A vicious cycle of destruction

By Nadia Harhash

This marks my third article in recent weeks, its publication uncertain. In the unshared pieces, I delved into the complexities of the conflict, attempting to navigate the maelstrom without the shield of outright critique. The initial exploration sought to comprehend the Israeli predicament, while the subsequent piece positioned me as an unconventional observer caught in the raging turmoil of war, seemingly detached from the nuances and disinclined to revel in victory.

At the war’s onset, I boldly advocated for a ceasefire in exchange for the release of civilian hostages, echoing Dr. Salam Fayyad‘s call for Palestinian unity through the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). However, reactions varied between misunderstanding and a failure to distinguish between the PLO and the Palestinian Authority.

Today, after enduring fifty (now 63) days of devastation and a one-week ceasefire, we face the aftermath. Gaza lies in ruins, casualties surpass expectations, and over half of the population is displaced. The occupation expands, encroaching on a quarter of Gaza, subjecting residents to relentless pressure and besiegement.

As the ceasefire concluded, releasing prisoners, including women and children, their captivity had become an unsettling norm within Israel’s system of deterrence, fortification, and fascism. Civilians, unintentionally ensnared in the conflict, were set free.

A moment of reflection is imperative. The act of detaining children and elderly women perplexes me, as I fail to grasp the rationale behind such actions. It is inconceivable to justify civilian abductions by attributing them to actions of the populace. Abducting civilians is not an error but a calamity, demanding ethical and principled responses, untainted by the brutality of the occupying force.

Examining the aftermath of the abductees, one is led to believe that there exists a semblance of security for some in Gaza. Why, then, has Hamas not extended this security to the broader population? Critical examination of recent weeks reveals substantial room for review. Assumptions regarding Israel’s concern for its civilians were proven erroneous. Conversely, Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of civilian sites was equally misguided, assuming that Hamas would prioritize the well-being of its citizens.

The anticipated victory should not come at the cost of sacrificing the lives of Gaza’s residents, mirroring the liberation of Algeria from French colonization. What have we gained amidst this catastrophe? Has global public opinion shifted its sympathy from Israel to the Palestinian cause? The evolving public sentiment is complex, requiring nuanced consideration. While there may be a shift in sympathy, it is essential to recognize that public opinion aligns with the perceived victim on their screens. This shift was anticipated, given Israel’s ruthless military apparatus that views every Palestinian as a target.

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The AI system (the Gospel), employed by Israel during the war, exponentially multiplied the impact of destruction on ordinary lives. In fifty (60) days, Israel managed to claim over twenty thousand lives, including the missing—a staggering 1% of Gaza’s population. The implications of such a catastrophe are profound. The prospect of one in every hundred Palestinians in Gaza being killed necessitates reflection on the systematic eradication of peoples throughout history.

What does the future hold, and what will be the outcome of additional sacrifices? Is it a victory for the homeland at the expense of the remaining citizens? The act of sacrificing more Palestinians begs the question of who stands to benefit. While those lost will undoubtedly find solace with the Creator, the occupation persists, gaining a modicum of land at the cost of human lives. What is a homeland without its citizens? What is life without those we hold dear?

The scenes of hostage releases, oscillating between spectacle and a testament to the fact that hostages were guests, not captives, evoked a profound sense of sorrow and pain. The stark contrast between the evident strength and safety of the released hostages and their hosts could not divert attention from the harsh realities of hunger, destitution, and pain in Gaza. There is, indeed, a semblance of security for some in Gaza, even for hostages. Yet, this security remains elusive for the isolated populace in Gaza, where the heavens, once a source of mercy, now offer no respite amidst impending winter.

How do we extricate ourselves from this lethal and destructive abyss? Two months into this destructive war, it is evident that Hamas has emerged politically triumphant, or at least gained massive popularity. The relentless oppression has failed to produce collaborators and submission, instead fostering resistance and unwavering determination. America has descended from its perch, leaving Israel hanging on the tree. The American stance suggests that a resolution lies in an internal Palestinian solution, while Israel continues to brandish the flag of ridding itself of Hamas through perpetual bloodshed and destruction.

The Israeli narrative may depict a relentless pursuit of destruction and death, with no conclusive eradication of Hamas in sight. However, the underlying truth for Israel is the achievement of its goals through the continuous killing of Palestinians and the destruction of everything. Nevertheless, a political solution remains inevitable.

What, then, is the conceivable solution? Neither with nor without Hamas. No rational or irrational actor can fathom Gaza being carried on an Israeli tank. Is there a plausible international solution or an imaginable Arab initiative?

Regardless of attempts to craft scenarios, the more we delve into them, the more elusive the prospects become. The solution cannot materialize without comprehensive Palestinian unity—an unthinkable scenario for Palestinians at present. It seems as though we have become acclimated to the status quo. However, if there is a singular solution, irrespective of the intentions of all parties, it necessitates a Palestinian solution that transcends the factions. The Palestinian solution cannot hinge on Gaza for Hamas and the West Bank for Fateh. A resolution without Palestinian unity is unattainable, as factionalism and exclusion will only breed weakness and destruction.

Repeatedly, it becomes apparent that a resolution eludes us without achieving Palestinian unity. The intricacies of the situation suggest that the Palestinian solution cannot materialize with Gaza for Hamas and the West Bank for Fatah. It rests upon Hamas and Fatah to bridge internal divisions for the collective national interest. The current scenario, characterized by factionalism and exclusion, only serves to breed weakness and destruction. This acknowledgment underscores the complex path forward, one that necessitates unity and collaboration among the Palestinian factions.

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