Within the early morning hours of Saturday, October 7, Palestinians throughout the West Financial institution woke as much as the sound of explosions.
Nobody actually knew what was taking place till reviews began trickling in that fighters from Gaza had taken management of Beit Hanoun crossing – the one one via which Gaza residents could attain the remainder of historic Palestine on the extraordinarily uncommon events the occupier permits them to.
Quickly info appeared on social media that the wall that Israel had erected across the Gaza Strip to maintain its 2.3 million individuals completely imprisoned had been breached.
After which got here the images and photographs of the damaged wall. In a single video, displaying a bulldozer bringing down the wall, a Palestinian man may be heard chanting in exhilaration: “Sure, go! Allahu Akbar [God is the Greatest]! Hit it, guys! Relaxation in peace, wall!”
It was unbelievable. It felt surreal. We puzzled the way it was potential that the individuals of Gaza had damaged out of their jail.
Few on the planet would perceive our emotions in that second. Maybe political prisoners would possibly.
The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian inhabitants remaining in historic Palestine has been born in jail and solely is aware of jail. Gaza is totally sealed off from the remainder of the world by Israel’s apartheid wall and subjected to a debilitating siege, wherein its neighbour Egypt fortunately partakes.
Within the occupied West Financial institution, all entry and exit factors of each Palestinian village, city, and metropolis are managed by the Israeli occupation forces; Palestinians – not like the Israeli settlers stealing their land – don’t have any freedom of motion.
Our imprisonment additionally options jail labour. With the Israeli occupation suffocating the Palestinian financial system and the ensuing excessive unemployment charge, Palestinians are pressured to hunt work from their jail wardens. The Israeli authorities, after all, strictly management this course of, issuing Palestinians “work permits” and sometimes arbitrarily revoking them.
As in an actual jail, we’re additionally subjected to round the clock surveillance via cameras in public locations, drones, the tapping of telephones and telecommunications, a community of infiltrators and spies, and so on.
And naturally, identical to prisoners, we’re “punished” for “misbehaving”. In Gaza, punishment means indiscriminate bombardment of densely populated areas that all the time leads to the mass killing of civilians.
Within the West Financial institution, we’re subjected to “search-and-arrest raids” on a nightly foundation, the place occupiers invade our properties, brutalise our family members in entrance of terrified youngsters and take them away (typically the youngsters themselves) to detain them indefinitely with out cost. Capturing lifeless Palestinian civilians in these raids is, after all, a daily incidence.
On this context, seeing these photos and movies of the jail wall torn down in Gaza is liberating. Their symbolic energy can’t be overstated.
We felt the identical exhilaration again in 2021 once we heard the information that six Palestinian political prisoners had damaged out of Israeli jail. That they had dug a tunnel out of jail utilizing spoons, items of steel, and a great deal of persistence.
That jail break grew to become an emblem of Palestinian perseverance. Palestinians cheered on the prisoners as they evaded their jail wardens for days. We celebrated their easy acts of savouring freedom – consuming a prickly pear for the primary time in 20 years, hugging a cow, strolling within the hills of Nazareth. We breathed freedom with them, as if we have been additionally free.
The liberating feeling of breaking out of jail has additionally come from our courageous imprisoned starvation strikers. In 2011, Khader Adnan, who had been detained by the Israelis on and off with out a cost for a decade, began a starvation strike in opposition to one more unjust detention. He was joined by tons of of Palestinian prisoners. Regardless of threats and mistreatment, he persevered till sufficient strain constructed up and Israel was pressured to launch him. We additionally celebrated Adnan’s freedom as if it have been our personal.
These transient moments of rupture in our actuality of imprisonment are without delay terrifying and exhilarating. In fact, they’re all the time short-lived – transient situations of Palestinian triumph earlier than the insufferable weight of Israeli navy domination comes again crushing us.
The preliminary euphoria of seeing the apartheid wall come down in Gaza was shortly overtaken by the terrifying realisation of what would come subsequent.
We knew battle broke out the second Palestinians in Gaza broke out of their Israeli jail. My conversations with friends and buddies, my group chats, telephone calls – all have been dominated by the identical darkish premonition: “They will kill us all.”
We all know, from direct expertise, what Israel’s policy of revenge means. We additionally know that it doesn’t matter what savagery its military commits, the West would “stand by” it and level to “Palestinian crimes”.
Israel had waged 5 wars on Gaza, every time mass killing Palestinian civilians as Western leaders justified the slaughter with the acquainted mantra “Israel has the correct to defend itself.”
And naturally, that’s precisely what is occurring now. Israel is carpet bombing Gaza. It has imposed a full blockade on Gaza, with no water, electrical energy, meals or medication coming into the Strip. Telecommunications infrastructure has been bombarded, successfully chopping off Palestinians in Gaza from the remainder of the world. In the meantime, the West Financial institution has been fully blocked; checkpoints closed all throughout, successfully paralysing the entire territory. Israeli troopers are capturing Palestinians and inspiring settlers to take action as effectively.
And but, the West is “standing by” its ally, Israel, and its “proper to defend itself” from the individuals it brutally occupies and oppresses. Western nations are lapping up Israeli propaganda, that it’s preventing “Islamic terrorism”, that “Hamas is ISIS”, that Palestinians are “sub-human”, that they’re “beheading infants”. All pretences of morality, logic and fact have been dropped as a way to justify the mass killing of Palestinians.
Up to now seven days, the Israeli military has killed greater than 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza, together with 600 youngsters. Its troopers have murdered not less than 53 Palestinians within the West Financial institution. Because the begin of the 12 months, 250 others have been killed, making it essentially the most deadly 12 months for the reason that United Nations started documenting fatalities in 2004-2005.
All of this we anticipated. All of this nonetheless is painful and horrifying. All of this may go down into Palestinian historical past as one more episode of resistance by the Palestinians and mass slaughter and ethnic cleaning by Israel.
Nonetheless, not like different moments in Palestinian historical past, one thing is completely different this time. Not solely did Palestinians handle to interrupt free from their jail in Gaza – albeit for a short time – but additionally for the primary time, they dealt a blow that can have a far-reaching influence.
The Palestinians have struck Israel the place it has struck Palestinians for greater than 75 years: lives and land. The Israeli conceitedness and sense of safety that it will probably oppress, kill and steal land with impunity have been shattered.
We’ve been held hostage by Israel for many years. We’ve been prisoners in our land for generations. However this October, the wimpy child lastly acquired his punch and the bully is now shaken.
As our oppressors are out killing indiscriminately in blind rage, an uncomfortable feeling is creeping in amongst them that the jail they’re holding us in is beginning to crumble.
The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.