Balloons, graffiti, sports and economic power are the latest tools of Palestinian resistance

A screenshot from “Inn Ann”, a song that has become a sensation across the Arab world. The song exemplifies the creative ways young Palestinians are finding to resist the Israeli occupation.

Resistance can take many forms, and the recent popular uprising in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) has seen significant developments in the means Palestinians use to reject the injustices upon them by the Israeli occupation.

Since mid-April, and coinciding with Muslims’ holy month of Ramadan, the Palestinian territories witnessed an escalation of violence as Israel imposed restrictions on Palestinians in Jerusalem. These included increased limitations on gatherings and the most recent efforts to take possession of their homes, as well as another wave of Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip that lasted 11 days and in which 248 Palestinians lost their lives. In the face of this latest assault, Palestinians are still coming up with ways to resist.

Graffiti took centre stage in these events, sparking confrontations on May 24 between Israeli settlers and police on one hand, and Palestinian citizens on the other, as settlers erased murals.

Screenshot of a mural from Instagram.

On the same day, balloons painted in the four colours of the Palestinian flag were flown over Sheikh Jarrah, the cradle of the most recent wave of Palestinian resistance. Israeli army officers were deployed to remove the balloons, as Israel prohibits any reference to the Palestinian flag in the occupied territories. In 2018, some members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, sought to impose sanctions against those who raise anti-State banners or flags.

The resistance didn't end there. When Israelis destroyed Samir Mansour Bookshop, the largest bookstore in Gaza, on May 18, Palestinians celebrated the irony that one of the books to survive the destruction was “Returning to Haifa”, a novel written by Palestinian nationalist author Ghassan Kanafani.

In the name of God the merciful we start new happiness; happiness!

On 5/18/2021, the #Israeli_occupation bombarded #Samir_Mansour_Library in #Gaza Strip, and one of the remnants of the bombing was the novel of #Returning_to_Haifa for the freedom fighter #Ghassan Kanafani

The following day, as a repudiation of the occupation and an expression of their solidarity with Gaza, young people in Sheikh Jarrah symbolically rebuilt the bookstore in their neighbourhood.

The bookstore was demolished in Gaza… it was rebuilt in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem.” Young men open Samir Mansour's bookstore which was bombed by the occupation in Gaza on the eighteenth of this month, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem.

On April 30, as the events had begun unfolding, a young Jerusalemite from the Al-Tur neighborhood known as Daboor and the popular Palestinian rapper Shabjdeed released a rap song called “Inn Ann” on YouTube.  In the video, Shabjedeed stands in front of a sign reading “Chivalry Shop” chanting about the resilience of Jerusalem's Palestinian youth. At the time of writing, the video has been viewed over 13 million times and has trended in various Arab countries. The song has since become something akin to an anthem for the popular uprising in Palestine.

Awni Bilal wrote:

Lately, I've been thinking of young and decent Daboor's song, entitled Inn Ann. What is the secret behind the glue this work has been covered with, for it to stick in one's imagination and memory in such a way? All my traditional barricades and poetic defense lines were pierced by the owner of The Chivalry Shop, Daboor, as he called on the bastards to be bereaved by their mothers. Attack me, but there is a poetry pulsation in the text.

Employing the local Jerusalem dialect, with some Hebrew words, the song has also become a secret code among the youth of Jerusalem. Journalist Ali Obaidaat posted on Facebook an account of how its verses played that role:

I was told how in the latest spate of arrests in Jerusalem, a group of young men were blindfolded in an army vehicle. When the ride dragged on, one of them wanted to make sure he's not alone with the soldiers. After much thought, he said: “Calm down!” Two responded: “Everything grows clear in plight. Allah knows who we are”.

Referring to the popularity of the clip, Mona Hawwa wrote:

An image you can hear.

Meanwhile, Yahia Alaa tweeted:

Daboor & Shabjdeed's song “Inn Ann” is the song of this phase, and a confirmation that nations still resist.

Palestinians also expressed their rejection of their displacement by the Israeli state by organizing the “Jerusalem Marathon” on June 4 between Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, neighbourhoods whose residents are being displaced.

From the starting point of Jerusalem Marathon in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood

As participants arrived at the protest tent in Batn Al-Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan, Occupation forces broke into the gathering, assaulting individuals and destroying the tent. This was all filmed by the United Palestinians Digital Community.

Occupation forces destroy the solidarity tent at Batn-Al Hawa neighbourhood in Silwan after their barbaric assault on people and participants of “Jerusalem Marathon”

Later the account also published:

Participants of Jerusalem Marathon celebrate  after the withdrawal of the colonial forces from the protesting tent at Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood.    

In the northern city of Acre, artists and musicians organized a protest festival featuring artistic performances, poetry, and agricultural and theater workshops.

Schedule of the “Acre on my Head” artistic protest which will launch tomorrow Saturday 5.6.21 from Al-Jazzar Mosque Square and will go on  in: Al-Shouna, Al-Mbalta, Phosphlone and Al-Fakhura neighborhoods with the participation of a group of artists and musicians.

Hashtag: I hope I was with you

Creative resistance to the occupation also took an economic form. A “National Economy Week” campaign was initiated to encourage Palestinians in the Occupied Territories to promote Palestinian suppliers, merchants, and manufacturers between June 6-12.

This campaign conveyed to the Palestinian residents of the 1948 Occupied Territories the important message that they held the power to undermine the Israeli economy by supporting Palestinian businesses, which are already subjected to state measures designed to keep Palestine's economy controlled and dependent.

Haifa-based activist, journalist, and novelist Majd Kayyal played a key role in the “National Economy Week” campaign, publishing daily Facebook posts that reinforced its goals.

This campaign's hashtag was also used to shed light on the struggles of those living in the cities of occupied Palestine, such as fishermen in Acre, who are subject to many restrictions imposed by the local municipal authorities and the state. This tweet refers to the costly fines that could be imposed on fishermen at the whims of state employees.

About the Occupation’s pursuit of the fishing sector in Acre, and its continuous restrictions to empty the sea of those who lived for decades riding its waves and eating its fish, what do Acre fishermen face?

These latest acts of resistance reflect the energy brought to the movement by young people seeking their right to self-determination and to claim the spaces in which they live. To all Palestinians, this represents hope.

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