The Palestinian Resistance is beyond sectarian disintegration
Christians are an integral part of Palestine, the region’s social fabric and the Arab world’s identity as a whole. Despite the Collective and Historic-West’s active attempt to isolate and contain the Christian role in the struggle for national liberation through the resettlement of Arab and Palestinian Christians in exile, it remains that the formation of the Arab national identity, through the entirety of its social fabric, is rooted in their unified historical and cultural background and identity.
There is a direct correlation between the extent to which people value their lives and their willingness to defend the Arab identity of Palestine, which is integral to the Arab social fabric of the entire region. This correlation between Arabs and their land has manifested as Resistance movements across the Arab world. More specifically, it became visible in liberation movements seeking to liberate Palestine from the settler colonial entity of “Israel” as a primary front for Arab liberation from Western hegemony. This is to say that “Israel” is merely an agent of hegemony seeking to ensure the continuous security and sustainability of the Western project of the New Middle East as it was initially developed through the enforcement of the Balfour Declaration and Sykes-Picot agreement.
As Palestinians and Arabs sacrifice their lives for liberation, the narrative of Christians, be it in Palestine or across the Arab world, is being purposefully obliterated. Having systematically fragmented the Christian voice of Palestinians and the surrounding Sykes-Picot-generated entities through settler colonialism and fragmentation practices, it has become necessary to dissect the Western-led Israeli narrative, despite all Western efforts to obstruct that process, and highlight the engagement of the Christian segment in liberation movements, be it armed resistance or otherwise, across the Arab world.
Christians are an integral part of the region’s social fabric and of the Arab world’s identity as a whole. Despite the Collective and Historic West’s active attempt to isolate and contain the Christian segment’s role in the struggle for national liberation through the resettlement of Arab and Palestinian Christians in exile, it remains that the formation of the Arab national identity, through the entirety of its social fabric ―Christians, Muslims, Druze, Jews, and all minority groups and confessions― is rooted in their unified historical and cultural background and identity.
"Israel" isolates Christians from Palestine and the cause
The Palestinian people, both Muslim and Christian alike, believe that the land upon which people walk, in Palestine, and Al-Quds more specifically, is sacred. The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia, Atallah Hanna, has consecrated on several occasions the relationship between the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. He reaffirmed the Arab identity of Al-Quds, that of both its land and people, as an integral part of the larger Arab world in the face of the settler colonial entity that is considered the primary threat in the path toward Arab liberation.
Since the 1948 Nakba of Palestine, the Haganah massacres that led to it, in addition to the establishment of the Israeli settler colonial entity, there has been an active and continuous attempt by the Israelis to alter the identity of Palestine. They sought to eliminate its Arab historic and cultural features in the hopes of putting an end to the righteous Arab Palestinian cause and thus legitimizing their settler existence, as well as the sustainability of the non-nations of Sykes-Picot. The Zionist entity, in other words, looked to install the foreverness of a fragmented Arab national identity.
In this regard, Christian Palestinians did not stand idle, nor did they ever abandon the Palestinian struggle, nor their Arab identity, neither at home nor in exile. Archbishop Hanna reaffirmed that the settler colonial entity threatened the Arab social fabric, history, and national identity, and noted that it cannot “remove Al-Quds from the Palestinian conscience, be it that of Christians or Muslims.”
He further called on Palestinian Christians everywhere “not to forget their church,” adding that Palestine “is their spiritual roots and their national roots, they belong here, and their identity is rooted in this region’s history. They must never forget their Palestinian heritage.”
Brothers in Arms
On October 23, 2022, the Israeli occupation assassinated Tamer Al-Kilani, a Palestinian Resistance fighter from the Lions' Den group in the West Bank’s Nablus, via a TNT device planted on a motorcycle next to his.
This marks the latest of the ever-ongoing assassination policy of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) against Palestinian Resistance leaders. However, since the beginning of 2022, the IOF has intensified its assassinations and has even used drones and TNT devices to conduct them.
While many Christian resistance fighters became renowned in the earlier stages of the Palestinian struggle, such as Ghassan Kanafani and Georges Habash, since the Second Intifada, there became a generation of Arabs - both Christian and Muslim - that have questioned the role of Christians in Palestinian liberation movements.
In 2006, shortly after the end of the Second Intifada, there was a general decision between Palestinian Resistance groups and the Palestinian Authority to de-escalate. During that time, two young men were assassinated for insisting on carrying the legacy of those that were martyred before them.
Martyr Daniel Abu Hamama, in his early 20s at the time, was assassinated alongside martyr Ahmed Musleh who was around the same age, on Easter Sunday after they were driven into an ambush. In 1990, Abu Hamama joined the Palestinian Authority’s special forces apparatus, seeking a job to support his family. As the confrontations intensified prior to the start of the Second Intifada, Abu Hamama joined the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah.
The IOF's bullets obstructed Abu Hamama's path to Beit Lahm in the West Bank, preventing him from attending the Easter celebration with his family and loved ones.
That evening, the IOF bullets turned Daniel's holiday delight into a reminder that the way of the Cross ends in resurrection and is the only way to salvation.
His blood quenched the soil that Christians consider the birthplace of Christianity. The assassination targeted the car Abu Hamama was in with his two friends, Martyr Ahmed Musleh and Arafat Abu Shaira, who was injured during the attempt.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to Al-Quds News, "When Daniel fell from the vehicle, bleeding, the occupation soldiers attacked, dragging him to the ground to a warehouse 15 meters away from the vehicle, taking off his clothes," pointing out that "people in the neighboring area then heard the sound of gunfire inside, which made them believe there's an interrogation. Then, an execution had taken place before an IOF ambulance came and held his body for two days."
مقاتلون فلسطينيون يودعون رفيقهم المقاتل الشهيد دانيال أبو حمامة على أبواب كنيسة المهد في بيت لحم قبل إدخال الجثمان للصلاة عليه في الكنيسة - أبريل 2006.— صور فلسطين (@PalestinianPic) November 9, 2021
📷 موسى الشاعر pic.twitter.com/SAnmX44RWl
His mother’s words ring notably: “Praise be to God, who honored our son by allowing him martyrdom in defense of the dear homeland,” noting that Abu Hamama has “always wished to be martyred.”
A School of Liberation Theology
Abu Hamama would not have been the first or last Christian to join Fatah. Long before him, the protector of Al-Quds and exiled freedom fighter Archbishop Hilarion Cappucci had assisted Fatah for years before he was arrested and then exiled.
Cappucci was known for having been both a clergyman and a freedom fighter, a boy from Syria’s Aleppo that refused to watch Palestine suffer. When Al-Aqsa Mosque called for help, he ordered for the bells of the Church of the Sepulcher to be tolled. In his approach toward the Palestinian struggle, Cappucci left behind him a legacy. He became a symbol of confrontation on the individual, religious, and national levels. A symbol of unity of ranks in purpose and fate, and thus a symbol of the Arab liberation theology uniting Christians and Muslims across the Arab and Islamic worlds.
In his own words, Cappucci summarized his legacy, and that of all those who have chosen to follow in his footsteps, when he said “We will not kneel! Yes, we seek peace but we will not surrender. What we demand is righteousness and justice, and God is righteousness and justice. And if God is with us, then who is against us? Therefore, our dark nights must end, and our chains must be broken.”
Furthermore, the Syrian Archbishop of Al-Quds also said “I, who have lived in Al-Quds for long, have prayed to the verses of its minarets and the tolling of its church bells. I have extended my hand, at times of adversity, to assist Palestinian freedom fighters...and because of that I was arrested and exiled,” calling on generations not to abandon this legacy for the sake of Palestine, and stressing that the people of the region depend on it.
Palestine will remain an Arab cause because it affects all of us living in the made-to-fragment Sykes-Picot entities. The liberation of Palestine and its people is the liberation of the Arab nation, and the first step towards the defragmentation of its social fabric, thereby allowing it to become a united nation capable of developing sustainable social, economic, and political organizations, and securing safety and prosperity for all the remaining minorities in the region on its own terms, without the Western dictations that have plagued the Arab world for far too long now.