The Gaza war, Sheikh Jarrah, the Gilboa prisoners, and the internal uprising.. Key events that brought the Palestinian cause back to the fore in 2021
The year 2021, the first of the twenties of the new century, bore good news for the Palestinians, who suffered greatly over the past decade from the effects of internal division at times, and the decline of Arab interest in the Palestinian cause at other times due to the Arab peoples’ preoccupation with the revolutions and uprisings that shook the pillars of the Middle East since 2011. The good news came In the first month of the year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced the holding of general elections (legislative, presidential and National Council elections) in the country for the first time since 2007, and set their stages during the same year.
Abbas kept the Palestinians immersed in their dreams of solving their crises resulting from the division until April, when he interrupted the preparations for the elections by announcing the decision to postpone them indefinitely, under the pretext that the Israeli occupation state would not allow the residents of occupied Jerusalem to participate in the electoral process. Abbas was not satisfied with that, but decided in the last month of the same year to hold elections for local councils in the West Bank and not in the Gaza Strip, where refrained movement Hamas announced its organization in Gaza in light of its demand to hold national legislative elections, and then the year ended with a new scene of internal Palestinian political dispute.
In contrast to the developments in internal affairs, the past year witnessed unexpected events on the Palestinian arena, including developments that the Palestinians greatly desired, such as the removal of Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu from the premiership after 14 years in power, and before him the removal of US President Donald Trump who succeeded him. Joe Biden”, including other events that revived – despite their bitterness – the cause and ignited the flame of resistance, such as the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which proved the resistance of the resistance and caused a political crisis inside Israel, the upheaval carried out by the occupied Palestinians for the first time in a long time, and the ongoing popular resistance In the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and others against the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the West Bank and neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Many believe that all these events have brought the Palestinian cause back into the spotlight at the level of the Arab and international community, although others believe that some of these events, such as the continuation of the conflict with occupation and settlement, may have repercussions during this year, and that the return of solidarity does not necessarily mean a breakthrough. A real policy that restores the Palestinians’ rights.
Highlights of 2021
With the beginning of the month of Ramadan last, corresponding to the 13th of April, near the ancient walls of Jerusalem, seem One of the most prominent events of 2021, when the Israeli occupation forces set up iron barriers in the Bab al-Amoud square leading to the Old City and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and then turned the most prominent place for Palestinians to gather into a military barracks full of soldiers and filled with surveillance cameras directed at monitoring the most accurate movements of Palestinians in the area. At the same time, the extremist settlers continued their aggressive actions against the Palestinians through repeated incursions into the Temple Mount, most notably the demonstration they called for on May 10 to celebrate the anniversary of the occupation of the eastern part of the Holy City. Without hesitation, the Jerusalemites rushed to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque and refused to close Bab al-Amoud in front of them.
Weeks later, the intensity of the protests forced the occupation to withdraw from the “Bab Al-Amoud” area, but Mashhad The “miniature war” took place within a stone’s throw from the heart of Jerusalem, there in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where its residents were threatened with eviction and eviction by court rulings issued by the occupation courts in favor of the settlers. Andback details The suffering of the residents of the Jerusalem neighborhood until 1948, since the Palestinians were expelled by the Zionist gangs from their homes in the western part of Jerusalem, Haifa, Jaffa and others. The displacement and displacement that the occupation government has pursued since 1956, and the efforts of the settler groups that have been grabbing more land to make the neighborhoods in Jerusalem with a Jewish majority.
In the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, adjacent to the nucleus of Jerusalem and its holiest shrine, about 150 Palestinians face the threat of eviction with the support of Israeli courts, which are clearly working to make way for Jewish settlers. Andwith the end In 2021, which the residents of the neighborhood described as “the most difficult for the lives of Jerusalemites in the neighborhood”, the residents of the neighborhood still continue their peaceful protests against the process of their displacement despite the lack of media attention on the Arab and international levels, while the occupation forces met this with severe beatings, arrests, deportations and bullets, as usual.
It wasn’t the mini war In Sheikh Jarrah, but a ball of flame, events rolled from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is about 50 miles from the occupied city, where the people of the besieged Strip answered the call of the rebellious Jerusalemites with the slogan “Come on, Gaza, for God’s sake.” On that, an Israeli military aggression was launched, which was confronted by the resistance factions under the slogan of the operation “Sword of Jerusalem”. Over the course of 11 days, more than 200 martyrs and thousands were wounded across the Gaza Strip, at a great human cost that deepened the suffering of the population under the Israeli siege since 2007, while I confess The occupation killed 12 Israeli soldiers and settlers.
The aggression mobilized wide sympathy from Arab and international public opinion in favor of the Palestinians in an unprecedented way since the Gaza war in 2010, and solidarity with the Palestinian resistance appeared through blogging on social media platforms that rose up to condemn the Israeli aggression and blessed the efforts of the armed factions, as the resistance introduced new weapons for service. Military forces, such as the “Ayash-240” missile and “Shehab” drones, which are weapons that partially revealed the flaws of the famous missile defense system known as the “Iron Dome”. In the end, the battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem” revealed a strategic shift related to the ability of the Palestinian resistance to undermine the Israeli deterrence theory that the occupation leaders have long touted.
On the contrary, prove aggression The Jerusalem crisis was preceded once again by Hamas’ ability to seize the political initiative to defend the Palestinian cause that has been pending for more than a decade. The battle boosted Hamas’ domestic popularity in return for highlighting the perceived weakness of Palestinian President “Mahmoud Abbas” and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
The widening of the conflict spot
One of the most important effects of the Israeli aggression on Gaza was the transfer of part of the conflict with the occupation to the interior, in the occupied territories in 1948, while the residents of Gaza and Sheikh Jarrah were struggling against the occupation, the Palestinians of the interior in Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramle and Acre faced the violence of the right-wing settlers, which Granting the Palestinian cause a rare unity that crosses the 1967 borders and the division between the West Bank and Gaza for the first time since the second intifada.
Residents of the Palestinian cities rose up in violation of the Israeli security and political calculations, which for years classified their areas as “calm and under control” areas, and in an attempt to control the situation, the occupation forces resorted to suppress those Protests at the hands of the “Al-Yasam” unit and the Border Guard forces. The “Border Guard” unit is a special unit whose tasks are to carry out arrests and raids in the occupied West Bank and to suppress marches and demonstrations very violently, and its use inside revealed the reality of the Israeli authorities’ vision of the Arabs of 48 as part of the broader Palestinian cause, and also contributed to putting Israel under pressure. International public opinion that views the Arabs of 48 as Israeli citizens. After the protests subsided, the occupation launched a campaign of mass arrests, and raided the homes of citizens who took to the streets to protest the occupation’s attacks on Jerusalem and the aggression on Gaza, which undermined the democratic image of Israel that it is trying to promote in the West more than ever.
Before the occupation caught its breath from the situation inside the Palestinian territories, the situation exploded in the occupied West Bank, as the cities and villages of the West Bank turned into an arena of open confrontation. For example, the occupation forces entered into a battle with the camp and the city of Jenin, which witnessed rounds of bloody clashes between the occupation and the resistance fighters. Moreover, Jerusalem itself formed a focus of resistance through a series of individual armed operations, most notably Operation Martyr.Fadi Abu EchhidimWhich led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the injury of others on November 21, as the operation aroused a wide echo of the disturbances it caused in the accounts of the Israeli security services.
Within the scope of the Palestinian resistance, it can be said that last September is a special date, as the “Freedom Tunnel” incident occurred, which resulted in the escape of six Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa Prison, one of the prisons that enjoys strict immunity, and which the Israeli occupation calls “the Israeli occupation.” Iron Cabinet. This qualitative operation represented a blow to the Israeli security system, as it showed a major security failure. It also brought the issue of prisoners back to the forefront of the scene after its absence.
With regard to the Israeli attacks during 2021, the occupation doubled its decisions in violation of international law and continued its massive demolitions, settlements, land confiscations, and others. It demolished 950 Palestinian homes and facilities, expanded about 55 settlements, and established 15 new colonial outposts. has indicated The report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicated that “the rate of demolition and confiscation of Palestinian homes in their lands occupied since 1967 increased by 21% in the first nine months of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, with the number of displaced Palestinians increasing by 28% during the same period.” this وذكر Jamal Al-Amla, director of the Land Research Center specialized in documenting violations of the occupation, said that in 2021, the occupation authorities announced more than 100 plans, and established about 25 new bypass or secondary roads to serve the settlements.
Division and normalization thwart hopes for 2022
The year 2021 bore a lot of events at the level of the regional links of the Palestinian cause, events that were affected by the change of the US administration, the change of government in Israel, and the acceleration of the normalization train between some Arab countries and Israel, and not all of them necessarily carry happy news despite the return of the Palestinian cause to the fore.
In an interview with Meydan, researcher and political analyst Akram Atallah said that there are internal factors behind this “limited optimism”, most notably the continuation of the Palestinian division, as Hamas took the lead in confronting Israel in conjunction with its continued designation as a terrorist organization among the major powers. Since it and the internationally recognized party, the Palestinian Authority, have a dispute and division, at a time when the authority is unable to participate in the resistance strategy, the year 2021 did not bring good news regarding the possibility of building politically on the achievements of the military resistance.
At the international level, the issue attracted the attention of international public opinion, but – again – without the possibility of benefiting politically from it. Atallah gave an example of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, which coincided with huge demonstrations that toured the most important world capitals whose countries are officially considered supportive of Israel. And Atallah added: “Today, six months after the aggression, it can be said that the Palestinians are creative in the field, but fail in political investment, and this is a problem caused by the aforementioned internal and external factors.”
For his part, Naji Sharab, professor of political science at the Islamic University in Gaza, believes that the reaction to the events of 2021, such as the Gaza war and Sheikh Jarrah and others, was quick and restored the Palestinian cause to its place and prestige for only a short period of time, as we noticed during those events its connection to the moment of the event. Then he added: “There are great positive indicators, despite the decline in solidarity with the Palestinians in some Arab countries at the level of rulers, most of the Arab peoples remain linked to the Palestinian cause.”
At the regional level, the Palestinian cause is still far from stimulating major regional movements, especially with everyone concerned with issues of great importance such as the Iranian file, the Lebanon crisis, the Yemen war, the situation in Libya, and the tension between Morocco and Algeria, in addition to the US administration’s preoccupation with the Russian threat. With the invasion of Ukraine, the stalled nuclear negotiations with Iran, the consequences of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the escalating rivalry with Beijing, it has not fulfilled any of its electoral promises to the Palestinians.
As a new year approaches, analysts are unanimously agreed that there is no tangible prospect for a breakthrough on important issues that concern the Palestinians. Not to mention the growing rapprochement between important Arab countries and Israel, and the continuation of the internal Palestinian division, the new Israeli government is proceeding under the leadership of “Naftali Bennett” towards denying the two-state solution like its predecessor, and its settlement policy does not seem different, as the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank continues, without pressure Mentioned by regional or international parties to curb Israeli policy.
It seems, then, that next year will be an extension of the past year, as it is a year in which the critical situation of the Palestinian cause will continue, with Israel continuing its policies to completely bypass Oslo, but it will be a year in which the issue will continue to be present with a relative decline of files that exhausted Arab observers such as Syria and Libya, especially if they erupt New events that reinforce the central position of the issue in Arab public opinion, such as the escape of prisoners from Gilboa prison, the events of Sheikh Jarrah and the aggression on Gaza, as well as if there is anything new about the elections, the future of the Palestinian Authority, and the succession of President Mahmoud Abbas.