Palestinian armed struggle: The resistance that dare not speak its name

Al Quds Brigades

 Members of Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement at a gathering for Islamic Jihad commander Khaled Mansour, who was killed on the first day of “Operation Breaking Dawn”, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on August 8, 2022 (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)

Palestinian armed struggle is so misunderstood that it may be described as the resistance that dare not speak its name. On account of this resistance, Meta has restricted me and many other activists on social media from posting or commenting on the grounds that we are violating its community standards on “dangerous individuals and organizations”!

Dangerous to whom? Dangerous to a Zionist Jewish state armed to the teeth, going about its business of wantonly executing Palestinian resistance leaders in the Gaza Strip, Jenin and Nablus, and along with them taking out a few dozen Palestinian children.

Part of the reason for this widespread “misunderstanding” of the Palestinian armed struggle for liberation from a vicious settler-colonial Jewish supremacist regime in Palestine since 1948 has to do with Israel’s propaganda that its hasbara machine disseminates far and wide through Jewish organizations. The strategy is simple, and has been a cornerstone of Israeli sick and underhanded hasbara at least since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Consider an article The Jerusalem Post published on Aug 14 titled: Jihadi terrorists use humor to reinforce identity — study: Academics examined 82 jihadi magazines published in English and found that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in particular use mockery and parody.

As Sivan Tal notes, the piece puts “Jihadi terrorists” in the title and goes on to discusses a study that examines 82 Jihadi magazines published in English, none of which is Palestinian. Palestinians are not mentioned anywhere in the article’s text. And yet, Palestinians are starring in the top photo attached to the piece (the same top photo above I am using in this blog post). Israeli propaganda always tries to tie all Islamic factions together within a manufactured “terrorist world” and “war on terror”, even when the issue is not related, as is the case here. Subtly, Israel plants the idea that Palestinian armed resistance is terrorism, period. Thus, it brainwashes not only Israelis but also the rest of the world, including Arab regimes, terrified for their own security from the Islamist tide.

That Palestinian voices are censored on social and mainstream media in favor of Israel’s narrative above (as well as its narrative that smears the Palestinian struggle for liberation as antisemitic) is no secret. Israel’s “antisemitism” narrative in the context of Palestine has backfired to the detriment of the fight against true antisemitism in the world. The narrative against Palestinian armed struggle is now also beginning to lose its potency. In the past couple of weeks, for example, Ilan Pappé asked boldly in The Palestine Chronicle, ‘When Will the West Publicly Endorse the Right of the Palestinians to Defend Themselves?’ And the Masar Badil (Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement) both mourned the death of the great leader, Tayseer (also spelled Taysir) al-Jabari “Abu Mahmoud”, of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement and urged immediate action to confront the Zionist aggression and support the resistance in Gaza in the form of widespread participation in demonstrations and actions to be held in Oslo, Basel and Brussels.

But the news of the rise of Palestinian legitimate and revolutionary resistance against Israel in all its forms (both in word and deed) has yet to reach Meta, whose rules and distribution policies and practices continue to be slanted. The post (in Arabic) I got the restriction for by Meta (with a threat of further punishment: “If your content goes against our Community Standards again, your account may be restricted or disabled”) quoted a press release by The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine and its military arm, Saraya al-Quds, mourning Israel’s execution of the great Jihadist leader Tayseer al-Jabari in Gaza and expressing a hope of God’s mercy for all martyrs.

If you google “Tayseer al-Jabari” to try to find out information about him, you will discover that the top link after Wikipedia is not to Masar Badil’s article about him or that of Alarabiya News, but rather to the report in the Zionist mouthpiece The Jerusalem Post, followed by link after link of Israeli sources. In fact, you never do get to any Palestinian or Arab sources about him. That’s because there’s a conspiracy to silence our voices, a ‘meta’ enterprise not to reflect Palestinian narrative, but to reflect the reflectors who reflect Israeli propaganda.

I am waiting for Meta’s algorithm to circle around and locate my post on Ibrahim Nabulsi (another Palestinian leader recently executed extrajudicially by Israeli forces in Nablus) and then extend my current punishment (restriction) for my Aug 5 post on Tayseer al-Jabari.

In the post about Ibrahim, I wrote: “If Palestinians bring so much courage to this world, Israel has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. Israel breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.” (Adapted from a Hemingway quote but in our case, there is no Farewell to Arms; rather, we will continue to bear arms against a sea of troubles)

Ibrahim Nabulsi

Caption: Ibrahim Nabulsi, a commander of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah’s armed wing), executed amid gunfire exchanges with Israeli soldiers in the heart of Nablus’ old city on 9 August 2022.

And I added the following information (collected from various news sources) about him:

Ibrahim, a Palestinian hero: “My message to everyone is to protect our homeland.”
Ibrahim Nabulsi, a commander of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah’s armed wing) at 19, watched many of his comrades lose their lives to the occupation. He was born into a reality that forced him to mature at a young age. Israeli forces killed him along with three Palestinians during a raid on a house in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. He had survived previous assassination attempts and was extra-judicially executed amid gunfire exchanges with Israeli soldiers in the heart of Nablus’ old city on 9 August 2022.

Nabulsi (19), along with Islam Sobhi (28), Muhammad Azizi (25) and Hussain Jamal Taha (16), were pronounced dead in Rafidia Hospital, raising the total number of Palestinians murdered by Israeli forces in 2022 to 129, including at least 34 children.

Ibrahim al-Nabulsi’s father said: “Ibrahim was hunting them, not the other way around.”

Nabulsi’s mother, addressing the crowd of angry supporters, mourned his death with ululations: “Ibrahim triumphed,” she said, parting her fingers in a V for victory: “My son, who is dearer to me than my own soul, has returned to his lord.”

A voice message recorded by Nabulsi minutes before he was shot was reported widely by local media, in which he urged Palestinians to resist Israel:“I love you mother. My message to everyone is to protect our homeland. Do not give up your arms. I am barricaded now. I am going to be martyred.”

I wish I knew how Meta’s distribution system works and why posts narrating the new Palestinian revolution in the making often go nowhere. My post on the martyrdom of Ibrahim Nabulsi, for example, reached 4.4k people and had 663 engagements, according to Meta’s stats, after I laboriously shared it myself 39 times on various sites. Its distribution score was lower than average. On the other hand, the following fairly innocuous image I posted on August 13, which I did not distribute myself at all, reached 183,593 people (and still counting), had close to 9.8k engagements and performed much better than average.

fallen tree

Caption: “This tree fell a long time ago, but it never gave up. Must be in Palestine!”

The meme I wrote for the image above is: “This tree fell a long time ago, but it never gave up. Must be in Palestine!” Who knew it would have more distribution on Meta than posts about the very Palestinians who never gave up, who fell standing up like trees.

Note: First published on Medium here.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem and whose mother’s side of the family is from Ijzim, south of Haifa. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.


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