A diary of three Palestinians during Seif Al-Quds
Three Palestinians between Palestine and Lebanon recount their everyday memories, thoughts, fears, and pride during the Seif Al-Quds, hailing the Resistance and urging it to pursue its battle against the occupation until liberation.
"Israel's" 11-day aggression on the long-blockaded Gaza Strip last May left more than 250 Palestinians martyred and hundreds of others injured.
The Israeli war was met with Seif Al-Quds Battle, where the Palestinian Resistance successfully launched over 4,000 rockets on Israeli targets, in response to the occupation's atrocities.
During this battle, the Resistance in Gaza responded to the continuous Israeli aggression on the people of Al-Quds and the desecration of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The following testimonies are from three Palestinians; one from the 1948 occupied territories, another from the Gaza Strip, and one from the diaspora. Their full identities have been hidden for security reasons and to prevent any Israeli retaliatory measures.
The three recall their experience during the Israeli aggression on Gaza in May 2021.
Lamees; a resident of the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories
Demonstrations erupted inside the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories in early May, rejecting the Israeli occupation’s practices against Palestinians, such as forced displacement and the spread of gun gangs and murders. The people also took to the streets for the sake of Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood in occupied Al-Quds, which has always been a meeting point of the Palestinian people.
Then the battle of Seif Al-Quds was launched in response to the Israeli aggression. Following the war on Gaza, more confrontations took place. the war on Gaza. The youths of Al-Lydd threw the Israeli flag at the main entrance of the city away and raised the Palestinian flag high in its place on the evening of May 10. It was a scene that we would have described as imaginary before Seif Al-Quds.
"Israel began now its attack on #Gaza."— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 10, 2022
On this day in 2021, the Israeli occupation began its 11 days of aggression on the Gaza strip after days of committing mass assaults and arrests in occupied #AlQuds, #Palestine. pic.twitter.com/jQHDTR10Az
Al-Lydd now has a special place in the hearts of the Palestinians due to its people's utmost valor during the battle of Seif Al-Quds. Another scene that the Palestinian generations will always remember is that of Israeli settlers fleeing the city. It was a mass escape, albeit, for a day, yet it gave us a huge hope that nothing is impossible.
The scene of burning Israeli police vehicles became a normal scene from the upper Al-Jalil to the Naqab desert. When the occupied cities and towns were bombed in response to the occupation’s attacks, the Palestinians of the 1948 occupied territories came out cheering and hailing the leaders of the Resistance in Gaza.
In the streets, Palestinian flags, normally "outlawed" in "Israel", were raised, traffic lights were burned, Hebrew writings were removed from signs indicating the names of cities, towns, and junctions, and "Al-Quds - Palestine" was sprayed instead.
Palestinian murals were painted and Israeli police stations were burned. These scenes represented sovereignty over the place, which we never attained or felt.
Moussa Hassouna and Mohammad Kiwan were martyred and thousands were arrested, some of which are still detained to this day, especially in the city of Akka, which also played an important role in the uprisings. The Israeli occupier found itself in need of sending massive reinforcements to aid its aggressive forces.
Communication networks were disrupted for the first time, with the aim of hindering transmitting the ongoing scenes to the world, as the demonstrations were met with live bullets and random rubber bullets, knowing that sound and gas bombs became a daily routine.
For the first time since 2014, explosions with such intensity were heard in the occupied territories, and rockets were seen in the entire sky over central Palestine.
We felt that the Resistance had our backs, avenging our spilled blood in Al-Lydd, Nablus, Al-Quds, and Gaza. For us, Gaza is not just a city where we sympathize with its people, like a white stranger agonized by the hunger of a child in Somalia.
The war on Gaza is a war against us, and in every Israeli war on the Strip, the Palestinians of the 1948-occupied territories of all ages rush to demonstrate and confront the IOF. Last May, all of Palestine was united against the practices of our occupiers.
A year has passed since the Israeli aggression on #Gaza.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 10, 2022
Pictures show #Palestinian kids rescuing their little toys to play with while sitting on top of their destroyed houses, and other kids mourning the death of some family member. #Palestine pic.twitter.com/IddB647nVB
Heba; a resident of Gaza Strip
Whenever I open Facebook, I go to the memories feature that shows what I was doing in the previous years. But the past week has been hectic because every time I open the social media application, all those memories from last year come flashing back. It's just miserable. I tried not to read them, but I couldn't stifle the memories.
Yesterday was the 1st death anniversary of a friend's father. He was killed when "Israel" launched an attack that buried him and his family, including my friend, under the rubble. He [friend's father] passed away, while the rest were rushed to the hospital where they stayed in intensive care units for quite some time. Remembering this makes me so angry although this is only one of the many stories that happened.
Entire families were wiped out of the civil register, and literally, nothing was done about it. This is just one tiny example of how bad the situation was back in May 2021.
Thinking about it now, the only thing that confuses me is, how did my family and I physically survive? How did most of my friends survive?
One year ago, death was everywhere, lurking on the sides of houses waiting to swoop down at any second and just take it all. Death doesn't scare me anymore. It's a normal thing that occurs to anyone and everyone, but when bombs were being dropped randomly everywhere targeting every neighborhood in Gaza, sparing no one, death was terrifying. Even more so, the death of the people around me scared me even more than my own death. That's basically the case with pretty much everyone in Gaza.
On this day last year, "Israel" targeted a 10+ storey tower in #Gaza hosting the offices of several international media outlets during its 11-day aggression on the Strip. #Palestine pic.twitter.com/omMG5NLV5L— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 15, 2022
But what can be done? The only way we can fight back is to pray and hope that the Resistance does not fail. It's quite a funny thing though; our resistance's resources can't even compare to the IOF's. It's basically an elephant standing next to an ant, but that still doesn't stop western media from portraying Palestinians fighting back as "terrorists" and "sadistic murderers".
And here lies their hypocrisy, because when Ukrainians were fighting back with guns and homemade bombs, they weren't terrorists, they were hailed as heroes, as soldiers by circumstances. This is the case because simply, they were Europeans, even though before the entire thing escalated, most Americans didn't even know Ukraine was an actual country.
According to the West, white people, or as they call them "civilized people", being killed, outweighed the murders of Palestinians, the not-so-civilized ones.
Even though media was a web of lies, social media did a huge part in raising awareness about the situation in both Gaza and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Muna and Mohammad Al-Kurd were the highlight because they fought back in their own way; they exposed "Israel" and its illegally-built settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
That was enough, at least for me, because after that, "Israel" could not hide behind the influence of western media.
During "Israel's" war on #Gaza last year, activists were outraged by #Google for linking the Koufiyeh to terrorism, which exposed the company's complicity with the Israeli occupation. pic.twitter.com/T8iHir862p— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 12, 2022
Laith, 25; a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon
We remember that dark day vividly, even being in the diaspora, but just seeing the horrible events unfolding in Gaza made our hearts ache that our beloved people had to go through this.
I remember staying up all night trying to get the latest updates because I was worried; so worried about the people's suffering and living under nonstop shelling. We were scared and living in fear of what was happening because it was so unfair.
In addition to the occupation of their land, #Palestinian people in #Gaza were subjected to 4 brutal aggressions in just 13 years by the Israeli occupation, leaving thousands dead and many more traumatized.#Palestine #SeifAlQuds pic.twitter.com/G4sGO3Ju2G— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 11, 2022
Our message to the Resistance is to never give up, never stop fighting for what is just, and never stop defending the oppressed. We have a cause, and that cause shall never be forgotten or silenced because it is who we are. Resistance and resilience run in our blood.
Of course, I am always angry at the double standards and utmost discrimination against our people, not just from western media outlets, but surprisingly from some Arab ones as well.
Some of the Arabs have totally forgotten our cause and believe in the so-called "new state" and establishing political and economic ties with the occupation.
The propaganda has become so intense and manipulated that we feel we have become bad people. We feel and sympathize with the oppressed people around the world, but just like them, Palestinians, Syrians, and others are also facing the same things and even worse.
We are all people, so why shall some be treated better than others just because they come from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and religions?
I don't see anything has changed other than the fact that our people keep on dying and are still being oppressed. Change can come when everyone sees the real problem.