Palestinian Activist Khaled Barakat: Israeli Army Is Exposed as a Failure While the Resistance Remains on Track (Interview)

Saheli Chowdhury and Dalal al-Zainabi, Orinoco Tribune, May 4,2024 ─ 

”The Israeli army is being exposed as a failure—it possesses all these capabilities, with the full support and participation from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and yet it is failing in Gaza, while the Palestinian resistance is still strong,” said Palestinian scholar and activist Khaled Barakat, referring to the background of the Israeli government’s announcement of “tactical withdrawal” from the Gaza Strip earlier in April.

“Why would the zionist army and the zionist leaders announce the withdrawal? In reality, the israeli army is devastated and very tired, and they have been failing to achieve their objectives for the past seven months,” Barakat stated during his interview with Orinoco Tribune on April 26. “At the same time, after the Israeli army withdraws from any area in Gaza, in less than 24 hours the resistance is back and organizing not just military action, but also organizing people and the social sector, the education sector. This has been noted even by Israeli commanders who have resigned or who are threatening to resign, saying that they have failed in Gaza miserably… We have also seen how Israeli government was trying to push some Jewish religious groups, especially the Haredi, to enlist in the Israeli army. You can imagine what kind of soldiers they are bringing to Gaza, with no experience and no morales, no readiness to fight. So this so-called tactical withdrawal is just a sign of weakness. This is how the palestinian resistance sees it and this is how all military experts are actually seeing it.”

Barakat is a Palestinian activist and thinker currently based in Canada. A prominent leftist and revolutionary voice on Palestine, associated with Masar Badil (Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement), he has been the target of numerous smear campaigns in the West, aimed at silencing and criminalizing him and others like him fighting for Palestinian rights in the diaspora. In 2019, he was deported from Germany for his activism. In Canada, he has been a target of threats and harassment coming from various quarters, including the parliament. On April 26, he was interviewed by Orinoco Tribune on the Palestinian resistance in Gaza in the aftermath of the October 7 Al-Aqsa Flood Operation and the genocidal Israeli response to it, the response of West Asia’s Axis of Resistance to the Gaza genocide, and the impact of the situation in the Arab world as well as the entire world. The interview was conducted by Orinoco Tribune co-editor Saheli Chowdhury and contributor Dalal al-Zainabi.

Israel has not been able to destroy Gaza’s morale

When asked about the situation of the people in Gaza, Barakat responded that there is no infrastructure that has not been destroyed fully or partially by the Israeli bombardment, “but the only thing that Israel could not destroy is the morale and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

According to Barakat, the Zionist entity’s objective behind the current “cycle of Nakba” is not only to displace the people of Gaza into exile and take over their land, but also to build roadways and transport projects that would be the “gateway of the Arab world and west Asia to Europe,” with the Zionist entity controlling this gateway. However, the Al-Aqsa Flood operation of October 7, 2023 derailed this scheme.

“But on the ground, the Palestinian people in Gaza have lost everything except their faith and their principles and their support for the resistance,” Barakat continued. “In fact, all new polls show that the support for the military resistance in Gaza is higher today than it was ever before. Why? Because our people in Gaza understand who is besieging them: it is the United States, Israel, Egypt, and some Palestinian collaborators, capitalists, those who are in Ramallah [Palestinian Authority] serving the Israeli occupiers. Our people in Gaza also understand that surrender is not an option… Israel, with all its crimes, cannot turn the Palestinian people against the resistance simply because these fighters are the sons and daughters of these people. So Israel is failing on that front. They are killing people; they are destroying our infrastructure and our schools, but they are not winning on the ground.”

What the Palestinian resistance wants

Barakat stated that the vast majority of the people of Gaza want four things to result from the negotiations with the Zionist entity: ending the siege of Gaza which has been going on for close to 18 years; allowing the internally displaced in Gaza to return to their homes, especially to the north of the Gaza Strip; the rebuilding of Gaza; and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

However, the Zionist entity is not willing to accept any of these conditions, considering that as its defeat on the military front against the Palestinian resistance. It is because of this that the entity is carrying out a “pressure campaign” against the resistance, by threatening to invade the southern city of Rafah—where over 1 million displaced Palestinians have sought refuge, and by destroying Al-Shifa Hospital. Barakat noted that these atrocities are an attempt to force the resistance to “accept a ceasefire on Israel’s terms which would be surrender.” However, the military resistance in Gaza has sent a clear message to Hamas’ negotiation team in Egypt that there will be no concessions on any one of the four demands.

“The resistance has the capability and willingness and readiness to fight for many months and even years to come,” he added. “That is because there is trust between the people and the resistance—our internal front in Gaza is very strong. Can you imagine that in the last six months of war crimes and genocide, our internal front has remained unified in Gaza?… The Zionists tried all kinds of criminal schemes against our people in Gaza, with the CIA, the collaborators, the PA in Ramallah, and yet they could not tamper with our internal front because it is very strong and it is very united across the board. So these four demands and conditions of the Palestinian resistance, we are going to achieve it, because Israel is in crisis, not us.”

Palestinian political prisoners

Barakat also discussed the recent martyrdom of Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa and the current situation of Palestinians imprisoned in the Zionist jails and detention centers. In regards to the brutality by the Zionist prison authority, Barakat stated, “What the palestinian political prisoners are facing these days, we have not witnessed that in any time of our history in struggle against imperialism and zionism over the past 100 years… We have prisoners these days coming out without legs and without hands. There were prisoners who were assassinated and executed on the spot.”

The Zionist entity has arrested over 14,000 Palestinians since the start of Al-Aqsa Flood. Barakat staunchly condemned the UN position on the prisoner/hostage question. “What [the Zionists] are trying to do is to terrorize our people in the West bank because most of the prisoners are from the West bank and from Jerusalem,” he commented. “But no one is talking about this. When you listen to any of these UN sessions, the Security Council sessions, they have statements about the release of Israeli hostages, but nothing on the Palestinian prisoners.”

“At the same time, I think it’s very important that to see that the way the Israelis are treating the Palestinian prisoners always does not give the entity any kind of benefits,” he continued. “It only exposes the true nature of the Zionist project in Palestine, and our people will not be scared from participating [in the resistance] because they were tortured, actually, their commitment to the resistance becomes deeper.”

Countering the narrative that portrays Palestinians generally and especially prisoners as perpetual victims, Barakat stressed that Palestinian prisoners should also be considered as “the leadership of the of our movement. We are very proud of them… Even with all these harsh conditions in prisons, they are organizing themselves and sending a message of steadfastness to our people.”

Role of the Axis of Resistance

Khaled Barakat discussed in detail the actions of the West Asian Axis of Resistance in support of the Palestinian people, especially the role of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Ansarallah of Yemen, the Iraqi resistance groups, and Syria and Iran. He stressed that all these groups are united now, so Israel would find itself surrounded and without allies if it tries to escalate to a full-scale regional war.

Referring to the Lebanese front, he highlighted the strength, readiness, and decision-making capabilities of the Lebanese resistance led by Hezbollah. Since the start of the Gaza war, Hezbollah has been firing missiles and drones into the Occupied Territories, and “at the same time they have been mobilizing their military capabilities, their fighters” in case the Israeli regime opts for invading Lebanon to hide its defeat in Gaza. Meanwhile, Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah has warned the Zionist entity that the Lebanese fighters would destroy the Gosh Dan industrial hub in the case of a Zionist invasion, “and Israel will crumble if that happens.” However, Barakat doubts that Israel will take the invasion route, because “if Lebanon gets attacked, Yemen, Iran, Palestinians, Iraqis, Syria—they will be all fighting in one front. The time when Israel could single out one area is over.”

He also spoke about the ramifications of Iran’s Operation Truthful Promise of April 14, when Iran carried out limited missile strikes on Israel in response to the Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria. The government of Iran had declared that it was going to carry out the operation 72 hours in advance, and notified the countries of the region as well as the Zionist entity, “as if Iran meant to say: we are attacking you, and you better know this,” Barakat commented. “This was a big challenge for the United States, because Iran’s message to Israel was: no one is going to protect you or wage a war against us because of you. And that you, the Zionist entity, cannot fight by yourself; you need a caretaker and a protector.”

Another result of Operation Truthful Promise was that “it set new rules of engagement in term of Israel,” he added. “Earlier it was basically Israel conducting all these assassinations of Iranian scientists, leaders of the Revolutionary Guard, targeting Iranian facilities inside and outside Iran, and never took responsibility because the Zionists are cowards… Now Israel cannot do this anymore without expecting a reaction and a punishment. That was the Iranian message on April 14, and this has set a new stage in the battle of Al-Aqsa.”

Arab-Zionist regimes and popular revolt against them

When consulted on the reasons of the Arab-Zionist regimes, such as those of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, etc., for aligning with the Zionist entity, Barakat said that this originates from the United States’ requirement of normalizing with Israel in order to have good relations with the US. Nevertheless, the normalization pacts have not brought any benefit to the people of the region.

Taking the example of the United Arab Emirates, he questioned how UAE’s “security pact” with the Zionist entity could benefit the country. “Protect it from whom, if Israel cannot protect itself with its own army against the Palestinian resistance and the Lebanese resistance?” he wondered. “Yemen has actually imposed a curfew, a naval curfew on Israel. If you go today to the ports of Eilat, there is nothing there, no business, and that is due to the brave Yemeni armed forces. Now Israel will protect the United Arab Emirates from Yemen?” Incidentally, UAE is one of the “partners” in the nominally Saudi-led coalition that has been bombing and blockading Yemen since 2015, with the backing and financing of the US and the UK.

However, the vast majority of the people of the aforementioned countries support the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian resistance, and are against normalization with the Zionist entity, Barakat pointed out. “I think we are going to witness a new revolutionary wave in the region,” he went on to explain. “It will change the situation by 180 degrees from what the enemy tried to do in the last 15 years under the guise of the so-called Arab Spring… This revolutionary wave will happen against the monarchies in Morocco, in Jordan, in Bahrain, not to destroy our societies in Morocco or Bahrain or Jordan, but to get rid of these regimes who have been allies of Israel, allies and puppets of the United States; these regimes that are playing a very strong role as an obstacle to Palestinian liberation.”

In addition, Barakat referred to the growing consciousness among the peoples of the region about their inter-relationship, “especially when it comes to historical roots, that we are all one people.” In this regard he considered the example of Jordan, which he called an “occupied territory of the United States and France,” where the monarchy is worried about the growth of “the resistance camp in the region, and particularly in Iraq… And the relationship between the [Jordanian] people and the regime is very tense these days because of the economic and social hardships in general. There is a very serious situation in Jordan, which is going to play in the favor of the Palestinian people.”

The situation in Palestine will in turn act as an “incubator” for anti-monarchy resistance in Jordan, Barakat opined. Moreover, the fall of the Jordanian monarchy would be a blow to the Israeli occupation and US imperialism in West Asia.

Palestine’s place in the emerging multipolar world

As for Palestine’s geopolitical significance, Barakat highlighted that “Palestine signifies the balance of power” both regionally and globally. “Everything related to Palestine is by default related to the Zionist entity as well. So if there is a war, then everybody gets affected, and the effects are immediately felt worldwide, but particularly in our region, in West Asia, which is a very important area in determining the global system,” he explained.

Based on their position towards Palestine, Barakat divided the West Asian countries into three groups: countries like Turkey and Qatar that have close relations with the US and the NATO, which are trying to push the Palestinian resistance into accepting a two-state solution or to extract concessions; the camp comprising Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt that is directly collaborating with the Zionist entity to the detriment of the Palestinian cause; and countries like Iran and Syria and entities like Hezbollah, Ansarallah, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units, etc., that are openly backing the Palestinian resistance. “These three camps actually exist globally, not just in our region,” he pointed out. “In the fight that is happening in Gaza, you have a Global South pushing for Gaza’s victory because it is pushing for its own victory, while the Western imperialist powers are supporting Israel because they are supporting their own interests. So this fight is not just between Palestinians and Israelis, instead it is two international camps that are actually in this conflict in a time when a new world order is needed. People cannot go on living with the United States determining the fate of the world, and a multipolar system is being born.”

“At the same time, the United States must accept the fact today that the world is changing and its empire is shrinking, it is getting weak,” he continued. “We are going to witness more and more internal crises in the United States, and Palestine would have a lot to do with that.” As an example of this, he highlighted the pro-Palestine student protests in several US universities. “Those who think that the battle in Gaza will remain in Gaza, that is not going to happen… Those who support the Palestinian people are actually playing a major role today worldwide, in geopolitics, while those who are not supporting Palestine are actually on the sidelines.”

In this regard, Barakat emphasized the importance for the resistance, and particularly the intellectuals of the Axis of Resistance, to work on the media and cultural fronts, which are part of hybrid warfare in modern times. The work to raise awareness about the Palestinian cause must be carried out from multiple angles, including political, economic, and historical ones. “It is the responsibility of the revolutionary intellectuals to bring history to our present day and to realize how politics could be affected by understanding this historical relationship.” he said. This is especially essential to put into context the reasons behind the actions of Iran or Yemen in support of the Palestinian liberation struggle. He commented that despite the constant widespread propaganda by imperialist-aligned media, this consciousness is growing, particularly among the younger generations.

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