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In Gaza, Palestinians celebrate resistance and credit it with ‘victory’

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Celebrating resistance fighters in Gaza

Celebrating resistance fighters in Gaza. (Photo: Yasser Qudih)

“We are relieved that the war ended, the past 52 days were very harsh as we faced death every second, and we lost many people, houses destroyed including mine. The memories of my childhood and dreams are buried now under the rubble. But we say that we will rebuild what they destroyed God willing. Today I want to say despite all this, the resistance is an asset and a card that we should use in our struggle with our enemy.” — Nader Tamer, 35, father of four from Gaza city.

Fifty two days of an-all out aggression on besieged Gaza ended following an Egyptian mediated ceasefire deal on Tuesday.

“We are excited that finally a long term truce was reached after over 50 days of air raids, tank shelling and massacres. Let it be heard, we will never bow under Israeli occupation. Despite the loss of lives and destruction we still have high spirits and if Israel wages a 4th war on Gaza we will support the resistance,” said Um Asem, 55, a grandmother from Gaza city.

Despite over 2,100 lives lost in Gaza and the destruction of thousands of homes, thousands of Gaza residents took to the streets to celebrate the resistance’s “victory” over Israel.

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Life slowly began returning to normal, as the truce still holding, people poured into the streets to inspect the damage and resume their daily lives. Some choose to go to the beach to have fresh air, away from the dusty streets where piles of rubble and debris lie.

The agreement, which went into force at 1600 GMT on Tuesday, saw the Israeli and Palestinian sides agree to a long-term ceasefire which Israel said would not be limited by time, in a move hailed by the United States, the United Nations and top world diplomats.

Palestinian resistance factions united under the command of Al-Qassam bridges, Hamas’ armed wing held a press conference and military parade, as a large crowds of people gathered in Shijaeyyah neighbourhood which was destroyed during the Israeli aggression.

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(Photo: Yasser Qudih)


Abu Obida, the spokesman of Al-Qassam brigades, said that the conflict had shown the need to completely revise the methods of national struggle. “Negotiations are not enough with these occupiers.”

“Resistance unified the people, and that is our big achievement, we will not return to divisions or disputes.” he added.

Throughout the entire assault, Palestinian fighters from different factions remained in their bunkers and hideouts confronting invading Israeli troops, taking up sniper positions, launching rockets, and fighting invisibly like ghosts in evacuated neighbourhoods. After repeated attempts, we got hold of Abu Huzayfah, a fighter from Al-Quds brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement. He was injured by an Israeli tank shell east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza strip. The severe injury he sustained led to the amputation of both of his legs.

“We fought during the Khuza’a battle on 17th July, that battle was one of the fiercest clashes as we were trying to confront invading Israeli soldiers,” said Abu Huzayfah, a single man, in his 30s, who joined Al-Quds brigades, several years ago.

“I managed to hit a tank with an anti-tank RPG missile, another tank fired shells towards my direction, I was injured with shrapnel. Luckily I was rescued by fighters from Al-Qassam brigades who were in the area and took to a safe area through an underground resistance tunnel and then to the hospital, but later I found out that my legs were amputated,” Abu Huzayfah said.

It is not yet known how many of the victims were combatants and to which factions they belong.

“This ceasefire is no act of generosity from Israel. Do not mistake it for such. This is a victory fought for through resistance, resilience, and strategic calculations. Israel were pushed into a position where to be accepted by their people, they had to accept Hamas’s conditions,” Nidal Salamah from Gaza City said as jubilation prevailed in Gaza.

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(Photo: Sami Shehada)


A short time before the announcement of the long-term truce, Hamas announced that Israelis could return to their homes safely at 7 pm on Tuesday, Aug 26th, the time when the truce went into effect  That in itself is joy for both sides.

Palestinian resistance was hailed by ordinary people as well as officials.

Some consider Israel’s failure to achieve its goals-namely an end to the rocket fire from Gaza- as a total fiasco, while others say there is much reason for sadness.

“Yes, there are over 11,000 injured people including 3,000 injured children, 1,000 of which now have permanent disabilities and over 2,135 martyrs but yet we say to the Israelis and the whole world that we have the right to resist and we are with the resistance,” said one resident.

Israel says that 64 of its soldiers were killed and more than 1,000 were injured throughout the course of the fighting. The fiercest confrontations took place near the border in northern and eastern areas of the Gaza Strip, including Beit Hanoun, eastern Shujaiyya, and areas east of Khan Younis and east of Rafah.

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(Photo: Yasser Qudih)


Abu Huzayfah said Palestinians are victorious, “I will continue the path of resistance as a field commander despite my disability now, I will be ready to take part in any resistance activity in case the enemy wages any new attack on our soil”.

The seven weeks of an all-out Israeli offensive on besieged Gaza has ended but the countdown until the next round of violence is already ticking.

“I was never a Hamas supporter, but today I say that I highly respect the resistance movements as they managed to resist until the last second. And we tell the Israelis that they will never succeed to break our will. We will teach the love of our country for our children who will continue the struggle to liberate Palestine. We will rebuild what was destroyed; we will defy our fears and fight for a better future,” said Asaad Mahmoud, a businessman of 40 in Gaza city.

Yousef Alhelou
About Yousef Alhelou

Yousef Alhelou is a freelance journalist based in Gaza City and a Reuters Journalist fellow at Oxford University. He is a Middle East correspondent for Real News Network and can be followed on Twitter at @YousefAlhelou.

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36 Responses

  1. just
    just on August 28, 2014, 3:23 pm

    Congratulations to the Palestinians for your bravery, your steadfastness in the face of such an assault, your spirit, your strength and your hope. Your cause is just.

    It is truly humbling to share this earth with the Palestinian people.

    End the Occupation & long live Palestine and all of her people!

    Thank you for this article Yousef Alhelou– it’s wonderful.

  2. ritzl
    ritzl on August 28, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Probably somewhat OT, but what are the prospects of a struggle where Palestinians, a people who do not seek vengeance as a rule, go up against Israel, made up of people who ONLY seek vengeance?

    That’s not intended as a defeatist question. It’s an exploration of strategy in a tough situation.

  3. Pixel
    Pixel on August 28, 2014, 4:04 pm

    .

    Israel’s take on things…

    Israeli-Gov-t-Main-Points-August-28

    • tod77
      tod77 on September 2, 2014, 9:36 am

      Both sides claim victory. How surprising…
      Interesting that both Hamas and the Israeli government mention how the victory has paved the path for a better future, but neither lay down any hint of a strategy to reach that future, and neither take concrete steps down that path.

      The only people who deserve to be commended are the Palestinian people, who despite living through hell time after time, keep calm and carry on.
      Hamas have lost their way. They look more like Islamic Jihad than a social and political organization aiming to replace Fatah.
      The military wing gains power, while the social welfare and political wings weaken, drawn to react rather than act.
      I hope they use the cease fire for reform rather than for victory celebrations.
      As for the Israeli government – not much hope for reform there…

  4. wondering jew
    wondering jew on August 28, 2014, 5:48 pm

    Do you think the average Gazan feels like celebrating? I doubt it. Hamas does not equal Gaza. These are Hamas stalwarts who are celebrating. It is not the average Gazan.

    Hamas’s decision to launch this war will be tested over the next year and it will be clearer where we stand and where the people of Gaza stand in a year. But if these people really think there is something to celebrate, then 1. they know the future and already can see what the results will be or 2. they support resistance for resistance sake no matter what the outcome.

    Amira Hass would not write propaganda like this.

    • a blah chick
      a blah chick on August 28, 2014, 7:14 pm

      I’ve read a number of comments by Israelis Jews saying that the only reason that people were out in the streets cheering was that Hamas would retaliate against them if they didn’t. And yet the only retaliation I have heard about is in Israeli where a number of people have been fired from their jobs for showing insufficient zeal for the “war.” It’s like the IDF’s use of human shields; if they do they just assume everyone else does as well.

      • Philemon
        Philemon on August 28, 2014, 8:45 pm

        There’s a lot of projection going on there.

    • annie
      annie on August 28, 2014, 8:42 pm

      yonah, you made this same claim earlier today and i called you out on it http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/ceasefire-promises-blockade.html#comment-706290 and ask you where you get your info other than parroting the memes of the israeli government and their hack job propagandists. is there even one palestinian source for your bs? palestinains are unified right now. find one who is not besides some gatestone turncoat, whatever his name is.

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on August 29, 2014, 3:56 pm

        Annie,

        I thought you made a good point explaining what is a very confusing idea by Israelis that they were defeated and blame their leadership, when you said:

        Netanyahu’s goal was not merely to stop the rockets. don’t forget he started this thing and completely freaked out over the unity agreement, the goal was to eradicate hamas/sever their authority, place the PA in charge … which he completely failed to do

        But how rationally did Israelis think that Netanyahu could eradicate Hamas without a ground invasion? How would bombing hospitals and churches and UN shelters defeat Hamas? Since when did aerial bombardment, without a ground invasion, change a government?

        You are right what you said:

        “Wasn’t that goal achieved by the ceasefire? ”
        it’s a temporary ceasefire. there’s no way to guarantee

        But nonetheless, I don’t know why that is not a victory for the goal of stopping rockets. A ceasefire is an agreement to stop fighting. I think North and South Korea have a decades-long ceasefire, so they can become semi-permanent. I don’t know how the Israelis can rationally think that they could get more than an agreement to stop fighting, other than an actual peace treaty. And Israelis don’t even have a peace treaty with the PLO, just a semi-permanent peace “arrangement”.

        So if the alleged goal is stopping the rockets, then they achieved their goal. If the goal was to get rid of Hamas, then how did they think they were going to do that without a ground invasion?

        And if they did want a ground invasion, then how did they think they could invade, hold, and occupy it securely with minimal casualties and then succeed in putting the PLO in power?

      • W.Jones
        W.Jones on August 29, 2014, 3:57 pm

        If you like, we could continue the discussion here, or take it onto Friendfeed if it is too long for the closing deadline.

      • annie
        annie on August 29, 2014, 5:47 pm

        I don’t know why that is not a victory for the goal of stopping rockets.

        well, had the goal been merely to stop the rockets it could be called a victory. but as i mentioned that was not the only goal. in the same way that israel’s intent in invading lebanon in 06 was dismantling hezbollah, it is roundly acknowledged israel lost that war for several reasons, one of which was that it strengthened hezbollah.

        But how rationally did Israelis think that Netanyahu could eradicate Hamas without a ground invasion?

        rationality is not what’s at issue here. i can’t speak towards israeli rationality. did you read this: israeli is in a pickle http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/israel-in-pickle.html

        even as early as last week reports in israel’s msm (and possibly here too) were saying things like ‘israel analysts think hamas has used 1/2 their ammo”. which means they did not know (see the article i just linked to). they went into this slaughter with poor intel, never knowing what hamas had or where it was although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it was underground. so the whole ‘tunnel’ thing, wasn’t solely to stop infiltration into israel, it was to find their weapons storage and de militarize gaza. for israel this would require massive loss of life. it would expose how ineffectual their army is against a worthy foe. the iof specialty is massacring civilians. that’s about it.

        they know how to bomb and kill innocent civilians. and they are very adept at running an occupation. but face to face w/combatants? not so much. the only way to eradicate hamas without a ground invasion is a ‘make a desert call it peace’ solution. an intense genocidal air campaign. and unfortunately that is what many israelis wanted and advocated for. but i think they (israelis, lots of them) are just woefully misinformed about the limits of their armies capabilities.

        How would bombing hospitals and churches and UN shelters defeat Hamas? Since when did aerial bombardment, without a ground invasion, change a government?

        once you free your mind from the illusion the israel government is ever truthful and instead continually lies, you will see the answer very clearly. the purpose of bombing hospitals churches and UN shelters will not to dislodge hamas, the intended purpose is killing people. israel has creative explanations like “they will see how their government is harming them and flock to distance themselves from it”. that’s preparation for lawfare, it’s a bs illogical excuse for massacring civilians and it is seen as such by rational people.

        and as you are well aware (since you copy pasted my comments from another article) we can have this discussion even after this comment thread closes. i will be around.

      • tod77
        tod77 on September 2, 2014, 10:14 am

        I don’t agree with what Yonah said about only Hamas celebrating.
        It’s obvious that all Gazans are celebrating. Wouldn’t you, after being through what they’ve just been through and staying alive?

        It’s also clear that Palestinians are unified. But they are united behind an idea and not a political party or leader.

        Whether support for Hamas will grow or decline is still unclear, but I expect will depend on their next actions.
        Over the last few years, support for them has definitely been declining.
        Found this link on the Hamas wikipedia:
        http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/07/01/concerns-about-islamic-extremism-on-the-rise-in-middle-east/
        I found it interesting that opinions on Hamas are worse in Gaza than in the west bank.
        (probably also a useful link to counter remarks of: “the Palestinians deserve what happened. They voted for Hamas and support them)”

        Perhaps it would be in Hamas’s best interests to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas, despite his many shortcomings?
        As the saying goes, keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer…

      • tod77
        tod77 on September 2, 2014, 11:05 am

        Hmmm…

        http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/palestines-resistance-political.html

        just posted.

        Support for Hamas is spiking…

        I stand by what I wrote, but the facts don’t ;)

      • annie
        annie on September 2, 2014, 2:37 pm

        I found it interesting that opinions on Hamas are worse in Gaza than in the west bank. –

        todd, check out who’s behind “Pew Global Attitudes Project” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Pew_Global_Attitudes_Project

        chaired by madeline albright. not sure that’s the best source of data on gaza.

      • tod77
        tod77 on September 2, 2014, 4:19 pm

        Thanks Annie,

        Excuse the naivety, but does that mean that pew fabricate data? I couldn’t find any criticism about them online… how can I know who to trust????

    • Marnie
      Marnie on August 29, 2014, 12:22 am

      “Negotiations are not enough with these occupiers.” “Resistance unified the people, and that is our big achievement, we will not return to divisions or disputes.” he added.

      Occupiers – you paying attention this time? Your firestorm, which sought only to destroy and fragment a nation, has only soldered their commitment to unity. You have the firepower, but not the will. They only have what they can carry, but their will and determination is strong and something to behold. Thank God this is over.

      • Bing Bong
        Bing Bong on August 29, 2014, 11:13 am

        How is it over. Are the Gazans no longer occupied?

      • CloakAndDagger
        CloakAndDagger on August 29, 2014, 1:09 pm

        @Bing Bong

        It is the beginning of the end for Israel. You can debate that statement all you want and be an ostrich abut it, but the end is clear for those who choose to see. Gandhi was a supporter of the Palestinians. He would be very proud of them today.

      • Marnie
        Marnie on August 30, 2014, 12:37 am

        Hey Bing Bong – of course not. And it’s going to start up again at some point. I’m happy for this respite, however long it lasts. It would be damn tough to try and regroup, rebuild, reenergize without this end of fighting, however brief it may be.

      • Bing Bong
        Bing Bong on August 30, 2014, 10:30 am

        Perhaps as well as regrouping, re-energising and rebuilding they should rethink the strategy of launching rockets at Israel until Israel strikes back. Because this leads to lots of people getting killed. It’s surprising how strategically dim these Hamas are. Or perhaps they don’t care.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel on August 30, 2014, 11:27 am

        It’s surprising how strategically dim these Hamas are. Or perhaps they don’t care.

        There seems to be a lot of that going around “between the river and the sea”.

    • Talkback
      Talkback on August 29, 2014, 8:24 am

      Yonas: Hamas’s decision to launch this war …

      You’re such a troll …

    • Peace2All
      Peace2All on August 29, 2014, 8:33 am

      Every brutal incursion is Hamas fault…sound pretty familiar line from one liar to another …israel can kill but can never break the Palestinian Will …learn from History don’t try to re-write History ! Palestine will always be in all our hearts….truth shall always prevail.

    • just
      just on August 29, 2014, 8:40 am

      yonah- when you finish interviewing “average Gazans” in Gaza, please run back and tell us what ‘they’ think!

      Absent your investigative journalism, we are better served with the reporting from Gaza and this fact-based journalism from Yousef Alhelou, who ‘is a freelance journalist based in Gaza City’ !

      Thanks in advance– do try to stop with your latest meme. It’s been ineffective here. I am sure that other sites will welcome you to their choir.

      • amigo
        amigo on August 29, 2014, 12:15 pm

        “Absent your investigative journalism, we are better served with the reporting from Gaza and this fact-based journalism from Yousef Alhelou, who ‘is a freelance journalist based in Gaza City’ ! – just

        And notably , Khamas has not yet killed.

    • Kay24
      Kay24 on August 29, 2014, 9:53 am

      Strange how hasbarats rewrite the facts. In their make believe world, it was a one sided war, initiated by Hamas, and the brutal deaths of 2000 Palestinians was all their fault.
      All the death and destruction that the world watched with horror in the media, was all fake, simply an act by Hamas.
      Lame.

      • just
        just on August 29, 2014, 10:06 am

        It boggles the mind of honest people everywhere. Hamas did not “launch this war”.

        Explicit in this kind of propaganda by Israel- firsters are more threats to a truly brave people.

  5. Thank you, Yousef Alhelou, for sharing that perspective, and for communicating it so effectively.

  6. just
    just on August 29, 2014, 9:03 am

    From Max yesterday’s twitter:

    “Max Blumenthal @MaxBlumenthal · Aug 28

    ICRC volunteer just showed me video of a dying child in Khuza’a asking for water, his intestines fully exposed. “We saw far worse,” he says.
    (and)

    I am not sure what to do with so many of the photos or videos I’ve seen from Gaza. They are horrific, yet the crimes demand exposure.
    (and)

    ICRC volunteer tells me he evacuated an 80-yr-old woman who hid for 12 days in Khuza’a in a chicken coop and lived off of bird feed.”

    https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal

  7. globalconsciousness
    globalconsciousness on August 29, 2014, 12:09 pm

    A riposte to a journalist’s canard “shouldn’t you stop teaching your children to hate”
    “We teach life sir”

  8. ivri
    ivri on August 30, 2014, 8:35 am

    I am afraid wishful thinking is not a substitute for reality. I don`t care that Hamas treat it as a victory but how on earth can you compare in the macro picture a mini superpower a Israel has become with newly formed ties to the local key players, as Egypt, Saudi-Arabia and Jordan, and close relationship to the superpower of the world, the US, with an isolated group that fights from tunnels and bank for survival on Israel`s reluctance to hit too many civilians. People here divorced reality in being incapable to see things for what they really are.

    • just
      just on August 30, 2014, 12:09 pm

      ” Israel`s reluctance to hit too many civilians.”

      What ‘reluctance’???

      I’ll never understand some folks’ willingness to walk and talk while being deliberately blind.

  9. tod77
    tod77 on September 2, 2014, 8:54 am

    – Abu Obida, the spokesman of Al-Qassam brigades, said that the conflict had shown the need to completely revise the methods of national struggle. “Negotiations are not enough with these occupiers.”

    Too many in Israel\Palestine miss that what ended this was negotiations, rather than combat.

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