Palestine: six months of slaughter, six months of resistance

Sunday 31 March 2024 by

Six accounts of the perpetrators and victims of the Israeli onslaught, as well as the protesters and resistance leaders

Rula Hassanein and Yazan Kafarneh (Picture: @rafaelshimunov and @QudsNen on twitter)

Rula Hassanein and Yazan Kafarneh (Picture: @rafaelshimunov and @QudsNen on twitter)

For the Palestinians and all those who stand with them, life changed on 7 October when Palestinian fighters launched  an unprecedented attack on the Israeli state.

The attack by the resistance group Hamas shook Israel and showed that even an apartheid state armed and supported by Western powers could be taken by surprise.

Now after murdering at least 31,000 Palestinians the Israeli state has shown the world the lengths it will go to achieve its Zionist dream.

Ordinary people across the world are still disgusted and the mass movement for Palestine continues to challenge Israel’s backers in the West and in the Arab world.

Six months on, the Israeli state has shown the extent of its barbarity, and the resistance in Palestine and outside has shown its resilience.

Socialist Worker looks at the horrific cost of Israel’s genocidal plans, how resistance to Zionism is still growing and how Israel’s far right has grown.

Itamar Ben-Gvir

The Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir has repeatedly been singled out as a racist, extremist and provocateur.

But Ben-Gvir’s hatred towards Palestinians is nothing new—he’s parroting the words of Zionists that have come before him.

Early on Ben-Gvir made clear that he believed that the right of Jewish people to live and move across Palestine took precedent over the rights of Palestinians.

“My right, my wife’s right, my kids’ right to move around freely on the roads of Judea and Samaria is more important than the right of movement of Arabs,” he declared.

Ben-Gvir’s party, the Jewish Power Party, pushes for complete Jewish control of the land from the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and the annexation of the West Bank.

It received unprecedented votes in the 2022 legislative election and entered government with a coalition of parties led by current prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Since 7 October Ben-Gvir has played an essential role in extending the Israeli takeover of the West Bank.

Days after 7 October, Ben-Gvir announced his plan to hand 10,000 assault rifles along with body armour and helmets to settlers in the West Bank.

This helped facilitate the transformation of settlers in the area into an even more dangerous security force that could more easily murder and displace Palestinians.

His racism has not put off many Israelis. Ben-Gvir and his party have steadily gained more support over the last two years.

Politicians like Ben-Gvir and finance minister Bezalel Smotrich are a particularly brutal expression of a racist apartheid regime.

Moshe Grunberg and Sam Sank

Israeli soldier Moshe Grunberg of the 271st Combat Engineering Battalion was filmed dedicating the demolition of Palestinian homes to his daughter.

He shamelessly told the camera that he was “dedicating this explosion to my daughter Ella for her birthday” and then gave the order to blow up the tower block. Grunberg did it with a smile on his face.

Israeli soldiers have repeatedly filmed videos of them destroying Palestinian homes, torturing Palestinians and ­laughing at their suffering. Other soldiers have tried to normalise their role in the Israeli genocide.

After 7 October, British-Israeli soldier Sam Sank admitted that he rushed back to Israel to murder Palestinians in Gaza, but only after he’d finished watching the football.

“I waited to finish watching Spurs versus Luton to make sure that we go top of the league. Once that happened, I packed my bags and got a lift to the meeting point.”

Sank was born in London and moved to Israel at age 18 to join the Paratroopers Brigade of the Israeli army. To try and push out Israeli propaganda, Sank began making video diaries about his time in Gaza.

In February, he told PBS News Hour that he thought the video diary was “good for the world to see”. Sank left the Israeli army earlier this year and headed back to London.

The British government has so far refused to commit to prosecuting British citizens who have committed war crimes for the Israeli army.

Yazan Kafarneh

Israel starved nine-year-old Yazan Kafarneh to death. Yazan and his family fled their homes in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza shortly after 7 October.

They were forced to take shelter in the Rab’a School in the Tal al-Sultan neighbourhood in Rafah City.

His father told Mondoweiss news site that the family left their home to try and get better care for Yazan, who had congenital illnesses, meaning he had specific nutritional and care needs.

But as Israel’s assault on Gaza continued and cut off aid from entering the area, Yazan’s family found it harder and harder to find the food and care he desperately needed.

His family was forced to watch as Yazan slowly wasted away, his bones becoming more prominent through his skin as every day passed.

A relative of Yazan said, “Hunger ravaged his body. This child was suffering from several diseases. The war came and took away all the basic components that could give him life.”

Before Israel’s assault began in Gaza, Yazan was frequently visited by those who took care of him, including speech therapists and physiotherapists. His parents described him as “happy” and doted on by everyone around him.

Yazan died at the beginning of March at the Yusuf al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah from acute malnutrition caused by Israel’s genocidal plans in Gaza.

His death and those of potentially tens of thousands more due to starvation is a calculated man-made plot by the Israeli state, backed up by Western imperialism, to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (Unrwa) said last week that Israel would no longer approve any of its food convoys to go into northern Gaza.

Ayman Nofal

During the Egyptian revolution of 2011, a senior commander of Al‑Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, Ayman Nofal broke out of prison.

Nofal was arrested along with 200 other Palestinians after they tried to blast a hole in barriers between Egypt and Gaza in 2008.

Ordinary people stormed the prison demanding the release of prisoners, and inmates fought the guards.

“I shouted to other prisoners to break down the doors and gates,” said Nofel just after he broke out of the prison.

Nofel was born in 1965 in Gaza’s Bureij Refugee Camp and was involved in organising attacks on the Israeli state in the First and Second Intifada.

After breaking out of the Egyptian prison, Nofel was smuggled back to Gaza. He was the head of the Central Gaza Brigade when he was murdered by an Israeli airstrike in October last year.

In July of last year, Nofal gave an interview to Al-Jazerra where he insisted that it was vital that Hamas joined up with other Palestinian resistance groups to beat Israel.

Rula Hassanein and Walaa Tanji

Palestinian journalist Rula Hassanein was seized from her home in Bethlehem in the West Bank and taken hostage by the Israeli state last month.

Rula is well known for her reporting on Israel’s crimes. The Zionist state claimed that it arrested Rula for Facebook posts she had written three years ago.

Israel’s kidnapping and imprisonment of Palestinians, often without trial, are further methods of trying to crush resistance.

Palestinians celebrated in November last year after Israel released 150 Palestinian hostages in exchange for Israeli detainees held by Hamas.

But now Israel has begun recapturing the Palestinians it let out of prison. Walaa Tanji was one of the Palestinians held captive by Israel and released in the exchange deal.

Now Walaa is yet again facing imprisonment. Israel handed her an administrative detention order late last week. 

In 2022, Israel accused her of planning an attack on a checkpoint with two other Palestinian women.

After being initially released by her Israeli captors in November last year, she said, “Prisoners suffered abuses in Israeli jails since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict.

“Conditions were extremely difficult. We lived days of hunger and thirst. We were beaten, sprayed with gas, and insulted.”

Since 7 October, the Israeli state has kidnapped and held almost 7,500 Palestinians in the West Bank hostage.

Israel has detained, tortured and murdered thousands more Palestinians in makeshift prisons across Gaza.

Aya in Jordan

Israel’s assault on Gaza has unleashed fury across the Middle East. Protests and riots exploded across Jordan last week, with protesters targeting the Israeli embassy in the country’s capital, Amman.

Aya, a Jordanian protester, said, “First, we do not recognise something called the state of Israel. It is one state called Palestine and it will remain Palestine.

“No matter how much they try and do to stop our efforts, we will come out from under the ground for the Palestinians.”

Protesters called for the tearing down of the borders between Jordan and the West Bank and proclaimed their support for Hamas. And despite brutal state repression, protests for Palestine have continued in Egypt.

An Iftar event in the Al Matraiya district in Cairo last week became a pro-Palestine demonstration when attendees demanded that the government defend the Palestinians and open the Rafah crossing.

In October last year, Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square, the historic centre of the 2011 Egyptian revolution, to protest for Palestine.

The demonstrators targeted Egypt’s repressive ruler, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Protesters in Egypt and Jordan are not just raging against the Zionist state.

They are also pointing the finger at their own ruling classes, who are complicit in the massacre of Palestinians.

If this rage at the Zionist state and imperialist rulers is combined with workers’ action, the movement for Palestine across the Arab world could potentially become a powerful force. This force could crush the Zionist state for good.