By Yossi Schwartz, Internationalist Socialist League (RCIT Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 23.01.2024
Hamas has published a very interesting document explaining the war of Israel against the Palestinians and the role and aims of Hamas as a national liberation movement.  This document says:
First Part: Why Operation Al-Aqsa Flood?
1. “The battle of the Palestinian people against occupation and colonialism did not start on Oct. 7, but started 105 years ago, including 30 years of British colonialism and 75 years of Zionist occupation. In 1918, the Palestinian people owned 98.5% of the Palestine land and represented 92% of the population on the land of Palestine. While the Jews, who were brought to Palestine in mass immigration campaigns in coordination between the British colonial authorities and the Zionist Movement, managed to seize control of not more than 6% of the lands in Palestine and to be 31% of the population prior to 1948 when the Zionist Entity was announced on the historic land of Palestine.”
This is absolutely true.
2. “Over these long decades, the Palestinian people suffered all forms of oppression, injustice, expropriation of their fundamental rights and the apartheid policies. The Gaza Strip, for example, suffered as of 2007 from a suffocating blockade over 17 years which turned it to be the largest open-air prison in the world. The Palestinian people in Gaza also suffered from five destructive wars\ aggressions all of which “Israel” was the offending party.”
This is also absolutely true.
3. ”According to official figures, in the period between (January 2000 and September 2023), the Israeli occupation killed 11,299 Palestinians and injured 156,768 others, the great majority of them civilians. Unfortunately, the US administration and its allies did not pay attention to the suffering of the Palestinian people over the past years but provided cover to the Israeli aggression. They only lamented the Israeli soldiers who were killed on Oct. 7 even without seeking the truth of what happened, and wrongfully walked behind the Israeli narrative in condemning an alleged targeting of Israeli civilians.”
We cannot verify the numbers, but it seems as the correct number and that Israeli civilians were killed and the question is how?
4. “The Israeli violations and brutality were documented by many UN organizations and international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and even documented by Israeli human rights groups. However, these reports and testimonies were ignored and the Israeli occupation is yet to be held accountable. For example, on Oct. 29, 2021, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan insulted the UN system by tearing up a report for the UN Human Rights Council during an address at the General Assembly, and threw it in a dustbin before leaving the podium. Yet, he was appointed in the following year – 2022 – to the post of vice-president of the UN General Assembly.”
While it is true it lacks an explanation for this cover up and support.
5. ”As for “the peaceful settlement process”. Despite the fact that the Oslo Accords signed in 1993 with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stipulated the establishment of a Palestinian independent state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; “Israel” systematically destroyed every possibility to establish the Palestinian state through a wide campaign of settlements’ construction and Judaization of the Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. The backers of the peace process after 30 years realized that they have reached an impasse and that such process had catastrophic results on the Palestinian people.”
While it is true it is not clear who are the “backers of the peace process after 30 years realized that they have reached an impasse…”
6. “After 75 years of relentless occupation and suffering, and after failing all initiatives for liberation and return to our people, and also after the disastrous results of the so-called peace process, what did the world expect from the Palestinian people to do in response to the following: * The Israeli Judaization plans to the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, its temporal and spatial division attempts, as well as the intensification of the Israeli settlers’ incursions into the holy mosque. * The practices of the extremist and right-wing Israeli government which is practically taking steps towards annexing the entire West Bank and Jerusalem into the so-called “Israel’s sovereignty” amid plans on the Israeli official table to expel Palestinians from their homes and areas. * The thousands of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails who are experiencing deprivation of their basic rights as well as assaults and humiliations under direct supervision of the Israeli fascist minister Itamar Ben-Gvir. * The unjust air, sea, and land blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip over 17 years. * The expansion of the Israeli settlements across the West Bank in an unprecedented level, as well as the daily violence perpetrated by settlers against Palestinians and their properties. * The seven million Palestinians living in extreme conditions in refugee camps and other areas who wish to return to their lands, and who were expelled 75 years ago. * The failure of the international community and the complicit of superpowers to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. What was expected from the Palestinian people after all of that? To keep waiting and to keep counting on the helpless UN! Or to take the initiative in defending the Palestinian people, lands, rights and sanctities; knowing that the defense act is a right enshrined in international laws, norms and conventions. Proceeding from the above, Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on Oct. 7 was a necessary step and a normal response to confront all Israeli conspiracies against the Palestinian people and their cause. It was a defensive act in the frame of getting rid of the Israeli occupation, reclaiming the Palestinian rights and on the way for liberation and independence like all peoples around the world did.”
Absolutely right the Palestinians have the right to fight the occupation by arms and yet what happened to the Israeli civilians on October 7 who were killed and those in captivity?
Second Part: The events of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and responses to the Israeli allegations
1. “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on Oct. 7 targeted the Israeli military sites, and sought to arrest the enemy’s soldiers to pressure the Israeli authorities to release the thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli jails through a prisoners exchange deal. Therefore, the operation focused on destroying the Israeli army’s Gaza Division, the Israeli military sites stationed near the Israeli settlements around Gaza.”
Absolutely legitimate target.
2. “Avoiding harm to civilians, especially children, women and elderly people is a religious and moral commitment by all the Al-Qassam Brigades’ fighters. We reiterate that the Palestinian resistance was fully disciplined and committed to the Islamic values during the operation and that the Palestinian fighters only targeted the occupation soldiers and those who carried weapons against our people. In the meantime, the Palestinian fighters were keen to avoid harming civilians despite the fact that the resistance does not possess precise weapons. In addition, if there was any case of targeting civilians; it happened accidentally and in the course of the confrontation with the occupation forces.”
What does it mean: “despite the fact that the resistance does not possess precise weapons”. What is the implication?
3. ”Maybe some faults happened during Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’s implementation due to the rapid collapse of the Israeli security and military system, and the chaos caused along the border areas with Gaza. As attested by many, the Hamas Movement dealt in a positive and kind manner with all civilians who have been held in Gaza, and sought from the earliest days of the aggression to release them, and that’s what happened during the week-long humanitarian truce where those civilians were released in exchange of releasing Palestinian women and children from Israeli jails.”
This is an admission that some Israeli civilians were killed in the chaos. But what about the others? Some Israelis indeed say they were treated fairly others say that they were abused but this they say after they were tortured by the Shin Bet.
4. “What the Israeli occupation promoted of allegations that the Al-Qassam Brigades on Oct. 7 were targeting Israeli civilians are nothing but complete lies and fabrications. The source of these allegations is the Israeli official narrative and no independent source proved any of them. It is a well-known fact that the Israeli official narrative had always sought to demonize the Palestinian resistance, while also legalizing its brutal aggression on Gaza. Here are some details that go against the Israeli allegations: * Video clips taken on that day – Oct. 7 – along with the testimonies by Israelis themselves that were released later showed that the Al-Qassam Brigades’ fighters didn’t target civilians, and many Israelis were killed by the Israeli army and police due to their confusion. * It has also been firmly refuted the lie of the “40 beheaded babies” by the Palestinian fighters, and even Israeli sources denied this lie. Many of the western media agencies unfortunately adopted this allegation and promoted it. * The suggestion that the Palestinian fighters committed rape against Israeli women was fully denied including by the Hamas Movement. A report by the Mondoweiss news website on Dec. 1, 2023, among others, said there is lack of any evidence of “mass rape” allegedly perpetrated by Hamas members on Oct. 7 and that Israel used such allegation “to fuel the genocide in Gaza.”
This has been our analysis as well. However, it is possible that some Israeli women were raped by angry Gazans who also came to the place after 17 years of siege and brutal bombing in the previous wars on Gaza.
5. “It is also a matter of fact that a number of Israeli settlers in settlements around Gaza were armed, and clashed with Palestinian fighters on Oct. 7. Those settlers were registered as civilians while the fact is they were armed men fighting alongside the Israeli army.”
This is true as well.
6. ”When speaking about Israeli civilians, it must be known that conscription applies to all Israelis above the age of 18 – males who served 32 months of military service and females who served 24 months – where all can carry and use arms. This is based on the Israeli security theory of an “armed people” which turned the Israeli entity into “an army with a country attached.”
There is no question that it is true that all Israelis at the age of 18 serve in the army as regular soldiers and are trained to shoot and kill. This in our opinion does not make them innocent civilians while Hamas sees them as civilians after they served in the army.
7. “The brutal killing of civilians is a systematic approach of the Israeli entity, and one of the means to humiliate the Palestinian people. The mass killing of Palestinians in Gaza is clear evidence of such an approach.”
It is self-evident.
8. “The Al Jazeera news channel said in a documentary that in one month of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, the daily average killing of Palestinian children in Gaza was 136, while the average of children killed in Ukraine – in the course of the Russian-Ukrainian war – was one child every day.”
9. “Those who defend the Israeli aggression do not look at the events in an objective manner but rather go to justify the Israeli mass killing of Palestinians by saying there would be casualties among civilians when attacking the Hamas fighters. However, they would not use such an assumption when it comes to the Al-Aqsa Flood event on Oct. 7. We are confident that any fair and independent inquiries will prove the truth of our narrative and will prove the scale of lies and misleading information on the Israeli side. This also includes the Israeli allegations regarding the hospitals in Gaza that the Palestinian resistance used them as command centers; an allegation that was not proven and was refuted by reports of many western press agencies.”
It is true that using the same excuse that civilians are killed in Gaza as Israel is targeting Hamas fighters and applying it to October 7th it justified the killing of all Israeli civilians. No other than Aharon Barak said that killing five Palestinian children in order to kill one Hamas fighter is reasonable and justified.
Part three: Towards a transparent international investigation
1. “Palestine is a member-state of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and it acceded to its Rome Statute in 2015. When Palestine asked for investigation into Israeli war crimes committed on its territories, it was faced by Israeli intransigence and rejection, and threats to punish the Palestinians for the request to ICC. It is also unfortunate to mention that there were great powers, which claim to be holding values of justice, completely sided with the occupation narrative and stood against the Palestinian moves in the international justice system. These powers want to keep “Israel” as a state above the law and to ensure it escapes liability and accountability”.
Very true even though no explanation for the support of Israel is provided.
2. ”We urge these countries, especially the US administration, Germany, Canada and the UK, if they are meant for justice to prevail as they claim, they are ought to announce their support to the course of the investigation in all crimes committed in occupied Palestine and to give full support for the international courts to effectively do their job.”
This appeal is nonsense as these states are acting in self-interest as Israel is the front line of Western imperialism in the region. Only the mass revolutionary struggle can lead to the end of Western imperialists support for Israel. Hamas however is afraid of an independent revolutionary mass struggle of the workers and the poor peasants.
3. ”Despite having doubts from these countries to stand by justice, we still urge the ICC Prosecutor and his team to immediately and urgently come to occupied Palestine to look into the crimes and violations committed there, rather than merely observing the situation remotely or being subject to the Israeli restrictions”
Nothing is wrong with a call for the ICC investigation, but we should not have illusions in it. The real solution will come first by the mass pressure in the form of a united front of the masses on the states claiming they support the Palestinians with actions not by words and in the real struggle for socialist revolution and the forming the socialist federation of the Middle East with a Palestine red and free from the river to the sea. A solution that Hamas opposes.
4.“In Dec. 2022, when the UN General Assembly passed a resolution seeking opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of “Israel’s” illegal occupation of Palestinian territories, those (few) countries who back “Israel” announced their rejection to the move that was approved by nearly 100 countries. And when our people – and their legal and rights groups – sought to pursue prosecutions against the Israeli war criminals in front of the European countries courts – through the system of universal jurisdiction – the European regimes obstructed the moves in favor of the Israeli war criminals to remain running free.”
5. “The events of Oct. 7 must be put in its broader context, and that all cases of struggle against colonialism and occupation in our contemporary time be evoked. These experiences of struggle show that in the same level of oppression committed by the occupier; there would be an equivalent response by the people under occupation.”
Very true but for the oppressed to win more than political independence the strategy of the permanent revolution is needed leading to free democratic Palestine from the river to the sea with a revolutionary rule of working-class government in alliance with the Falahin.
6. “The Palestinian people and peoples across the world realize the scale of lies and deception these governments that back the Israeli narrative practice in their attempts to justify their blind bias and to cover the Israeli crimes. These countries know the root causes of the conflict which are the occupation and the denial of the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity on their lands. These countries show no interest towards the continuation of the unjust blockade on millions of Palestinians in Gaza, and also show no interest towards the thousands of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails held under conditions where their basic rights are mostly denied”.
True these are the imperialists that must be smashed if humanity is to live.
7. “We hail the free people of the world from all religions, ethnicities and backgrounds who rally in all capitals and cities worldwide to voice their rejection to the Israeli crimes and massacres, and to show their support for the rights of the Palestinian people and their just cause.“
In this part Hamas states that it is a national liberation movement that we agree with, and we support them in the war against Israel but we do not agree with their program as it cannot lead to socialist revolution that is the only solution.
Down with the Imperialists!
Down with the Zionist state!
For Palestine red and free from the river to the sea!
 Hamas Media Office: Our Narrative… Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, January 2024, https://static.poder360.com.br/2024/01/Hamas-documento-guerra-Gaza-21jan2024.pdf