The attack on Israel by the armed forces of the Palestinian people is an action which has been provoked by seventeen years of Gaza being under siege by the Israeli armed forces. This follows the dispossession and humiliation that the Palestinian people have had to endure for over 75 years since the Israeli state forced hundreds of thousands from their ancestral lands in the brutal act of ethnic cleansing known as “the Nakba”. Gaza has been turned into a prison for over two million Palestinians since 2006 when the US and British government rejected the result of elections held there which saw Hamas become the largest party. Following this the US and Britain backed the Israelis in imposing a state of siege on Gaza in order that the Palestinians should suffer collective punishment for daring to vote the “wrong way”. This siege has continued up to this day. Israel controls access to Gaza and even has the ability to completely cut off the electricity, as Netanyahu has just done yet again. Gaza has been bombed repeatedly by the Israelis, sometimes intensively such as in 2014 and sometimes for a day or a few hours but the threat of violent death always hangs over the heads of the Palestinian population.
Faced with imprisonment, terror and routine humiliation the Palestinian population has been left with no choice but to resist. There are those in Britain and the US who claim that this should only be done via peaceful methods. These critics ignore the fact that the Palestinians have tried this method repeatedly over the years and have always been met with brute violence by the Israeli government. Most recently this was tried in 2018 – 2019 where Palestinians marched peacefully up to the border fence surrounding Gaza. The response of the Israelis was to kill two hundred and twenty three of those who tried the peaceful protest route so routinely suggested by western liberals.
Any worker in this country knows very well the petty humiliations that can be inflicted by employers, by the police and by the government’s bureaucracy. Now imagine all those frustrations magnified by about one thousand times combined with the constant fear of violent death and you can start to imagine how life for the Palestinians really is. Being unable to exercise full control over our workplaces and communities is an issue for all of us but not even having a country to call your own is an even bigger problem. Seeing the land that your ancestors lived on for hundreds of years be stolen and then being shot down when you try to protest, being seen as less than human by Israel and its supporters in London and Washington would be enough to make any of us rebel. This is what we must all bear in mind when being asked to “condemn” the armed uprising of the Palestinians. What would we do if we had to face 75 years of such treatment? For most of us it would mean having no choice but to fight back.