In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 7, the Palestinian resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented surprise multi-prong attack on Israel, including firing a barrage of rockets toward Israeli territory while simultaneously carrying out a ground offensive into nearby Israeli towns which breached the Israeli Gaza barrier and overwhelmed surrounding Israeli military posts. As of 12:30 local time, it was reported that thousands of rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel and that Israeli air forces had targeted multiple areas across the Gaza Strip with airstrikes. Medical authorities in Gaza report that over 190 Palestinians had been killed and over 1,600 were injured so far.
The occupied Palestinian territories have undergone a series of significant changes since last year, with the most notable being the escalation of resistance operations in the occupied West Bank. This development has transformed the territory into a frontline between Palestinian resistance and the Israeli occupation state, reminiscent of the atmosphere during the Second Intifada over two decades ago. That the occupation army has reactivated its assassination policy through targeted air strikes against resistance figures has solidified this line of argument.
There is a story about the Roman Emperor Nero, according to which he set Rome on fire just so that he could see the flames. The story may or may not be true, but when Palestine is in flames, history will remember who lit the match. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime minister of Israel, will be remembered as the reckless politician who gave Itamar Ben-Gvir the green light to set a fire that will consume Palestine and cause death and destruction, the scale of which has never been seen before.
“It is very hard that my son is far away and separated from me. I feel it is an injustice, and nothing is harder than for a mother to feel that her son is oppressed.” These were the words of Umm Haitham Ali, the mother of a convicted 27-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from Akka who has been incarcerated for a year and a half, and whose life has been overshadowed by turbulent events that unfolded in the city in May 2021. During that month, Akka (known in Hebrew as “Akko” and in English as “Acre”) like other localities, was consumed by a Palestinian uprising that spread between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and which was met with a large-scale campaign of Israeli repression. In so-called “mixed cities” like Akka — historically Palestinian centers that acquired large Jewish populations through forced expulsion and gentrification since the Nakba of 1948 — protesters took to the streets to demonstrate, while gangs and mobs vandalized property and attacked residents of other national groups.
The Palestinian revolt of 2021 will go down in history as one of the most influential events in irreversibly changing the collective thinking in and around Palestine. Only two other events can be compared with what has just transpired in Palestine: The revolt of 1936 and the first intifada that began in 1987.The general strike and rebellion of 1936 to 1939 were momentous because they represented the first unmistakable expression of collective Palestinian political agency. Despite their isolation and humble tools of resistance, the Palestinian people rose up across the country to challenge both British and Zionist colonialism. The intifada of 1987 was also historic. It was the unprecedented collective action that unified the West Bank and Gaza in response to the Israeli occupation of what remained of historic Palestine in 1967.