The term “individual operations” have broken into the Palestinian scene without prior notice, to describe the acts of the brothers Ighbariyeh in Khadirah, Raad Hazem in Tel Aviv, Diyaa Hamarsheh in Bnei Brak, Mohammed Abou Al-Qayaan in Bir Sabaa, which inflicted heavy damage and losses on the enemy including its police, colonizers, and military, in an unprecedented way for the enemy on his internal front. Martyr Ibrahim Al-Nabulsi can be added to the long list of resistants, due to the individualism that characterized his activities and to the fact that he bypassed factional divisions to build relations of brothers in arms with Hamas in Nablus, despite the fact that he belonged to al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, which made him an independent fighter since an early stage.

These operations weren’t previously considered even among those who committed them in the outburst of survival instinct and self-defense, and the attack on the prey without prior planning, benefitting from an adequate opportunity on behalf of the endangered group and in defense of its survival.

The “individual operations” pose questions about the current transformations in the types of the Palestinian armed struggle and its capacity to continue in this way, and the elements of a new Intifada or rebellion that it would bear and that have long been waited for. This comes at the time of the retreat of the organized struggle, with the retreat of the Palestinian parties’ armed struggle, the retreat of the popular uprisings, and the pursuit of the snipers of the Palestinian authority of Palestinian fighters under the banner of security coordination with the Shabak and the Mossad. It also poses lot of challenges to the Israeli enemy and to its security agencies which have not been capable until now to protect the colonizers, policemen, and soldiers from the individual resistants, nor to understand the dynamics of individual operations which have increased on the backdrop of the occupation, repression, colonizing, frustration, and the Palestinian factions’ impotence. The running over and stabbing operations have been more efficient in inflicting casualties among the enemy than the military operations of the Palestinian factions. And ten of incognitos on the lists of the parties and factions were able with their knives to save the resistance from suffocation and death.

The last aggression on Gaza, and the battle which was confined to the Islamic Jihad and some of its allies, mainly the Popular Front to Liberate Palestine (PFLP) and the Democratic Front to Liberate Palestine (DFLP), in the absence of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the strong military power in any awaited major battle with the enemy, proved that the individual operations still acquire huge operational and moral importance, due to its role in maintaining a high level of mobilization through the attacks style which was hard for the enemy to prevent or predict. This has given additional time for the resistance, in addition to providing high doze of morals to the Palestinian resistance through the acts of heroism of its perpetrators in the heart of the enemy groupings. The operations also presented an important moral link between the various military cells which the Islamic Jihad was one of its creators in Jenin and Nablus through its leadership in the West Bank represented by Sheikh Bassam Al-Saadi, which was the main reason for the Israeli attack on the Islamic Jihad in Gaza. For Israel intended to dry out the individual operations, in addition to reestablish the situation that prevailed before the battle of Seif Al-Quds, and drop the equation of the interconnection of the battlefields and mutual deterrence.

The track towards individual combat

Nothing in the biographies of Diyaa Hamarsheh, Raad Hazem, or the brothers Ighbariyeh could allude to a shift from a life of social non-commitment, as all of them are on the verge of their thirties when they become more mature and more patient in taking the decision to fight the enemy. In-spite of the talks about Ighbariyeh belonging to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), yet this does not undermine the fact that the operation was an individual one. None of them signed a letter or recorded a tape about his will or to explain why he did what he did, because there was no time for such a thing, noting that all of these fighters were in a hurry to do their operations, which could not spare time for a will or to bid farewell to the parents and the loved ones.

It was not proven that Raad Hazem of Jenin Camp had joined any faction, except being the son of the liberated prisoner Hazem Zaidan Al-Aqid, the colonel in the Palestinian National Security, noting that he used to work in the field of digital currency and electronic programming. Nothing in his biography could signal that he was capable of dragging the Israeli army and its elite forces into a pursuit in Dizengoff street in the heart of Tel Aviv. These young people share personal family experiences, like the capture of a father, the martyrdom of a relative, the destruction of a house, and the frustration caused by the infeasibility of any organized work. These are added to the feeling of being besieged, at a time when the factions are incapable of retaliating to the acts of aggression. It was not destined for Raad Hazem to participate in the Great Battle of Jenin in 2002 for he was 9 years old at the time. So, he rose from beneath the rubbles after 20 years to indulge in a final round with the enemy in Tel Aviv.

Nothing in the life of Diyaa Hamarsheh, the son of a wealthy tobacco and cellphones merchant of Yaabud, could prevent him from being considered as an individual fighter. Because after having been held captive for 30 months in the prisons of the Israeli occupation for obtaining arms and trading in them, and after having joined a number of leftist and Islamist factions while in prison, he was freed and never joined any organization, nor was he known for any ideological affiliation which directly stamped or elaborated his personal experience. This is something that we frequently witness in the biographies of most Palestinian youth after Oslo, which has marked, in its economic dimension and its security dimension, a turning point in the track of the Palestinian national movement.

Oslo: A globalization against Palestine and the resistance

When the Palestinian youth indulged in the first and second Intifada, the Palestinian society was not yet tied up by individual material commitments which obstructed him from joint national struggle. It is noteworthy that these individual material commitments will be later generated by the liberal economic policies and the opportunities of social elevation which were provided by Oslo agreement and by the financial policies of Salam Fayyad government (2007 – 2012) and by the flow of personal loans which exceeded $4 billion for 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank at the time (less than 20 percent of these loans were dedicated to Palestinians in Gaza), which were coupled with by facilitating access to loans. This has rendered going back to struggle and to the option of armed struggle a very expensive venture which was to be bore only by the Palestinians and not by the occupation. At the time, there were no consumerist tendencies which would later contribute to changing the value system as to express the lounging of the individual to compete to gain social status at the expense of the national cause, noting that the Palestinian parties and factions before Oslo played a central role in determining the individual’s social status.

After Oslo, the Palestinian society was normalized with the prerequisites of the neoliberal policies based on the donor states and agencies request that Israel should control the revenues of the Palestinian authority, while lavishing it with aid through NGOs which expanded in an unprecedented way, and procuring stability for the expansion of colonization operations, which have put limitations on joint action which previously prevailed for decades.

The Palestinian factions and parties further deteriorated after Oslo, leaving the individuals without organizational references, and relinquished its role in providing structures and tools that are capable to bear the burden of a wide popular struggle. In addition, it suffered from a leadership crisis, slouch, and incapacity to renew the generations of fighters by attracting youth to its ranks.

The insurrections and rebellions presented a good monitor to observe the syndromes of the slouch of the Palestinian factions, as surveys note that 90 percent of those surveyed see that the protests and individual operations are not related to any Palestinian political faction or reference, with the hope that they would lead to the emergence of new parties and organizations to renew the national struggle. The post Oslo era contributed to the to the rise of an active urban technocratic globalized Palestinian elite within the NGOs, away from the model of the Palestinian fighter, which moves within the borders of the area dedicated to it by donor countries supportive to the Oslo agreement and the Palestinian authority in Ramallah. In addition, it contributed to transforming the Fatah movement from a national liberation movement to an accessory of the Israeli occupation authorities whose only aim is to reinforce the Palestinian authority at all coast on any part of Palestine, including security collaboration with the Israeli security agencies, noting that the division between Fatah and Hamas has closed the way in front of any armed struggle that might be led by Hamas in the West Bank.

The common legacy, far beyond belonging to any faction

The struggle capital of the Palestinian people was spared from the Oslo massacre, and from the bulldozers of the security coordination, as despite the retreat of individual membership in or commitment to the factions, parties, or syndicates, yet the individual operations rely on a huge commune capital, and a strong and intensive symbolic structure of the resistance of the Palestinian people which consisted of military operations and an unlimited number of names, martyrs, heroic acts, sacrifices, and military expertise. In addition, these operations get their strength from armed struggle hubs such as Jenin Camp, which are resilient to subjugation, where the factions are still playing a role in igniting the confrontation with the enemy, and in mobilizing the individuals beyond the borders of the camp.

In addition, the social capital of families, friendships, and organizational expertise, plays a huge role in supplying arms that served to execute the last operations. This capital has rendered the individual operations possible, as it provided protection of its environment and individuals from the infiltration of the security agencies of the Palestinian authority and of Israel, noting that the organizational networks and factions have long suffered from this security infiltration in the West Bank.

The Future of the Individual Operations in light of the Israeli aggression on Gaza

No doubt that the individual operations represented an important military tactical achievement, and a big moral success that hit the Zionist enemy deep, noting that the latter failed to prohibit them due to the fact that they were distant from the factions and parties that it was used to infiltrate, especially through the security coordination which provided him with information about potential military activity beforehand. These presented an important and valuable tactical achievement as it was able to keep the torch of armed struggle lit, noting that this is a phenomenon that is destined to continue as long as it stays away from the networks of factional and party work which are monitored by the Palestinian authority. These operations could last for a long time as long as impotence prevails in the structures of the Palestinian authority, in reforming the factions, uniting the national work, and achieving reconciliation, as it was manifested two months ago in Beirut in the failure of the meeting between Hamas, the PFLP, and the DFLP in reaching a formula for an alliance that bypasses the PLO which is bound by the security coordination, in order to establish a new national front or a new axis of resistance.

The evaluation of the last military operations in Gaza and the resilience of the Islamic Jihad might vary. However, we can add the individual operations to the credit of the Palestinian resistance, even if they did not abide by an organizational frame. Because this important three dimensional axis of armed struggle can be put in the frame of a diversified strategy adopted by the resistance, the first which includes Hamas that did not participate in the military operations because it adopts a strategy of build up and accumulation of power and arms against the occupation on the long run, while the second was represented by the Islamic Jihad which adopted a strategy of attrition operations wherever it could, according to which it participated in five individual confrontations with the enemy during the past few years, and the third represented by the individual operations which complement both previous strategies through surprise attacks and attrition behind enemy lines.

This phenomenon might succeed in achieving limited bleeding for the occupation; however. it will remain unable of becoming major strategic operations that is incapable of shaking the Israeli occupation due to the siege imposed on the West Bank, and due to the increased collaboration between the Palestinian and Israeli security agencies. In addition, the possibility of these operations leading to a third Intifada is still meagre if the Palestinian factions do not revert back to joint action, or if young leadership capable of renewing the armed confrontation with the enemy does not emerge, the way it has happened in some military hubs such as Jenin and Nablus.


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