Al‑Aqsa Flood and Miscalculation

In his latest piece, Gilbert Achcar analyses the "miscalculations" behind Hamas' operation, Al-Aqsa Flood, which triggered a ferocious Israeli assault on Gaza leading to catastrophic destruction and loss of life.

 

At the end of the second month since the start of the Zionist genocidal war on the Gaza Strip, the number of victims of the aggression has exceeded 24,000, including verified deaths and others whose bodies are still under the rubble, while the number of injured has reached nearly 40,000, including a large percentage of seriously injured and disabled for life. During the seven weeks leading up to the week-long truce, the mad bombing carried out by the Forces of Occupation and Extermination of Palestine and its people, falsely called Israel “Defence” Forces, has demolished more than 100,000 buildings in the Gaza Strip; it has now begun to destroy what remains, moving the main focus of its aggression from north of the Gaza Strip to its south. After this enormous catastrophe that is on its way to completing the 1948 Nakba with a Nakba in Gaza that is still severer and more ferocious than all that preceded it, while Zionist killing and persecution are escalating in the West Bank, it is necessary to examine what calculation might have gone through the minds of those who devised Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, leading them to launch it even though it was possible to predict what would happen as a result.

There are two polar hypotheses in this regard: either those who planned the operation were aware that it would result in a catastrophe, like what happened so far and is still ongoing, and they did not care about the matter; or they miscalculated. The second hypothesis is the closest to reality, and this in two main respects. The first is that the planners of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood did not take the full measure of the Israeli society’s complete shift to the far right, embodied in a government that includes the entire spectrum of the fascist Zionist right, from the Likud Party to the National-Religious Party and Jewish Power. The interaction between this political reality and the gravity of the 7 October operation, which surpassed all military operations previously carried out by the Palestinian resistance against the occupation, made inevitable that the Israeli reaction would exceed, in turn, everything the Zionist army had ever done before, and that the Zionist far right would seize the opportunity of this trauma to begin implementing its plan to achieve “Greater Israel” by erasing what remains of Palestine and annihilating its people through extermination and displacement, starting with the Gaza Strip.

The second miscalculation consisted in the exercise of wishful thinking and the expectation of divine miracles, along the religious logic that characterizes the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the political current to which it belongs. This translated in the belief that Operation Al-Aqsa Flood would unleash a general war on the State of Israel in which all Palestinians wherever they are, as well as all Arabs and Muslims would take part. The clearest expression of this illusion is to be found in the audio message delivered on the morning of the operation by Muhammad al-Deif, the commander-in-chief of the Izz ud-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing. What Deif announced in his message needs no comment. Here are excerpts of what he said after summarizing the crimes committed by the Zionist state:

“We decided to put an end to all of this, with God’s help, so that the enemy understands that the time for them to revel without being held accountable has ended … Our righteous Mujahideen, this is your day for you to let this criminal enemy understand that their time has ended … Fight, and the angels will fight with you as your vanguard, God will reinforce you with the horse-riding angels and will fulfil His promise to you … Our young people in the West Bank, all our people regardless of your organizations, today is your day to sweep this occupier and its settlements from all our land in the West Bank and to make them pay for the crimes they perpetrated throughout those long, difficult years … Our people in Jerusalem, rise up to support your Al-Aqsa Mosque, expel the occupation forces and the settlers from your Jerusalem, and demolish the dividing walls. Our people in the occupied interior, in the Negev, Galilee, and the Triangle, in Jaffa, Haifa, Acre, Lydda, and Ramla, ignite the soil with fire under the feet of the usurping occupiers, by killing, burning, destroying, and closing roads.”

“Our brothers in the Islamic resistance, in Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, this is the day in which your resistance merges with your people in Palestine so that this terrible occupier understands that the time of rampaging and assassinating religious scholars and leaders has ended, the time of plundering your wealth has ended, the almost daily bombing in Syria and Iraq has ended, the time of dividing the nation and scattering its forces in internal conflicts has ended. Now is the time for all Arab and Islamic forces to unite to sweep this occupation away from our sanctities and our land.”

“Today, today, everyone who has a gun should take it out, for the time has come, and whoever does not have a gun should use their knife, hatchet, axe, Molotov cocktail, truck, bulldozer, or car … This is the day of the great revolt to end the last occupation and the last apartheid regime in the world. O righteous men and women, the finest memorizers of the Book of God, O worshipers who fast and stand, kneel and prostrate — gather in your mosques and places of worship and return to God and urge Him to send down their death upon us, to provide us with His trusted angels, and to fulfil through us your hopes of praying at Al-Aqsa, liberated …”

The sad truth is that we have reached a situation in which our best hope now is for armed resistance and international pressure to succeed in stopping the aggression and genocide, and in preventing the Zionist state from seizing all of the Gaza Strip, as a prelude to seizing the rest of the Palestinian territory.

Translated from the Arabic original published in Al-Quds al-Arabi on 5 December 2023.

Source >> Gilbert Achcar blog


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Gilbert Achcar’s newest book is The New Cold War: The United States, Russia and Ukraine, from Kosovo to Ukraine (2023).


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