else, want peace. But “peace that is predicated on justice, peace that is true and lasting, that gives dignity and hope, basic human rights, education and proper lives”.

The people of Gaza are fed up with bleeding and begging the world to notice them. And now they have taken matters into their own hands. “You don’t have to cheer for them, at least try to understand them”, Ramzy concludes. If you put yourself in their shoes, you would also be angry.

Shahab Jafry, "Only Gaza will decide about its future," Business recorder. 2023-11-23.
Keywords: Social sciences , Social crises , Israel war , Hamas war , Ramzy Baroud , Netanyahu , Gaza Strip , Israel , America , Africa

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