Seif Al-Quds: The battle which ushered in a new era of Palestinian armed struggle
The battle fought between the unified Palestinian resistance factions and "Israel" completely changed the trajectory of the region's conflict with the Zionist regime.
Although for many, the Seif al-Quds (Sword of Jerusalem) battle, last May, represented significant suffering and loss of Palestinian life, the war fought between the unified Palestinian resistance factions and "Israel", completely changed the trajectory of the region's conflict with the Zionist regime.
Lasting between May 10 and May 21, dubbed the “11-day war”, Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip combined their strength with that of the entire Palestinian population inside occupied territories. After consistent Israeli incursions into al-Aqsa mosque last Ramadan, the spokesperson for the al-Qassam brigades [armed wing of Hamas], Abu Ubaydah, gave Israeli occupation forces a 6 PM deadline to withdraw from Al-Aqsa Mosque and stop a far-Right settler march. On the deadline, a barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza, into Israeli settlements surrounding Jerusalem. It was then that "Israel" officially announced it was going to war with Gaza.
Around 270 Palestinians were killed across the occupied territories by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, however, the story of human suffering during the war was not the only significant element. Unlike had been the case in 2014, 2008-9, and even in 2012, all years when the Israeli occupation forces launched military operations against the Gaza Strip, no significant win could be taken from the side of the Palestinian resistance. With the exception of the 2012 war, the other battles between Gaza’s armed groups and "Israel" had resulted in the weakening of the position of the Palestinian armed struggle. During Seif Al-Quds, things were quite the opposite, for the first time, it was a real strategic victory on the part of a unified front of armed factions, making up what has become known as the ‘Joint Room’ of resistance factions.
"Israel" was forced into political and military disarray, as the victory of Seif Al-Quds only further led to the downfall of former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, ushering in a new Israeli ruling coalition. "Israel"’s military strategy of attempting to draw the resistance forces into the attack tunnel systems, in order to bombard them and kill hundreds, failed tremendously and completely took the Israeli military by surprise. The Gazan forces had somehow figured out, most likely through intelligence gathering methods, what "Israel" had been planning - a fake invasion announcement - preemptively preparing themselves for such an Israeli attack. Hamas even dictated to the Israelis in "Tel Aviv" when they could come out of their bomb shelters, telling them that they would stop their rocket attacks for 2 hours on one given night. The sight of Israelis listening to the guidelines set to them by Hamas and the other armed factions, made "Israel’s" air defense systems and military strategy seem weak, proving the Zionist forces useless at defending their own population.
Furthermore, the tactics used by the armed groups, such as; slowly revealing new weapons technology, striking everywhere inside the 1948 territories, putting Israeli airports on temporary lockdown and controlling the course of the battle, all showed the entire region the weaknesses of "Tel Aviv". If little besieged Gaza could foil "Israel’s" military strategies that they had worked on for years, not lose their military capabilities, force "Israel" to accept a non-conditional ceasefire, imagine what a force like Lebanese Hezbollah, or the Syrian Arab Army, would do to them? This was the question in the minds of world leaders at the time. To conclude the battle of Seif Al-Quds, "Israel" did not fire the final shot by midnight when the ceasefire kicked in, it was Hamas that had the last say.
Seif al-Quds proved for the Palestinians, as well as regional allies of the camp of resistance to "Israel", that the armed struggle was the only way forward. The Palestinian Authority (PA), based in Ramallah, chooses the path of “security coordination” and refuses to resist "Israel" with violence and has failed to achieve a so-called “two-State solution”. The PA, of President Mahmoud Abbas, has little legitimacy left in the eyes of Palestinians and has no negotiating chips to bring to the table of any talks with the Israeli side, on top of this, no Israeli ruling coalition will have anything to do with the PA and talks of “two-States”. Now, the answer, following the era of Oslo, which really died with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, is again the armed struggle and this is clearly what we see, as the rising belief, all throughout occupied Palestine.
A regional coalition, to fight for al-Aqsa Mosque, is now developing in its coordination and capabilities, included in which will be; Hezbollah, Ansarallah, groups from within the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and the Palestinian armed factions. The head of the Hamas movement in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, has vowed that the war for Jerusalem will begin after Ramadan and that the armed factions in Gaza will be on high alert to thwart Israeli plots against the Palestinian people and Jerusalem’s Holy Sites.
The battle of May 2021 represents the opening of a new chapter in the conflict with "Israel", forcing the entire region and beyond to pay attention. Having said this, the questions to now be answered are; How will a regional coalition launch a successful military campaign against "Israel"? When will the Israeli ruling coalition collapse and how will the resistance deal with this? When will the PA change hands from its current rulers or collapse? And, when will the international community begin to start approaching Hamas as a representative of the Palestinian movement and people? The answers to these questions will be determining factors to how the Palestinian cause will once again emerge as a top priority on the regional and international stage.