Right now, the Israeli military is raining bombs onto people trapped in Gaza. They have already killed almost 3000 people and displaced over a million more. This is just the latest chapter in over a century of colonial violence targeting Palestinians.
We grieve for everyone throughout the region killed, injured, or displaced on October 7 and in the days before and since. But as in any struggle, those who have the most power have the most leverage when it comes to determining what form the conflict will take. We are concerned about the lives of Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere around the world, not despite the deaths of Israelis, but because the only way to make anyone safe in the region will be to bring an end to the oppression of Palestinians.
Corporate media outlets in Europe and North America have spent the past ten days focusing attention on Israeli suffering rather than exploring the series of events that led to this situation. The vast majority of all perspectives on the situation are coming from outside Palestine. It is important to hear directly from Palestinians, who understand better than anyone else how the situation reached this point.
It has been very difficult to communicate with people in Gaza, owing to challenges including Israeli airstrikes targeting communications infrastructure. For now, we present the perspective of a Palestinian living in the north of Palestine, who speaks about different aspects of life under colonization and about the struggle for liberation through grassroots organizing and solidarity.
For more background on the situation, you can read this interview with an anarchist from Jaffa.
A Voice from the Galilee of Palestine
I’m writing you here today from the Galilee of Palestine, a part of Palestine occupied by the Zionist colonial forces during the Nakba [catastrophe] in 1948. I’m writing these words during the month of October 2023, a month that will always be remembered as a turning point for Palestine and the Palestinian struggle. I am writing anonymously, because I’m writing from the belly of the beast, because nowadays Israel’s surveillance and political persecution of Palestinians in the 1948 territory is unprecedented, because the fascism and totalitarianism of the colonial project are escalating daily and every word we express involves taking a risk.
As I’m writing these words, warplanes are crossing the skies above my head. The sound of their engines is filling the neighborhood. They have been crossing the sky for the past ten days, day and night, from sunrise to sunset to sunrise.
All these warplanes are heading to Gaza. As I’m writing these words, a genocide is being committed there. Only two hours away from here, in Gaza, Israel—backed by global colonial imperial powers—is erasing my people from the face of the earth.
Gaza: The Ongoing Nakba and the Somoud
Gaza, our beloved Gaza, Gaza the resistance, Gaza the eternal symbol of human resilience, Gaza the wound, the heartache, Gaza the somoud [steadfastness].
Gaza is located on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, bordered by Israeli settlements to the east and north and by Egypt to the southwest. With a population of over 2.2 million people on just 365 square kilometers, it is among the most densely populated places in the world. 70% of the Palestinians in Gaza are refugees whose families were expelled from nearby towns by the Zionist colonial militias in 1948 during the Nakba.
In 2007, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza by land, air, and sea. Since then, the state of Israel has carried out five major aggressions against Gaza.
The first took place in 2008, after the imposition of the blockade. It lasted 22 days, during which 1385 Palestinians were killed, including 318 children.
The second began in November 2012. It lasted for eight days. 168 Palestinians were killed, including 33 children.
The third began in July 2014 and lasted for 50 days. 2251 Palestinians were killed, including 556 children, and 1500 children were orphaned.
In May 2021, the fourth aggression took place during the uprising of dignity that erupted all over Palestine from the river to the sea. It lasted for eleven days, during which 230 Palestinians were killed, including 67 children. Twelve of those children were participating in a trauma recovery program when they were killed.
Today, a fifth aggression is happening in Gaza, and it is more brutal and catastrophic than anything that came before. Israeli airstrikes have already killed nearly 3000 people and wounded more than 12,000. More than 45 families have been completely erased from the civil registry. Over one million people have been displaced and forced to flee their homes due to the Israeli bombs. Israel has cut off electricity, food, and fuel from Gaza and is bombing residential buildings, schools, mosques, hospitals, and ambulances. Entire neighborhoods have vanished.
People are starting to starve and have nowhere to hide, no way to escape. This is all happening with the clear and shameless support of Western governments, like the United States and the United Kingdom, who hurried to send military support to Israel. This is all happening while Israeli colonial propaganda is all over the international mass media trying to manufacture an anti-Palestinian campaign and frame it as a “war on terror” in order to legitimize mass ethnic cleansing and the ongoing Nakba that has been happening in Palestine for the past 75+ years.
“Who’s a Terrorist?”—The Manufacture of Consent
As we’ve witnessed throughout history, propaganda and the tactic of “manufacturing consent” has always been used by colonial, imperial, and fascist entities to legitimize, maintain, and expand their control. This is also how they legitimize extermination and mass ethnic cleansing.
Manufacturing consent is the state strategy of creating a system in which people come to unquestioningly obey and consent to the principles, ideas, and plans promoted through corporate-sponsored propaganda and the mass media. It has been used to serve the interests of the United States and its allies in invading Afghanistan in 2001, invading Iraq in 2003, and causing wars and atrocities in Syria, Yemen, Libya, and many places around the world, resulting in the loss of millions of innocent lives and so much human suffering.
Today, the mass media is trying to dehumanize us as Palestinian people, to frame us as terrorists, in order to make it easier to justify every atrocity committed by Israel and its allies—both in Gaza specifically and against Palestinians in general.
As Arabs and Palestinians, we know very well what it is like being seen and treated as “terrorists.” But the scale of the anti-Palestinian propaganda campaign that is being manufactured worldwide by states, governments and the mass media right now is unprecedented for us.
During the second intifada, after the events of 9/11 in 2001, the Palestinian hip-hop band “DAM” released the song “Meen Erhabi?”—”Who is the terrorist?” During this period, sentences like “death to the terrorist Arabs” were being shouted by Israeli settlers all over occupied Palestine. I remember listening to this song every day. It shaped my consciousness as a child. Today, 22 years later, the global system is pushing the narrative that “the Palestinian is a terrorist” like never before, and we say again and again: the colonizer is the terrorist, the settler is the terrorist, every government supporting Israel is a terrorist, Israel is the terrorist.
The System versus the People
The situation in Palestine is exposing the cruelty and brutality of the global system, but also, the immense power of the people around the world.
From the side of the global system, we have witnessed so much atrocity and ugliness this past week. The United States sent the “Gerald R. Ford”—the biggest warship ever built—and the UK deployed their royal navy ships to support Israel in the genocide it is committing.
French police are beating protestors who show support for Palestine. French officials are demanding the deportation of immigrants who participated in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in France. In Germany, police are arresting and beating people just for holding the Palestinian flag. These colonial entities and fascist governments are once again revealing their real faces. As Palestinians, we’ve always known that the global system is against us, it is something we understand from a very young age. We expect nothing from colonial entities. We have no trust in governments or the global powers. Our trust is in the people and the power of the people only.
Despite all these atrocities, we are also witnessing the voice of liberation and justice resonating in the streets across the planet, we are witnessing the power of the people. The people know the truth, and there’s no suppressing this knowledge.
We’ve seen thousands marching for the liberation of Palestine in the streets of London and Paris even after protests for Palestine were banned.
We’ve seen the streets of Lisbon and Porto filled with rage, love, and solidarity. We’ve seen the tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters rallying for Palestine in Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Morocco.
Today, every effort to bring the truth into the light matters. Every Palestinian flag raised matters. Every expression of solidarity matters. Every effort of organizing for Palestine matters. Every “from the river to the sea” matters.
Yes, these days are painful beyond comprehension but we know today more than ever, that liberation is inevitable.
It’s only a matter of time. Palestine will be free.