Siege and resistance in Gaza – For more than 10 weeks...

Toufic, Haddad; Omar, Hassan
Date Written:  2018-08-09
Publisher:  Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières
Year Published:  2018
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX22932

Toufic Haddad, an activist, academic and author of Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory, spoke to Omar Hassan about the meaning of the protests – and what next in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.




Toufic Haddad – The regime of control Israel imposes over Gaza is unprecedented globally, some academics calling it a "digital occupation". Remote control machine guns and drones monitor and police this tiny territory, which is 360 square kilometres, while Gaza's access regime is so sophisticated that Israel counts every calorie and controls every chemical compound that enters the territory.

It would be imprecise, however, to reduce the protests to purely humanitarian questions. Gaza has been under siege because the international community and Israel want to prevent an alternative political model emerging within Palestinian politics. Hamas has led this alternative political project, and could again legitimately take power if elections took place.

But the issue is far larger than Hamas.

The Gaza Strip exists only because of the 1948 war. It is a rump territory where the victims of the Zionist campaign to ethnically cleanse Palestine ended up. Three-quarters of residents are refugees originating from the coastal and southern regions of Palestine. This is, demographically, the reverse of the West Bank, where refugees constitute only a quarter of the population.

The collective experience of displacement and harsh living conditions transformed Gaza into the crucible of Palestinian nationalism and the refugee return movement. The territory gave birth to the most significant vanguard political tendencies – from the Communist Party in the 1950s and 1960s, to Fatah in the late 1960s and Hamas and Islamic Jihad more recently.

The protests are the latest incarnation of these dynamics. We are witnessing yet another popular uprising launched around all the historical issues of the Palestinian movement (for return, self-determination, liberation etc.), and seeing all the new means that Israel and the international "community" have used to try to control and subvert Palestinian rights.

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