The deeply buried roots of resistance
Would they have attacked them had they been of a different ethno-religious background but were still occupiers? Most certainly yes. These young men had no other motive to do what they did but they were Palestinian and that one word decided their fate.
The Palestinian village of Al Muzayri’a was located about 15 kilometers from Ramla. The attraction was probably rich agricultural land close to a large market town with access to most of the facilities the villagers might need. Roman and Byzantine ruins were the evidence of the site’s settled history before the long Muslim period of rule began in the 7th century. Muslim rule was characterised by leaving things as they were as long as the caliph’s or sultan’s subjects, Muslim, Christian or Jewish, paid taxes and obeyed the law. The comparison with the genocide and cultural destruction that followed European conquests is striking. Generally, Christians and Jews flourished under Muslim rule with not even a remote parallel, in the case of the latter, with the murderous anti-semitism that has characterised European history since the adoption of Christianity. Needless to say, as Europeans, the zionist settler-colonists of Palestine used the same murderous tactics against the indigenous people.
In the 18th century, the Al Rumayh family from the Ramallah district moved to Al Muzayri’a. At the time it was a small village. Even by 1870 it only had 68 houses and a recorded population of 234 males, although with women and children the entire population must have been considerably larger. The census of 1922 showed a wholly Muslim population of 578, the census of 1931, 780, living in 186 houses. In 1919 a school for boys had been opened, with a school for girls following some time later.
In 1945, British records indicate, Al Muzayri’a had a population of 1160, most of whose food needs were met by the produce of its 10,822 dunums of land, including bananas, citrus fruit, and cereal crops. By 1948 the village had a population of 1346 living in 320 houses. Post-1945, Zionist land acquisition, and settlement had resulted in the loss of 1450 dunums of land but the other 9042 remained the individual or collective property of Al Muzayri’a. The village was included in the territory allotted to the ‘Arab state’ in the UN’s 1947 partition plan. It violated the principle of self-determination and would never have passed but for White House threats to vulnerable African, Latin American, and even European governments.
In any case, partition was never more than a propaganda tool for the zionists. They had no intention of abiding by it. Had Palestine been partitioned peacefully, even the ‘Jewish state’ would have had a population that was almost 50 percent non-Jewish against an ‘Arab state’ that was 100 per cent Palestinian. The ‘Jewish state’ would have been a contradiction in terms and could only have been sustained by apartheid. The expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 did not solve this fundamental zionist dilemma, as there are now at least as many Palestinians between the river and the sea as there are zionist colonists. The zionists are back to where they were in 1948, except that the apartheid state has come into being and is recognised around the world for what it is.
The zionist "declaration of independence" of May 14, 1948, was followed by a series of military operations aimed at seizing as much territory as possible irrespective of whether it had been allocated to the ‘Arab’ or the ‘Jewish’ state. Operation Dani, launched on July 9, was largely directed against Ramla and Lydd, but first surrounding villages had to be ‘cleared.’ On July 12, Al Muzayri’a was stormed by zionist forces and its entire population was driven out. In The Edge of the Sword, zionist ‘historian’ Netanel Lorch writes that mortar fire and aerial bombardment were alone sufficient on the first day of the operation to cause the ‘’flight’’ from many villages but those who did not flee were driven out anyway. Throughout 1948 hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets were to share Al Musayri’a’s fate. The peak of Operation Dani was the ethnic cleansing of Lydd and Ramla, affected through terror, intimidation, and war crimes, including the massacre of 80-100 people taking shelter in the central Dahmash mosque.
In 1949 two zionist settlements, Nahalim and Mazor, were built on Al Muzayri’a’s land. Even by that time, only stone ruins were left of the village. In the 1990s the town of ‘Elad’ (‘’forever God’’) was built on the site and on May 5, 2022, as the zionists celebrated their ‘independence,’ two young Palestinians killed three people in a park.
Since March 22, 19 people have been killed in this latest Palestinian ‘’wave of terror’’ as it was inevitably described in the zionist media. Israel has responded with threats to resume the murder of senior Hamas figures, along with hundreds of arrests and raids on the West Bank during which many Palestinians have been killed. By May 9, 50 Palestinians had been killed so far in 2022, 49 on the West Bank or in the eastern part of occupied al-Quds and one in Gaza. The dead included two men in their 80s, two women aged 24 and 47, four boys aged 13,14, 16, and 17, four young men of 18, and two aged 19.
On May 11, Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, born in Al Quds, was murdered while covering Palestinian resistance in Jenin. The zionist army chief’s claim that she could have been killed by Palestinian gunmen was described by other journalists on the scene as a complete lie. There were no militants anywhere near them. Shireen’s producer, Ali Samoudi, who was wounded, said zionist soldiers close to the journalists had fired three shots at them. The first missed, the second wounded him in the back and the third hit Shireen in the head. Another journalist reaching out to help her said the soldiers did not stop firing even though she was on the ground and mortally wounded.
In the hunt for the ‘Elad’ assailants, zionist forces also rounded up many West Bank Palestinians described as being in "Israel" ‘’illegally.’’ Such a concept is derisory where the zionist settler state is concerned. It has lived outside any laws except its own for more than 70 years. Its justice system is actually an injustice system, insofar as the Palestinians are concerned. Real justice stands on the side of all Palestinians, pre-1967, and post-1967 as well as Palestinians living far from their homeland.
The other issue here is resistance. The right of resistance to occupation is upheld under international law: there is no ‘right’ of occupation, only responsibility as a temporary consequence of war, with the occupier prohibited from settling civilians in occupied territory. It is not just the West and Gaza Strip that are ‘’occupied territories”. This is a fiction that suits the governments that gave Palestine to the zionists in the first place. The tactics used by the zionists in 1948 and 1967 were the same and have been used ever since. ‘Israel’ lives off rights it never had and could never have been bestowed upon it by a third party. Morally, ethically and legally, no right to live can be based on the destruction of another right to live. In such cases, brute force always dictates the outcome.
Peace with justice is the preferred option of any reasonable person. but zionism is not a reasonable doctrine. Despite their suffering at the hands of the zionists, the majority of Palestinians went along with the 1990 Oslo agreements in good faith, only to realise within a few years that the negotiations were being deliberately stretched out by the zionists to consolidate their occupation: in other words, the continuation of war by other means. The duplicity of the previous four decades was simply being dressed up in new clothing. It was at this point that the Palestinians returned to armed resistance in the form of the second intifada (in fact arguably the third, if the 1936 uprising is to be regarded as the first).
Throughout history how the Palestinians have reacted since 1918 is normal in the lives of an occupied people. Occupation is followed by resistance as naturally as night follows day. The occupier is not just the soldier or the military administrator but the occupier’s civilian population. The occupation turns them into targets as well and who is ultimately responsible if not the government that settled them on someone else’s land? Armed struggle is included in the internationally acknowledged right to resist occupation. The position was summed up on December 3, 1982, when the UN General Assembly passed resolution 37/43 reaffirming ‘’the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means including armed struggle.’’
Why did the two young Palestinians end the lives of three other human beings in ‘Elad,’ and why in the past few months have other Palestinians launched attacks on the settler population in Bir Saba, Al Quds, and other places? One mind cannot work out the tangled emotions in another mind but did Palestinians attack these settlers just because they were Jews, as the zionist media always claims, or because they were seen as the occupiers of Palestinian land who happen to be Jewish?
Would they have attacked them had they been of a different ethno-religious background but were still occupiers? Most certainly yes. These young men had no other motive to do what they did but they were Palestinian and that one word decided their fate. They would have had the same normal interests, hopes, and aspirations of other young people around the world but the normality of their lives was occupation. Their capacity to do what they did was fuelled by the decades of death and pain suffered by every Palestinian family at the hands of the occupier. Al Muzayria and hundreds of other ethnically cleansed villages in 1948; ‘Elad’, Bir Saba, and other places where settlers who have replaced the original inhabitants have been struck down in 2022; cause and effect.