Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

The Palestinian Struggle: Oppression Breeds Resistance

The Palestinian struggle is catastrophic, and any resistance is a natural reaction to occupation, oppression and humiliation.

The Palestinian Struggle
Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinians protesting Israeli settlers (not pictured) who set up tents on lands in Halhoul village north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, on August 1, 2023. HAZEM BADER / AFP

Majed Kayali

Palestinians live in conditions forced upon them by Israel with an iron fist. Since the start of 2023, 174 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army, compared to 232 in all of 2022. Not including Israel’s wars on Gaza, 2022 was the deadliest year on record for Palestinians. The majority of victims were from the West Bank.

These figures point out the reality of the situation in Palestine. Israel occupies Palestinian territories with no concern for international treaties. Moreover, it displays undeniable strength in terms of military power. It controls the Palestinians, their resources and their movements.

The situation in Palestine is catastrophic. The death toll on the Palestinian side between 2006 and 2021, including Israel’s war on Gaza, stands at 7,269, an average of 484 fatalities per year. In contrast, Israel lost 340 Israelis in the same period. In other words, the number of Palestinian casualties is 21 times higher than that of Israelis.

During the same period, 104,919 Palestinians were injured, compared to 3,143 Israelis, which is 23-fold. It is worth noting that the severity of Palestinian injuries was greater.

These past two years saw a wave of martyrdom operations, often carried out by a lone individual with firearms targeting soldiers or settlers, rarely cities. Most perpetrators were young men who grew up after the Second Intifada.

Currently, the style of operations carried out since 2015, involving lone individuals using knives and cars, is picking up again. They reflect the general civil unrest in the Palestinian territories, Jerusalem in particular.

Palestinians have been under Israeli occupation since at least 1967, 56 years ago. Any mention of occupation in this article is in line with the international treaties and agreements of the UN’s Security Council.

Palestinians are the victims of Israel’s occupation of their land. They live in a state of oppression, frustration, anger and hopelessness, especially since all prospects of establishing an independent Palestinian State have been shattered.

In these conditions – accompanied by widespread poverty, unemployment and a lack of opportunities – resistance is a natural reaction to occupation, oppression and humiliation.

At present, a significant and worrisome shift is taking place in the occupied Palestinian territories. Palestinians are dealing with an unapologetic racist colonial administration and extremist settler militias. The settlers live in Palestinian lands illegally, attacking their property and threatening their lives.

This current situation suggests that the conflict between the parties has regressed to a zero-sum game, where it is no longer about how one exists but rather if one can exist at all.

The Palestinian resistance denounces Israel’s settlement policies, land confiscation, house demolitions, arrests and killings. The Israeli regime, on the other hand, has quashed all hope for Palestinians to have a normal and decent life on their land.

Israel’s human and moral losses result from sporadic guerrilla-style operations by young individuals. They are the result of Israel’s oppressive, coercive policies that humiliate Palestinians. The lopsidedness of these policies is highlighted by the illegal settlers’ barbaric attacks on Palestinian families. The attacks are carried out under the protection of the Israeli army, while Palestinians are denied the right of self-defence.

There is a correlation between the Netanyahu government’s extremist policies towards the Palestinians and its policies to undermine its internal democratic process by influencing the justice system and damaging the Supreme Court’s role. In a recent opinion piece published on Haaretz, Israeli analyst Rogel Alper commented on this dynamic and Jewish terrorism against Palestinians:

The settlers who burn and vandalise homes and cars, shops and fields in Palestinian villages are a stain on Israeli society. This is brutal and deadly violence in its raw, animalistic and tribal form, saturated with bitter irony. Liberals protest the dictatorship because it directly threatens them, as if Jewish terrorism is directed only at Palestinians.

But the liberals are wrong: Jewish terrorism threatens them directly. One day it will be directed against them, in its raw form, with torches and forks. Israel has devolved into boundless chaos. Half a million of its citizens live in gated settlements that are illegal under international law. It became tribal with no unifying laws or morals. As a result, civil war might be the only answer.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of our bloggers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Fanack or its Board of Editors.

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