It is our right to celebrate the capture of an Israeli soldier

Captured soldier Shaul Aron

“Terrorist” Hamas kills soldiers but “civilised” Netanyahu kills children. I fear that the blood of innocent civilians will have been shed in vain due to Arab mediation and these are my reasons, writes Abdelbari Atwan.

Those who witnessed the happiness in many Arab cities, and in Gaza particularly, knows how eager the Muslim Ummah is for a victory of any sort. Hence, when “Abu Obaida” of Al-Aqsa Brigades announced the capture of an Israeli soldier, and showed his photograph and military number during the announcement, for the Arabs this was a small victory after many a year of being oppressed.

Perhaps capturing an Israeli soldier does not represent a huge success, at least not in the minds of the analysts using statistics to assess Israel’s aggression against Gaza. However, oppressed populations look at such events from a more nationalistic and empathetic standpoint.

In fact, they consider different factors altogether; when Benjamin Netanyahu announced the capture of the soldier and the death of 20 others (the number has since increased to 30), one could see the sadness and defeat on his face. The joy that was felt by many people, on the other hand, was almost reflexive in spite of all the difficulties facing the resistance. I was among those who rejoiced.

The Palestinian resistance captures and kills soldiers whereas Israeli soldiers kill children and demolish homes atop the civilians who live inside them, almost in anger after failing to find the fighters defending the population being punished collectively by Israel.

It is here that we can begin to make comparisons between a resistance that believes in morality and a barbaric and racist army that does not have the word “humanity” in its lexicon; that is, if it has any words other than death and destruction there to begin with.

Gaza graveyard

Israel and Netanyahu are experiencing a crisis and it is for this reason that US Secretary of State John Kerry has been ordered by his boss to rush to the region to save both the prime minister and his state. President Barack Obama is not concerned with saving the children of Gaza. America also finds itself wading through the muddy waters of the Middle East and it too is looking for a way out.

The US and its Arab sympathisers gave Netanyahu a week to complete his objective of disciplining the Gaza Strip and bringing an end to rocket fire, take away Palestinian weapons and destroy buildings above and below the ground. When Netanyahu failed to do so they gave him the green light to continue for one more week; when he began to see more and more losses in Israeli ranks, they saved him from drowning by encouraging him to reach a ceasefire agreement as soon as possible.

Support for the resistance in Gaza is once again at high levels
Support for the resistance in Gaza is once again at high levels

Gaza was and shall remain a graveyard for the Israelis. It was Gaza that brought about Yitzhak Rabin’s end and he was considered to be one of the greatest of military masterminds (he was the chief of staff of the Israeli army during the 1967 war); it was Gaza that humiliated Ariel Sharon and forced him to withdraw his settlers unconditionally; and one cannot forget Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the “heroes” of Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Now it’s Netanyahu’s turn to be one of the most prominent figures of this bout of Israeli aggression and whatever it produces.

When the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and their brothers in the West Bank and the refugee camps in Lebanon dance with joy upon hearing that an Israeli soldier has been captured, they are celebrating the victory of being in a position, perhaps, to liberate more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, if not more, languishing behind bars in Israel’s prisons.

This is the very point that those who hate the Palestinian resistance fail to understand. These sceptics assess the resistance’s every action with numbers that are devoid of any emotion, empathy or sense of national belonging.

Resistance

According to French President François Hollande, who encouraged Israel’s aggression towards Gaza and overturned core democratic freedoms by banning pro-Palestinian solidarity rallies, “It is imperative to make a sincere effort to end the suffering of the people of Gaza immediately.”

Since when did the blood of children and the suffering of their families become important to him? Furthermore, where is Bernard Levy, “the messenger of peace and love”, and why is he silent? Does he not see murdered children’s remains on his television?

What happened for their opinions and stances to be turned upside down? When did hawks become doves of peace? What must happen for the blood of Gaza’s children to be held in high regard and when will calls be made to end their killing by US-made fighter aircraft?

asbbas netanyahu

The fear of such people is that the phenomenon that propels Palestinian resistance will not only be transmitted to the rest of the Arab World and the Middle East but to Europe and America as well. This honourable, and entirely legitimate, resistance is what unites the Islamic world before the Arab world.

The likes of Obama and Hollande cannot brand this resistance as “terrorism” no matter how hard they try, nor can they declare a war against it because it is as legitimate and laudable as the French resistance against the Nazi occupation and the early American resistance against English rule which brought the USA into being.

Yes, we have lost sons and daughters, brothers and sisters in the Gaza Strip and thousands have been wounded, and thousands more have lost their homes; hundreds of thousands have been displaced in the chaos. Yet, the sense of fear that has infected the Israelis as they see their soldiers fall, as they are killed and wounded by soldiers of honour and dignity, makes the sense of loss experienced by the Palestinians more bearable.

Anyone who heard the Palestinian woman who lost seven of her sons and her husband to the Israeli aggression in Gaza; anyone who saw her scream at the top of her lungs that she did not need the Arab countries or their armies to liberate her; anyone who heard these words that I have quoted directly from her interview on an Arab channel, would know that a new standard has been achieved in the rubble of Shujaiyah neighbourhood. They are now the heroes of eastern Gaza City.

However, I fear for the steadfastness of this honourable resistance just as I fear that the lives that were lost in the Gaza Strip will have been lost in vain as a result of Arab mediation. I fear Arab mediators more than I fear foreign intervention, for the blood of the innocent civilians who have been killed means little more to these people than credit in their American-sponsored accounts. I will not say any more than this.

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