No matter the outcome of Israel’s genocidal invasion of Gaza, the Palestinian resistance fighters have already won.
They were victorious from that first day when they executed a successful military raid of Israeli targets. It was a devastating blow to Israel’s very presence in the world, which depends heavily on military prestige and ability to strike terror in the indigenous Palestinian population and surrounding Arab neighbors.
Hamas specifically targeted the heavily fortified colonies Israel has been installing and expanding for decades around all Palestinian centers of life. Like all Zionist colonies, those surrounding Gaza were built on the ancestral villages of Palestinians who remain refugees to this day.
Israel imports foreign Jews from around the world and incentivizes them to live on the frontlines as human shields against Palestinian aspirations for freedom and return to their homes in Palestine. For many of the fighters who resisted their tormentors, 7 October was the first time they had been able to breach the open air prison of Gaza and see their ancestral lands, which they had previously only known in the stories passed down to them.
From that fateful day, the resistance demonstrated to their people and to the world that the notion of Israel’s invincibility is, and always was, a sham – a classic paper tiger.
The popular Arabic term for al-jaysh al-lathi la yuqhar – the army that cannot be defeated – turned out to be a myth of biblical proportions. A small guerilla force with homemade rockets and light arms managed to disable Israel’s surveillance towers and evade Israel’s celebrated intelligence apparatus for hours, as various wings of Palestinian resistance ferried Israelis back to Gaza to use in bargaining for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners, including many who have languished for years without charge or trial.
Israel tried desperately to control the narrative in a series of fabrications that immediately unraveled, one after the other in such ways that turned Israel’s storied propaganda apparatus into the laughing stock of the century. Sensational lies about rape and beheaded babies were quietly retracted despite being uncritically parroted by mainstream western media.
Forty dead babies were downgraded to one. The initial claim of 1,400 Israelis killed was reduced to 1,200, followed by video footage showing that many of those, including rave goers, were actually killed and burned by Israel’s US-supplied Apaches firing on the crowds and fleeing Hamas fighters carrying captives.
Israel tried to present sloppy “evidence” that al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City was used by Hamas fighters. Social media users promptly poked massive holes in the official narrative, forcing the Israeli military to delete the videos and replace them with even more foolish doctoring.
It was the stuff for memes and wild fodder for comedians.
But the most important revelation gifted to the world by Palestinian resistance is Israel’s staggering moral bankruptcy and Western hypocrisy cheering it on. Unimaginable cruelty, mercilessness and wanton violence has been on display, not only from Israel’s political and military institutions, but from their nation on the whole.
Ordinary citizens continue to post videos mocking the ineffable suffering of Palestinians who are being murdered in the most gruesome ways – their bodies shredded, burned, or buried alive in their bombed homes. Israelis dance and celebrate in their street, calling for total genocide of Palestinians, and for the expansion of their Zionist colony on stolen land.
They are so drunk on their power and the satisfaction of at least 20,000 murdered Palestinians in the span of six weeks that they cannot understand how their bloodlust shocks the conscience.
Israel began threatening a land invasion almost immediately after 7 October. But it kept delaying, even after the US came to its rescue with two aircraft carriers and America’s most sophisticated nuclear submarine to the Mediterranean (along with bombs and other weaponry, plus billions of US tax-funded financial aid).
Each attempt to roll into Gaza was met with fierce Palestinian resistance, causing Israel to retreat several times. When Israel finally began rolling into Gaza, the Palestinian resistance pummeled its troops.
Hamas’s military wing the Qassam Brigades, along with other resistance formations, continue to post daily video proof of their operations. They’re resisting unspeakable carnage from the greatest military powers the world has ever known.
The prisoner exchange agreement is happening precisely on the terms Hamas set from the beginning. It said no captives would be released without release of Palestinian political prisoners.
Fifty Israeli women and children are now being exchanged for 150 Palestinian women and children who have languished in Israeli jails since long before 7 October.
The bravery of Palestine’s resistance fighters is the stuff of legends. With light armament, men in knock-off Adidas track suits and flip flops are successfully blowing up one Israeli tank after another and taking more and more prisoners, outsmarting the most celebrated Israeli and American military minds.
Unsurprisingly, social media giants, which are heavily influenced by Zionist agendas, have banned users from posting these videos, as they clearly prove the gross underreporting of Israeli military losses.
But that matters little now. There is nothing Israel can do to stem the tide of its losses.
It is not merely the material losses of life or economic devastation, nor the massive loss of confidence and credibility in the world. Rather, the Israelis lost their humanity.
What remains before the world’s eye is the soulless shell of a grotesque killing machine that can apparently do nothing but murder, destroy and terrorize wholesale.
Israel has decimated Gaza. It has bombed roads, homes, buildings, bakeries, malls, shops, water installations, universities, hospitals and institutions into above-ground graveyards of irretrievable bodies, memories, dreams, and potentials we will never know.
The sheer barbarity of killing more than 20,000 people and maiming tens of thousands more in the span of several weeks is impossible to comprehend. It is painful to imagine the terror and trauma that Israel has unleashed on 2.3 million human beings with nowhere to escape, particularly as Israel cut off water, food, fuel and medical supplies.
There are credible fears of deaths from starvation and dehydration, with more surely to come.
The price Palestinians are forced to pay is unfathomable, and it is being borne with an equally incomprehensible steadfastness, deep faith, dignity and humility that should make the world weep with shame.
Because of them and the brave Palestinian resistance, the world will never be the same again. The Qassam Brigades launched a battle for the liberation of our homeland, and in doing so, they are awakening and freeing us all.
No matter how many more people Israel slaughters or how much it steals or bombs, there is no denying its defeat. Israel cannot continue to live by its sword.
Either Israel renounces its supremacist exclusionary Zionist ideology and integrates into Palestinian society and the region as equals rather than lords, or it will face a far greater, more determined and uncompromising resistance that will eventually destroy it completely as it has tried to destroy us.
We will never forget.
susan abulhawa is a writer and activist. She is a founder and director of the Palestine Writes Literature Festival.