American Muslims for Palestine rally marches down Constituton Avenue in Washington / Photo: Reuters

By Fadi Zatari

Hamas’ ‘Al Aqsa Flood’ operation will forever be considered a turning point in the contemporary history of the Palestinian resistance movement. Planning and executing such an operation targeting the world’s most technologically advanced military state is not a small feat considering Hamas’ limited resources.

The attack has shattered the myth and image of Israel as an impenetrably strong state.

The October 7 attack was not the starting point of the Israel-Palestine conflict. There are reasons why the Palestinian resistance group took the historic decision to launch this unprecedented operation.

Among them are Israel’s ethnic cleansing and genocide it perpetrates against the Palestinian people, the severe human rights violations committed by Israeli occupation forces, Israel’s seizure of Palestinian lands, and, more importantly, the continuous Judaisation of Jerusalem and the Al Asqa Mosque complex.

As a result of numerous regional and global events — including the Arab Spring, economic downturns, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the conflict in Ukraine — the coverage of Palestine has significantly evolved from the way it was portrayed historically.

For instance, nearly two decades have passed since the situation in besieged Gaza — where over two million Palestinians reside in challenging conditions akin to an open-air prison — received any attention from international media outlets.

However, the recent Al Aqsa Flood attack jolted international media out of their stupor and once again positioned the Palestinian issue at the forefront of both regional and international discourse.

Increasing solidarity with Palestinians

Israel’s response to the Al Aqsa Flood attack has involved extensive, indiscriminate destruction, with concerns being increasingly raised around the world that it is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The Israeli army’s genocidal actions have triggered global outrage and have elicited growing international solidarity with Palestinians as massive protests sweep the planet.

Israel’s brutal attack on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Palestine's Gaza, which killed hundreds, starkly exposes its blatant disregard for international law via its indiscriminate destruction, which fails to distinguish between civilian and military facilities, including hospitals, schools, and churches.

Following this incident, tens of thousands took to the streets in various cities across Türkiye, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, Qatar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Mauritania, where demonstrators expressed their solidarity with Gaza.

Massive demonstrations also swept through numerous European cities, with thousands rallying in support of the embattled Palestinians in Gaza.

London hosted one of the largest gatherings in Europe, with over a 100,000 people assembling to express their solidarity with besieged Gaza.

Similar demonstrations in support of the Palestinians and a call for a ceasefire took place in Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, and several other countries across the continent.

However, in certain European nations, restrictions, bans, and forceful interventions by security personnel were employed to hinder demonstrations in support of Palestinians.

These actions escalated to the extent of arrests and suspensions. Pro-Palestine protests in certain countries like Germany often unfolded under strict police supervision and faced episodes of violent intervention. In contrast, there were no comparable restrictions or bans imposed on pro-Israel demonstrations.

Demonstrators denouncing Israel’s aggression on besieged Gaza also took to the streets in the United States, Canada and Australia. Washington, DC, witnessed a gathering of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators who protested in front of the White House, chanting “Free Palestine” and raising Palestinian flags and banners with slogans like “Stop the occupation” and “Ceasefire now.”

And Jewish Voice for Peace hosted a huge rally in New York that was attended by hundreds of members from the US Jewish community who expressed their opposition to Israel’s continuous assaults on Gaza.

Rejection of the Israeli occupation’s carpet bombing of Gaza led to huge protests in Latin America as well. Thousands of pro-Palestinians participated in demonstrations in Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile.

In a display of solidarity, activists in the region have initiated social media campaigns, gatherings, discussions and meetings, and the Palestinian flag has been raised across many cities in Latin America.

The remarkable worldwide demonstrations vividly illustrate the outpouring of global support for the Palestinian cause and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their pursuit of an independent state as many issue strong condemnations of Israel’s air strikes on civilian populations across Gaza.

More awareness of the reality in the colonised territories

Israel’s response to Hamas' Al Aqsa Flood operation is massively destructive, random and indiscriminate and does not distinguish between “legitimate” targets and other structures like hospitals, schools and residential buildings.

Everything and everyone is subject to the bombardment and to Israel’s crippling air, land and sea blockade, leading many of Israel's supporters reluctant to justify its actions — actions that have resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of innocent civilians, including children and women.

On social media, hundreds of videos are being shared by Westerners and Americans, including members of the Jewish community, who are openly disassociating themselves from Israel and its aggressive policies towards Palestinians.

Moreover, videos featuring American and European Jews participating in demonstrations — often for the first time — in support of and in solidarity with Palestinian rights are gaining prominence online.

Lastly, Israeli propaganda relies on falsehoods and manipulation, its deceit exposed through the inconsistencies and lack of coherence in its ever-convoluted narratives.

These factors make it exceedingly difficult for anyone to endorse Israel's actions, including its genocidal rhetoric and actions. Rather, the hands of Israelis are drenched in the blood of thousands of innocent Palestinians.

All this is being done using the same old orientalist language of “otherisation” wherein only Israel and Israelis are seen as legitimate “civilised beings” who have a right to exist while Palestinians are dehumanised and called “human animals” — uncivilised, barbaric “Others” who deserve disciplinary violence or death.

The author, Dr. Fadi Zatari, is an Assistant Professor in the political science and IR department at Zaim University, Türkiye.

Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT Afrika.

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