For many Palestinians, the national objective of their lifetime is to see their country free from the Israeli occupation. On the ground, you will find many Palestinian resistance movements with varies ideologies and backgrounds; in the past the majority of these adopted secular ideologies, but today Hamas, an Islamic movement, has the mainstream support among Palestinians.
Palestine has never been an independent state like other countries in the Middle East region. It was put under British mandate in the wake of World War I and as a result, the state of Israel was established in 1948 on 78% of Palestinian territory.
Although all political groups in Palestine and in Palestinian communities around the world have a defined ideology and opinion on ways of ending the occupation, many supporters are less concerned about the ideologies behind the various group than they are about liberating the Palestinian territories. You can even find overlaps between ideology; a secular movement in Palestine using religious phrases from the Quran in their statements – members of the Islamic movements in Palestine use quotes from secular figures, like the well-known Palestinian communist poet Tawfiq Ziad.
In my view, it is normal to find that members of communist movements such as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian People’s Party either have no clue or only superficial knowledge of Communism. I also believe that this situation is regular in Islamic movements such as Hamas and Jihad. The majority of their members do not have a clear view of the objectives of the movement that they are in.
Still, the main objective of resistance movements in this context is the struggle to free Palestine. When a Palestinian says Palestine, he means the entire territory between the river of Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, not necessarily recognizing the state of Israel. The Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fateh) is the only exception, which recognized the existence of the state of Israel on 78% of Palestinian land in 1988. The recognition was declared in 1988 and signed in 1993 by Fateh leader Yasser Arafat in theOslo accords.
In the same vein, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) accepted the “two-state” solution which means practically the acceptance of the existence of Israel. In my view, both movements still use the entire Palestinian map on their logos and official documents and their website to keep up the appearance that that they are still demanding the historical Palestine to be free from the occupation. It is worth mentioning that Fateh was established three years before the Israeli occupation of the West bank and Gaza with the Egyptian Sinai peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights in the six days war in 1967.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is officially considered as a far-left, secular Marxism“Leninism movement, is known for using martyrdom operations in the past similarly to Islamic movements like Hamas and Jihad. Martyrdom operations are usually referred in the western media as suicide bombing. A clear indication that the motivational ideologies are not inseparable.
It is my belief that Hamas has gained their current popularity among the Palestinian population due to their active resistance against the occupation more than the ideology of the Muslim brotherhood movement has adopted. Despite the fact that the majority of Palestinians are Muslims, I do not think everyone has a full understanding of the fundamentals of the Muslim brotherhood’s objectives.
Since the 8th of July this year, the Gaza strip has been subjected to open war between Israeli forces and national resistance groups, but while the militant segments of the Palestinian movements actively engaged in combat, they did not use martyrdom operations. Some would argue that this choice of strategy is for reasons of operational difficulties, but I think also to avoid the association with Al-Qaeda and The Islamic State organizations in Syria and Iraq. During the war, they have neither targeted any occupational civilian target while the Israeli occupation forces have aimed mainly at civilians. This has lead to the death of about 2000 Palestinians while the resistance has terminated 120 Israeli soldiers, according to their own sources, and 68 according to the occupational sources.
Meanwhile, the development in the performance of the Palestinian resistance has been very noticeable in this war. If you compare the facts that come in across international news sources, the report is that Palestinian resistance manages to largely avoid the civil population while there have been continued reports on how the occupational forces have attacked schools, universities, homes and hospitals in Gaza. The resistance movement had also agreed on a demand list to accept the cease fire. The demands are to lift the siege on the Gaza strip which has been going for seven years, opening the port, which was proposed in 1996, and reopening Gaza airport which was closed after being bombed by the occupational army in 2001.
I believe lifting the siege on Gaza and building the port and the airport will be considered a clear Palestinian victory for all Palestinians regarding of their political or religious beliefs, which would encourage the Palestinian resistance to continue their struggle to free their land from the river to the sea.
Image credit: Activists around the world for Palestine via Facebook.com