Tue 11-June-2024

Hamas and the legitimate right of defense

Tuesday 28-November-2023

The events that broke out in Gaza on 7 October brought a flood of biased concepts, versions and fake news regarding the legitimacy of the operations unleashed by the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and other Palestinian resistance forces. As usual, the media trumpeted the mantra of “Israel’s right to defend itself” from “terrorist attack” while treating resistance forces as responsible for aggressions and the practice of terrorism.

But none of these media outlets have talked about the reasons for the Palestinian uprising, which concern the continued Zionist violence and aggression against Palestinians; since in 1917, the United Kingdom “promised” a land that did not belong to a group of European Zionists who had no ancestral link to Palestine.

This secular violence justifies in itself the actions of the Palestinian resistance practiced under the International Law of armed conflict. From the point of view of International Law, the “right of defense” does not apply to “Israel” because the Zionist state is an occupying, aggressive force that practices apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Who are you going to defend yourself against? Will it be against the oppressed who are under siege and do not have regular armed forces?

Soon after the victory of the Zionists at the United Nations (UN) in 1947, with the approval of the Partition Plan for Palestine and, subsequently, with the proclamation of the “State of Israel” on 14 May, 1948, the wave of violence, banishment and state terrorism reached unbearable levels for Palestinians. They experienced a process that was designated as the Nakba, an Arabic word that means catastrophe, which caused the destruction of more than 400 villages and the deliberate expulsion of about 800,000 Palestinians – more than the entire Jewish population in Palestine at that time. Those people lost their homes and assets and became refugees within their own territory and in neighboring countries. Today, they add up to a diaspora of about six million Palestinians.

The Zionist leaders who occupied Israeli power always treated the landlords with arrogance, contempt and violence. Ukrainian Golda Mabovitch Meir, who migrated to Palestine in the Zionist wave of occupation in the 1920s at the age of 23 and who would later become prime minister of “Israel”, said in 1969 that there were no Palestinians. Yitzhak Rabin, the fifth prime minister of “Israel”, in office between 1974 and 1977, always referred to them as the “so-called Palestinians”. The immigrant from Belarus, Menachem Begin, prime minister between 1977 and 1983 and intellectual author of the terrorist attack on the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946, referred to Palestinians pejoratively as “the Blacks of Israel”.

The Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian territories and the policies of ethnic cleansing and apartheid, especially the decades-long colonization operations, depriving Palestinians of their most elementary rights, constitute a serious violation of the provisions of International Law contained in the Charter of the UN and its resolutions, as well as in the Rome Statute and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The resistance of the Palestinian people against the occupation is not terrorism but a legitimate right of defense exercised on the basis of International and Humanitarian Law, the Charter of the UN and several resolutions of the UN, especially Resolution 3070 (XXVIII), in addition to those of Nos. 2649/1970, 2787/1971 and 3103/1974, which reaffirm the legitimacy of the struggle of the peoples to free themselves from colonial domination and foreign subjugation by all possible means, including armed struggle, whether with stones, rifles or rockets and drones.

Hamas is not a “terrorist movement” but a political party with a legal existence, recognized by the Palestinian people and internationally. It is a genuine and integral component of the Palestinian national liberation movement and the false designation given by the defenders of “Israel” is not applicable.

Armed resistance against the Zionist occupation is a right that Palestinians do not give up. It is a legitimate right of Palestinians against the repeated violations of human rights, as well as the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by “Israel” over the past 75 years. The Palestinian people will continue to exercise this legitimate right until the terrorist Zionist occupation ceases to exist in Palestine.

Despite this, the accusations against the resistance movements do not cease and are renewed. The pro-Israeli media has struggled to get public opinion to condemn those who oppose the policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing adopted against the Palestinian people, usually accusing them of anti-Semitism, a very convenient and useful accusation when they are without arguments and which generally adds to the accusation of ties of activists and solidarity movements with “Palestinian terrorist groups”.

This is yet another shameless manipulation and one of the factors in the loss of support for “Israel” by Jews around the world amid the protests against the Israeli genocide in Gaza, in which they shout: “Not in my name!” Other Jewish movements, such as that of Israeli Jewish youth who refuse to perform military service and condone the systematic crimes of the occupation forces against Palestinians.

With or without the pro-Israel media’s approval, the Palestinian people have the legitimate right to exist and resist the Zionist occupation, apartheid and ethical cleansing, with all possible measures and methods, including weapons. The reaction of the Gaza resistance is legitimate, with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine at the forefront in the face of Israeli aggression over the last 75 years. These are actions of confrontation against the occupation in accordance with International Law, as occurred in Vietnam, Algeria and South Africa in their struggle against apartheid and other regions of the world.

“Israel” has been attacking Palestinians militarily since its inception. It carried out massive aggressions in 2008/2009, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2021. At this moment, it practices large-scale genocide through the murder of civilians, mostly children, through the bombing of residential areas, schools and hospitals under the false pretext of “fighting Hamas terrorists”.

It is a genocidal war whose terrorist actions by “Israel” aim to seize the lands of the already besieged Gaza Strip to expand illegal Jewish settlements, systematically violating human rights and accumulating the staggering number of more than 5,500 political prisoners in Zionist prisons and more than 2,500 war hostages, including more than 500 children.

For the Palestinian resistance, it is unthinkable, immoral and unjust to expect Palestinians, who are continually oppressed and subjugated by the Israeli military occupation, to comply with the humiliating conditions of “Israel”. There is no precedent in modern history in which people consented to the theft of their homeland without resisting. Over these 75 years, the people of Palestine have definitely demonstrated that they will be no exception. So they went to arms intensely and decisively to rid Gaza and Palestine of oppression and Zionist colonial occupation. Long live the Gaza resistance!

– Sayid Marcos Tenório is a historian and specialist in international relations. He is vice president of the Brazil-Palestine Institute (Ibraspal) and author of the book Palestina: do mito da terra prometida à terra da resistência (Palestine: the myth of the promised land to the land of resistance). His article appeared in MEMO.

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