Humiliation – the Trials of a Tyrant
There have been 248 deaths – including 66 children – over 1,900 wounded, 17,000 residential and commercial units destroyed, over 90,000 displaced from their homes, and much of Gaza’s infrastructure badly damaged or completely levelled. This does not even touch upon the irreversible psychological damage caused to its residents – this was the aftermath in the latest string of Israeli brutality.
The barbaric 11-day onslaught on besieged Gaza concluded on the 21st of May 2021 after a ‘ceasefire’ was agreed. A ‘ceasefire’ that is seemingly only designed to provoke, with multiple incidents of Jewish settler groups storming Masjid al-Aqsa, backed by Israeli police, reported only a few hours following the truce.
Whilst we mourn our martyrs and take account of devastation, it is important to acknowledge the tectonic shift in sentiment against the Israeli state. This latest senseless massacre has only brought about humiliation for the terror regime on the world stage.
Erosion of the Zionist Narrative
With a global viewership witnessing the bombings of refugee camps, orphanages, residential buildings, international press offices; assassination of doctors and generations of civilian families; destruction of hospital routes, attacks on medical staff and mob lynching under police protection, laying the blame solely on Hamas has become a predictable source of ridicule.
The apartheid state is no longer able to hold onto its factitious narrative. The latest campaign of death and horror has only amplified the Palestinian struggle. War crimes were visible for all to see.
The world is no longer silent to their brutality, and hearts and minds have started to change.
Change in Sentiment
Over the course of this article, we look to explore the change in global dynamics across various domains, starting with the political shift.
Many Israeli politicians have branded the ceasefire a humiliating capitulation. Avigdor Lieberman, former Israeli Defence Minister, labelled the ceasefire as “another failure of Netanyahu.”
Just a few days after the truce, Israeli police began an aggressive campaign labelled “operation law and order.” It is said to be a direct retaliation to Israel’s humiliation. The operation looks to detain and penalise Palestinians who took part in demonstrations against settler violence. Arrests are said to “intimidate and to exact revenge on Palestinian citizens of Israel – ‘to settle the score’ in the Israeli police’s own words – for their political positions and activities.”
Arab-Israeli politician Ahmad Tibi told Al Jazeera: “The Israeli police lost their ability to frighten and terrorise the Palestinians. This is why they launched this campaign. They want to restore this feeling of terror in us, to teach us a lesson. But they also want to disrupt Palestinian unity – which is what this uprising is all about.”4
Despite the shameful support of Israeli brutality under the Biden administration, the political landscape in the US is changing. Younger generations are considerably more sympathetic to the Palestinians, and the diverse members of Democrats in congress have lobbied for an end to occupation and sanctions on Israel.
The US’s decision to block a UN statement thrice in one week drew heavy criticism.
Former Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, a Jew who lived in Israel, criticised Israel’s military campaign. He tweeted, “The devastation in Gaza is unconscionable. We must urge an immediate ceasefire. The killing of Palestinians and Israelis must end. We must also take a hard look at nearly $4 billion a year in military aid to Israel. It is illegal for US aid to support human rights violations.”
The blocking of the UN statement, which looked to condemn Israel’s military response, and call for a ceasefire came as no surprise. The USA is one of Israel’s biggest allies and only recently agreed a $735m precision weapons sale to the apartheid state.
Senator Bernie Sanders not only criticised the grotesque trade but also introduced a resolution to block the sale. Although the passing of such a resolution is increasingly unlikely, the message against the apartheid state is clear.
UK & Ireland
High-profile advocates of a free Palestine continued to voice their dismay at Israel’s military violence. High-profile MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Zarah Sultana spoke in demonstrations that drew in crowds of hundreds of thousands of people. Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi and Richard Burgon spoke defiantly in parliament, and Sayeeda Warsi passionately addressed the House of Lords, condemning the UK government’s failure to uphold its own policy on Palestine. Palestinian Ambassador, Husam Zomlot, excellently quashed the ‘two sides’ narrative through his UK media appearances. His ability to remain calm and eloquently dismantle illogical arguments is a stark contrast to the woeful Israeli Ambassador, whose recent media appearances are nothing short of a train wreck.
Scotland’s First Minister and SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon took to twitter to condemn the initial attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque writing: “Attacking a place of worship at any time is reprehensible but attacking a mosque during Ramadan is utterly indefensible. It is also a violation of international law. Israel should heed calls to halt the violence immediately. #SheikhJarrah” 
In a historic move, Ireland became the first EU state to recognise Israel’s de facto annexation of Palestine in contravention of international law. Ronan Burtenshaw, editor of the UK’s socialist Tribune Magazine, described the move as: “A landmark on the road to isolating an apartheid state as we did in the 1980s. Next stop: Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.”
Rest of World
Pakistan and Turkey vowed to jointly raise the Palestine issue with members of the UNG Qatar and Egypt pledged $500m towards reconstruction in Palestine, with Qatar’s foreign minister adding: “We will continue to support our brothers in Palestine to reach a just and lasting solution by establishing their independent state.”  Kuwait MPs submitted a bill banning any dealing or normalisation with Israel and a jail sentence of up to three years and a KD5,000 fine for any expression of sympathy with the state. Even Saudi Arabia and UAE condemned Israel over forced evictions and al-Aqsa clashes.
Perhaps the clearest sign of a change in the status quo is the change in reporting of the world’s largest media agencies.
Billion-dollar outlets in the West simply could not hide Israeli brutality. Sky News Middle East correspondent, Mark Stone, reported on the provocative Israeli police and military:
“I saw a lot more instances of entirely unnecessary, provocative behaviour by Israeli police/military today. At Damascus Gate (stun grenades thrown at peaceful Palestinian group), in Sheikh Jarrah (skunk water fired on Palestinian homes) & Bethlehem (volleys of tear gas).”
Probing why such behaviour was not investigated, Stone concluded “I’ve worked here for quite some time and when you ask the Israelis for an investigation, they say they’re doing one, but you never actually get the results. Those are the facts”16
The Middle Eastern correspondent also shared videos of press violations in Masjid al-Aqsa following the ceasefire. CNN producer Kareem Khader was one of five journalists who were beaten by Israeli security forces in Masjid al-Aqsa following Friday prayers on the 21st of May.
Bombing of International Press Offices
The destruction of international press offices in Gaza marked a significant moment at the height of the massacre.
The 11-story al-Jalaa building housing international media offices including Al Jazeera, Associated Press, as well as residential apartments, was bombed on the 15th of May 2021. Israel warned residents to evacuate the building only an hour before the air raid and cited the existence of a Hamas military asset base as the reason for the bombing. Israel provided no evidence for these claims.
The 11-day military bombardment highlighted the power of social media. Videos of raw, unfiltered atrocities were available for all to see. There was simply no hiding place for the terror state, despite its best efforts to censor Palestinian support.
There was a noted close cooperation between social media companies and the Israeli government, with the Defence Minister Benny Gantz meeting executives of TikTok and Facebook, during the massacre. He insisted companies remove posts that ‘spread misinformation’ and the companies reportedly ‘expressed their commitments to quickly and effectively’ remove content.
Many social media users reported that their posts were blocked, hidden or deleted on a host of platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. The platforms cited technical updates and automated system errors as reasons for content visibility, or lack thereof.
Such censorship is seen as an old tactic designed to suppress and control the narrative, and the coincidental timing left the credibility of such platforms compromised. Users retaliated, with pro-Palestinian protesters, by coordinating efforts to tank Facebook ratings. Apple refused to remove negative reviews at Facebook’s request and App ratings plunged from over 4 stars to 2.3 within a week.
The Israeli government is known to spend significantly on ‘state-backed trolls.’ Act.IL, an online platform developed to recruit and organise a troll army, was launched in partnership with the Ministry of Strategic Affairs in 2017. The platform receives funding and guidance from the Israeli state and has been described as a ‘deceptive government-backed public relations activity that falsely creates the impression of a spontaneous grassroots campaign.’
Information warfare is nothing new to the terror state. Israel is known to offer fellowships, scholarships and grants to foster pro-Israeli advocacy, while several individuals from journalists to bloggers work to spin a positive image of the country. It is through such incentives that a discourse of ‘both sides’ and ‘self-defense’ is achieved, whilst simultaneously bombarding the Palestinian people.
It is comforting to see that the truth was able to be separated from falsehood despite such desperate efforts. The ability to shape public perception and war narratives is weaker than ever, and it should act as a reminder to us that Allah saved Hellfire to be the gathering place for those who spend their wealth to avert from the straight path.
He, (subhānahu wa taʿālā), says in the Qur’ān:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَٰلَهُمْ لِيَصُدُّوا۟ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ فَسَيُنفِقُونَهَا ثُمَّ تَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ حَسْرَةً ثُمَّ يُغْلَبُون ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ جَهَنَّمَ يُحْشَرُونَ
Indeed, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to avert [people] from the way of Allah. So they will spend it; then it will be for them a [source of] regret; then they will be overcome. And those who have disbelieved – unto Hell they will be gathered.
Israel’s cruelty did not only galvanise the Ummah, but it mobilised many non-Muslims into action. Hundreds of thousands from over 150 cities participated in protests in solidarity with Palestine, for this was truly a global issue.
In the UK alone, a not-for-profit NGO, Friends of Al-Aqsa reported 150,000 and 200,000 protestors in two separate demonstrations in London. An astounding turnout, considering demonstrations were held only one week apart.
Friends of Al-Aqsa continues to push the British government to end its complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian following the largest Palestine solidarity demonstration in British history. There are growing calls for Britain to impose sanctions on Israel and end its extensive arms trade.
The power of protest should not be downplayed. History has shown how such movements provide the catalyst for monumental change.
Athletes across a spectrum of sports were quick to show solidarity with Palestine.
Mesut Özil was one of several distinguished footballers who spoke out amid Israeli violence
Arsenal Sponsor Controversy
Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny upset club sponsors, Lavazza, with a post in support of Palestine. Lavazza demanded ‘urgent talks’ with the club stating baseless racism and anti-Semitism arguments. Despite Arsenal’s historic failure of supporting their players, notably failing to back Mesut Özil’s comments on the persecuted Uighur Muslims, the club defended Elneny stating: “As with any employees of Arsenal, our players are entitled to express their views on their own platforms. That said, we are speaking to Mo about this, so he understands the wider implications of his post.” 
Furthermore, Lavazza’s actions were met with public backlash and concerns of the coffee maker brand supporting the ongoing slaughter in Palestine. An ongoing boycott campaign and negative reviews on Lavazza’s social media platforms followed. 
As live sporting events opened to the wider public following the easing of covid measures in the UK, advocacy among footballing stars continued in notable fashion, with solidarity displayed on the pitch.
Manchester United’s Muslim stars Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo held the Palestinian flag in the teams’ final home game of the season. The club has among the largest sporting fanbase in the world.
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez, of Algerian heritage, held the Palestinian flag during Premier League’s victory celebrations, a league that is regarded as the best and most competitive in the world.
Leicester City’s Muslim duo, Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana carried the Palestinian flag in celebrations following the club’s FA cup victory over Chelsea. The solidarity was not only displayed to a large-scale, with the game breaking peak audience viewership numbers, but it also brought about a sense of justice since the club, whose owners fund illegal Israeli settler groups, was defeated.
British rapper and activist Lowkey excellently writes: “Leicester defeat the team owned by Roman Abramovich, funder of Zionist settler group Elad (cleansing Jerusalem of Palestinians), to win the FA Cup. Two of their players celebrate waving the Palestinian flag. Poetic justice.”
Celebrities and Social Influencers
Despite Israel’s familiarity with dramatisation, their latest round of massacres did not sweep well under the red carpet. A host of high-profile A-listers, historically silent on such matters, spoke out against the tyrannical state.
Actors, singers and models all took to social media platforms in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
This public showing only seemed to rile Israel into action. Many posts in support of the Palestinian people were quickly deleted without explanation. Models Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton and F1 star Lewis Hamilton all deleted posts shortly after they were shared.
Palestinian-American models Bella and Gigi Hadid were among others in the fashion industry to speak out. Israel’s official social media account falsely accused Bella Hadid of wanting to throw Jewish people “into the sea.”40
Ironically, the source of Israel’s greatest fury may have come from a fictional character who does not like being angry. Long standing Palestine-advocate and The Incredible Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo shared a petition calling for international leaders to impose sanctions on key Israeli industries, he tweeted: “Sanctions on South Africa helped free its Black people – it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #GazaUnderAttack”
The petition gathered over 3.1 million signatures in under two weeks.
Dock workers in both Italy and South Africa made headlines after refusing to handle Israeli shipments. In Livorno, Italy, a port workers’ union refused to load an arms shipment after discovering it was destined for Israel. Meanwhile, dock workers in Durban, South Africa, refused to offload cargo from an Israeli container ship. Over 100 supporters then took part in protest action in solidarity with the Durban dock workers.
In the UK, pro-Palestine protestors shut down Elbit Systems, a part Israeli-owned combat drone factory in Leicester, for six days. Protestors scaled the roof of the factory, disrupting production.
Fire crews attended the scene to confirm safety, only to later withdraw after learning protesters were representing the Palestinian solidarity group, Palestine Action. A spokesman for the Leicestershire Fire Brigades Union said: “Union officials immediately reminded senior managers that as firefighters, we are, and remain, a proud humanitarian service and our role does not involve law enforcement.” Leicestershire brigade chair Graham Vaux added: “The Fire Brigades Union stand in support of Palestinian solidarity and the right to protest.”49
Around 500 people were said to be outside the factory in support. The Palestine Action group confirmed they would return to the location and target other Elbit-owned locations across the UK.
Just days later, another Israeli arms factory was occupied. Activists from Palestine Action forced the Tamworth site into closure, disrupting arms production.
Norway’s $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest wealth fund – excluded firms for their activities associated with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In a statement the fund said exclusion was: “due to unacceptable risk that the companies contribute to systematic violations of individuals’ rights in situations of war or conflict.”
One of the big five tech companies, Google, faced calls to support Palestinians amid Israel’s bombing of Gaza. A group of Jewish employees wrote to leadership asking for a statement recognising the harm done by Israeli military and settler gang violence.
Al Jazeera reports, the letter calls on Google to “centre” the voices of Palestinian Google employees going forward; fund relief for Palestinians “affected by military violence”; “reject any definitions of antisemitism that hold that criticism of Israel or Zionism is anti-Semitism”; and the review and termination of “contracts with institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, such as the Israeli Defence Forces.”
Īmān of the Believer
Whilst the change in sentiment across various domains gives reason for optimism, it is the unwavering strength of the Palestinian people that provides confidence of victory.
Several emotional accounts of ethnic cleansing were circulated extensively across social media platforms. Whilst these accounts are deeply traumatic, it should not overcome the viewer with grief and sorrow, rather great inspiration should be taken from the steadfastness displayed by the Palestinians.
Of the most widely shared videos, five drew out particular inspiration:
1) As Shaban Aslim, the owner of Gaza’s largest bookstore, stood in front of the rubble of his flattened store destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, he told the interviewer:
“I would restrict myself, my children and my siblings from eating so that I can afford to open my shop, alḥamdullilāh in any case, alḥamdullilāh”
2) A husband-to-be, whose fiancé was killed in the bombing of Gaza, said with a smile:
“All praise is due to Allah, all of them were martyred. Indeed, to Allah we belong and to Him we must return. By Allah I am happy, she was martyred. As the martyr is an intercessor for 70 of his/her family members, and I hope I will be the first she intercedes for. And by the permission of Allah she will be from the leaders of Ḥūr al-ʿAyn by the will of Allah. I praise Allah for everything.”
3) Waseem al-Qoulaq spoke this after discovering 22 members of his family, spanning 4 generations ages 6 months to 90 years old, were killed indiscriminately without warning in a peaceful residential building:
“Allah is sufficient for me, and it is in Him we trust”
4) Haya Abu al-Ouf, a survivor of the Wehda Street massacre in Gaza that took the lives of 42 members of her family and neighbours responded emotionally:
“It is with the help of God that I am even able to speak, it’s God that is keeping me together”
5) Nadine Abdel-Taif, a 10-year-old girl whose heart-rendering video generated millions of views as she wept saying she was only 10 years old amid constant barbarity, was interviewed again in a less well-known clip. Here she points at the rubble and defiantly says:
“I’m a kid, and I am scared of the war, but I just know that we are going to win the war. Do you know why? Because we have the power of Allah with us.”
Allāhu Akbar! What tremendous īmān! This display of immense strength and courage is an inspiration. It is true īmān manifested in action. The reliance on Allah, and Allah alone is unequivocal.
We are reminded that victory is not always measured with numbers and what happens on the battlefield. Victory is about the message that is conveyed. The tyrants could not destroy al-Aqsa, they could not flatten Gaza. Rather, the people united, did not give up and continued fighting in the way of Allah.
Indeed, there is much inspiration to be taken from the lions that guard the holy lands.
Victory Is Near
Prior to the 11-day massacre, forced evictions and police brutality under the Israeli regime barely made headlines. The slaughter that ensued exposed Israel’s brutality. Acts of apartheid and besiegement of land are no longer mere side points. The world has opened its eyes.
The apartheid state has already succumbed to multiple counts of humiliation in the dunyā. This however is only a tiny drop in the ocean of Allah’s divine justice, for the respite is only temporary.
Allah says in Sūrah Ibrāhīm:
وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ ٱللَّهَ غَٰفِلًا عَمَّا يَعْمَلُ ٱلظَّٰلِمُونَ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُؤَخِّرُهُمْ لِيَوْمٍ تَشْخَصُ فِيهِ ٱلْأَبْصَٰرُ
Do not think [Prophet] that God is unaware of what the disbelievers do: He only gives them respite until a Day when their eyes will stare in terror.
The tyrant is faltering.
The Ummah is uniting.
The narrative is changing.
The tide is turning most evidently.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.
أَلَآ إِنَّ نَصْرَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ
Unquestionably, Allah’s help is near
 Al- Qur’ān 8:36
 Al-Qur’ān 14:42
 Al-Qur’ān 2:214
Ibn Hussain is a university graduate and Big-4 trained chartered accountant, with a keen interest in commerce and strategic planning. He is a firm advocate of self-development, particularly through Islamic studies, and is a current student on the Sabeel Development Programme. Ibn Hussain enjoys writing and poetry, with a focus on current affairs. He hopes to become a future leader in his professional field and mentor individuals to have high aspirations without feeling the need to compromise the sacred dīn.