For decades, the Israeli regime has upheld a brutal settler colonial occupation and siege of Palestine, controlling every aspect of Palestinian life. It has committed untold war crimes all across colonized Palestine, violating the rights of the population it controls. In Gaza specifically, in addition to the crippling siege, the Israeli regime has relied on “mowing the lawn” every few years to maintain the oppressive status quo. The current Israeli government has been especially brazen with its genocidal intent, widely being characterized as fascist and extreme even by Israeli standards. The international community, rather than applying any modicum of pressure on Israel to cease its barbaric behavior, rewards it instead.
The Hamas guerilla operation on October 7 took the Israeli regime by surprise. Their miscalculation lay in underestimating the ability of the “lawn” to mow them back. In a meticulously planned operation, Hamas fighters breached Israeli regime fences, took over settlements, and killed 1300 Israelis.
With Palestinians breaking free of their besieged ghetto, we suddenly hear the all-too-familiar chorus of “the cycle of violence” and other such clichés. As usual, this fixation on pacifism only arises when the oppressed strike back at their oppressors. It seems that the refusal to live in a cage is not a convincing explanation for violence and armed resistance.
Regardless of whether Israelis were killed or not, there was no way Palestinians could have launched an effective resistance campaign without being widely condemned or demonized.
Even when resorting to tactics such as BDS campaigns to effect change, Palestinians were quickly rebuked, with critics likening the tactic to a “Nazi campaign,” and eliciting draconian legislation to legally ban the practice in places like the United States. In 2018, Gaza launched the unarmed Great March of Return to challenge the occupation and demand the right of return. It was dubbed a “riot,” and met with sniper fire, killing over 300 Palestinians, and creating an entire generation of maimed youth. Palestinian administrative detainees — prisoners held without charge, trial, or access to lawyers — are demonized for daring to go on hunger strikes. Even merely trying to access the International Criminal Court, which in theory should be the most agreeable arena to air grievances in the supposed “rules-based-international-order,” was met with hostility and rejection.