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By: Prof. Dr. Mohsen Mohammad Saleh.

The Algerians came out on 8/5/1945, celebrating the defeat of the Germans and the end of World War II in Europe and demanding France fulfill its promise of independence. However, the French forces committed one of the most infamous massacres in Algerian history, known as the Setif massacre which claimed the lives of 45 thousand Algerians according to Algerian sources. Some historians believe that the history of the Algerian revolution, which ended 132 years of French colonization, begins with the Setif massacre which inspired the revolution, as opposed to the later date of 1/11/1954, often cited by historians. The Algerians made their sacrifices, and the French continued with their oppression and brutality until more than a million, mostly civilians, were killed so that the Algerians could seize their independence.

Along this same path pursued by the Algerians, the Palestinians continue their revolution, rising up and battling oppression for over 105 years of British and Zionist colonization; the Palestinians continue to insist that they will fulfill their right to reclaim their land.


Failure to Break the Will of the Resistance Through Massacring Civilians

First, it is useful to consider the history of colonialism and the cost of resistance. In Islamic understanding demolishing the Ka‘ba at Mecca is easier for Allah than shedding the blood of a single Muslim, and justice must be applied to the same degree to Muslims and non-Muslims; where Islam came as a mercy to the worlds.

The Palestinian people are an open-minded people who love life and cherish their land. The Palestinians’ psychological and social structure is imbued with honor, pride and dignity; however, they were placed under Israeli occupation and faced harsh choices. They were displaced, their land and holy sites usurped, and their suffering intensified, as Israel sought to humiliate them and deprive them of their freedom and dignity. There was no other way but to revolutionize because life loses its meaning and man loses his humanity without a homeland, pride or dignity.

Colonial history shows that the colonizer will resort to revenge against civilians, women, children and elderly people; the colonizer will destroy their homes, places of worship, schools and wealth, thinking that these are weak points which, when targeted, might force people to surrender allowing the colonizer to proceed with colonization after destroying the population’s morale, its basis for resistance.

Levels of oppression differs from one colonizer to another, just as steadfastness may differ from one people to another. Yet, the basic equation of liberation is that the resistance and the society that supports it continue to show the colonizer that pressure on civilians will not stop the revolution, but will only fuel it and make it stronger, and the only way out is for the colonizer to leave. If the people of Algeria had surrendered after the killing 400 thousand or 500 thousand civilians, and French repression had succeeded, Algeria might still be a French colony today!!

The Russians (Soviets) lost well over 12 million civilians in World War II, including at least a million in the Nazi siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The Vietnamese lost about two million civilians in their war to unify their country in the 1955–1975 period. Some estimates indicate that the Afghan civilian killed in the war against the Soviet occupation reached about two million while the numbers have not yet been precisely determined in the Afghans’ struggle against the US occupation. In Iraq, killed civilians exceeded 600 thousand US occupation.

The above numbers represent a harsh equation. Colonizers do not recognize the colonized people as human beings and refuse to address their right to their land and holy sites, expecting them to instead accept humiliation and enslavement. The colonizer thus creates the conditions for revolution and must then bear the cost as they are swept away when the colonized implement their rights.

Resistance is a Necessity in the Face of the Aggressive Zionist Project

Second, we must see the reality of the situation faced by all Palestinians. The Zionist project is an aggressive, colonialist, replacement, expansionist project that seeks to steal the land and get rid of the population in the belief that there is no place in Palestine for two states nor for two equal peoples. In Zionist ideology, which is based on violence, what cannot be achieved by force should be achieved by more force. Indeed, the establishment of Israel came after dozens of massacres were committed and war crimes were carried out against the people of Palestine, with the destruction of more than 530 Palestinian villages and communities. Massacres, combined with the Judaization of land and people have remained “normal” behavior for the Zionists throughout the past 75 years.
For example, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, about 55 thousand were killed and wounded, mostly civilians. During the period from the start of al-Aqsa Intifadah in 2000 until September 2023, about 11,300 Palestinian civilians were killed and about 157 thousand injured.

The path of a diplomatic peace settlement based on compromise, adopted by the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the past 30 years, proved futile for the Palestinians, while Israel used it as a cover for its Judaization and settler-colonial schemes in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank (WB). The Gaza Strip (GS) has suffered intensely for more than 16 years of a stifling siege, becoming the largest open prison in the world. To the Western states that support Israel’s colonial project, any change to the status of the siege and imprisonment of Gaza has been seen as a threat to regional “peace” and “stability.”

The peace process has failed, the two-state solution has collapsed, thousands of victims have continued to fall, and the path of Judaizing Jerusalem and building the Temple in place of al-Aqsa Mosque has entered a critical stage. Israel has also planned to annihilate the resistance in GS, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed from the United Nations General Assembly podium in September 2023 that normalization with the Arab countries was possible without any consideration of the Palestine issue. Israel sought to isolate the Palestine issue from its Arab and Islamic context to impose the Zionist vision of ending it. Arab and Islamic neglect had reached a peak, and Palestinians’ calls and warnings fell on deaf ears; the Palestinians were left alone. Thus, for Palestinians Operation Al-Aqsa Flood—the breakout from GS on 7/10/2023—was necessary to bring the Palestine issue back to the attention of the world. It produced the desired effect, proving that the Palestinian people and their rights could not be ignored. It was a devastating blow for Israel’s theory of deterrence as well as its security, prestige, and the entire basis of its existence.

Certainly, the Zionist project will seek to restore some of its pride and deterrence through slaughtering defenseless civilians under political cover and from its global allies. Yet, this is a price that the Palestinian people have to pay; without which the result would be the loss of al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine, in addition to the displacement and subjugation of its people, the crushing of the resistance, and the eradication of the holiest and most just cause on the face of the earth.

Resistance is More Efficient

Thirdly, if it is proven that the peace process is the easiest and quickest means for Israel to Judaize Palestine and close the Palestinian file, then the Palestinian people have no choice but to resist and their resistance will gradually lead to liberation, or it will witness waves of success and failure, progress and setback; waves that rise and fall but never stop. There might be a heavy price and many sacrifices, especially from civilians, yet the history of anti-colonial movements suggests:

• The will of the people to fulfil their rights will be achieved.

• The resistance will expose the ugliness of the occupation and expose its true nature to the Arab and international masses, even if it leads to the killing of civilians.

• Continuing resistance strips the occupation of the two main foundations of its existence and stability, which are its security and economy. This will dissolve the idea of its existence as an “oasis” of security and prosperity, and as an attractive destination and alternative homeland for world Jews. It will also lose its justification for presenting itself as a policeman of the region, and as a pre-eminent military force in the sectarian and ethnic conflicts it seeks to create.

• Resistance blocks the path to normalization and makes Arab states’ relationships with Israel unjustifiable, while also preventing the isolation of the Palestine issue.

Confronting the Criminal, Not Blaming the Victim

Fourthly, some people prefer to blame the resistance for civilian losses, fail to realize their duty to stand up to the aggressor and not blame the victim; and to stop the oppression of civilians rather than discouraging the resistance from exercising its right and duty to resist, especially that the Palestinian society, that supports it, is patient and rallies around it and its vision.

The Resistance has Exerted all Necessary Efforts

Fifthly, it is important to recognize that the resistance in GS has exhausted all its means in building its strength, despite the context of a hostile and contentious Arab and international environment. It has also prepared its popular support as much as it can and prepared for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood all the elements of success, so that the operation achieved its basic goal in a spectacular way from the very first day.

Certainly, the resistance expected fierce aggression from the occupation, but some issues are beyond accurate prediction, not only for the resistance but also for all bodies, think tanks and intelligence services in the world’s most powerful countries. The establishment of a US-led international coalition providing full cover for Israeli massacres; tightening control over the media to spread the Israeli narrative and fight Palestinian content in an unprecedented manner on social media; Arab complicity and the failure of normalizing countries to recall their ambassadors or expel Israeli ambassadors; prevention of freedom of expression in solidarity with Palestine in a number of Arab countries, and the weak response of the PA in WB. All of these elements simultaneously reached unprecedented levels, as if all the parties involved were eagerly awaiting the moment to finish off Hamas and the resistance forces.

After GS performed its duty, it should not to be blamed for what it worked hard to do, as the battle has not come to an end yet, and the resistance still has much to offer; the principle is to stand by its side rather than blame it or cast doubts on its achievements.

Certainly, the extent of the occupation’s ugliness and criminality (a matter decided by Israel who bears its responsibility) has been almost beyond imagination in taking revenge on civilians and using explosives whose total explosive power exceeds the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, according to experts. Yet, after three weeks of shelling and bombing, Israel has not yet dared to fight the resistance in the field.

Resistance United with the Society that Supports it

Sixthly, the resistance in GS is united with the society that supports it, and its political, military and organizational leaders live among the people and care about their concerns. Its base is the broadest in GS compared to others, and what is happening to the people is also happening to it. Indeed, the Israeli aggression was more deliberate in targeting Hamas cadres and destroying institutions affiliated with it, as they are the party responsible for Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the management of the Strip. Many leaders and cadres were killed during the aggression, and every day news comes that more have been killed.

Making History

Seventhly, history is made not only by the heroes who achieve victories but also by those who sacrifice and bear witness, the civilians who are killed for their principles and become guiding beacons and sources of inspiration for the people who follow their path until they seize their freedom and liberate their land.

Islamic literature is full of emphasis on the pride and dignity of the Muslim, rejection of humiliation, and sacrifice for the sake of justice, freedom and the pursuit of truth. The Palestine issue remains a sacred one in the heart of every Arab, Muslim, and free person. Israel should no longer expect to find a comfortable environment because, on the Palestinian side, sacrifices will be made, and the highest prices will be paid until victory and liberation are achieved.


Finally, the most important question for those who fear for civilians is: Have you done your duty? what have you done to protect them? how do you support the resistance and the steadfastness of the society supporting it? and are you doing “what you can” in every sense of the word, using your capabilities and positions.

Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies and Consultations, 31/10/2023

The opinions expressed in all the publications and studies are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of al-Zaytouna Centre.

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