The 15th Al Jazeera Forum: Tufan al-Aqsa Re-Positioned the Palestinian Cause on the Path of National Liberation

Session one speakers (from left to right): AJ presenter Fairouz Ziani, Mustafa Barghouti, Wadah Khanfar, Abdulaziz Sager and Jawad Al Anani. [Al Jazeera]

Participants in the 15th Al Jazeera Forum affirmed that global awareness of the Palestinian cause has heightened since Tufan al-Aqsa and the subsequent Israeli onslaught on Gaza. They attributed this to the efficacy of Palestinian narratives in reaching broad audiences previously untouched due to the influence of the Zionist lobby.

Forum participants underscored that the ongoing efforts of Palestinian resistance over the past seven months are part of a strategy of “accumulating liberation action”. This action aims to exhaust the occupier and escalate the costs of occupation, despite the significant human and material sacrifices borne by the Palestinian people.

Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Jazeera Media Network, during his opening speech. [Al Jazeera]

The speakers explained that Tufan al-Aqsa has established a new political horizon for the Palestinian cause, distinct from the constraints imposed by regional and international circumstances. This resonates with the Palestinian political leadership, which has endeavoured towards a peaceful resolution but encountered Israeli obstinacy.

Moreover, the speakers pointed out that the United States' support for Israel in its aggression against Gaza, and its continuous military and political backing, has harmed it more than benefited it. This is because it has allowed Israel to persist in its “deception” and “aggression” in a manner “divorced from any rational conception”.

The participants also highlighted that the current phase, impacted by Tufan al-Aqsa, marks “an opportune moment for a shift in the trajectory of Palestinian struggle and liberation”, akin to historical moments experienced by numerous nations that fought for and attained freedom and independence. They alluded, in this context, to the “cracks in the international order” resulting from the bias of the United States and many Western nations towards Israel, and the rise of new global powers striving to reshape this order, exploiting fractures that are more pronounced now than they were in the decades following World War II. This empowers both peoples and nations affected by the current international system and allows them to challenge it and work towards its reform, especially since “Israel, now weakened and vulnerable, is no longer the Israel of Ben Gurion or the Israel of 1967.”

In addition, the speakers concluded that the Palestinian people's struggle and resilience since 7 October 2023 have undermined the idea of a compromise with the Zionist movement, resulting in the collapse of the Oslo Accord-based approach. They have also shattered the myth of Israel as “an invincible, impregnable entity beyond reproach”. The speakers affirmed that the current path of resistance will lead to the fulfilment of Palestinian rights and the dismantling of the “Israeli colonial settlement regime”. They clarified in this regard that the current phase requires Palestinians, in order to harvest the fruits of their struggle and sacrifices, to manage their affairs democratically by forming a unified and inclusive national leadership, operating under a nationalist struggle programme and paving the way for free and democratic elections through which the Palestinian people choose their leaders.

The patterns of media coverage of the Gaza war were discussed as well. In this context, Al Jazeera correspondents in Gaza, Wael Dahdouh and Ismail Abu Omar, shed light on the challenges journalists face in Gaza while carrying out their work, including direct targeting aimed at “silencing the truth” and “obscuring reality”. They shared their recent experiences, during which they were injured and compelled to leave the Gaza Strip for medical treatment. They emphasised the resilience of Gaza journalists and their understanding of the vital role they play in conveying ongoing events to the world, motivating them to endure hardships and confront challenges.

Similarly, social media influencers discussed their experiences in depicting the realities of the war and the Palestinian people's endurance of its hardships and adaptation to their changing circumstances. They also pointed out the engagement of users from all backgrounds with the content they share, as a response to “the human voice within them”. Within this framework, they detailed the challenges they encounter, particularly from social media accounts closely aligned with “the sphere of global Zionism”.

The 15th Al Jazeera Forum took place in Doha on 25 and 26 May 2024 under the title, “Transformations in the Middle East after Tufan Al-Aqsa”. It featured 35 speakers, including experts, researchers and journalists from different countries, over eight sessions. The forum attracted a large audience, with extensive coverage on Al Jazeera's screens and digital platforms.

The forum was opened by Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Jazeera Media Network, in a speech where he affirmed that Al Jazeera had chosen the forum's theme because of the significance of Tufan al-Aqsa on Palestinian, Arab, regional and international levels. He explained that Al Jazeera's ongoing coverage of events in Gaza has positioned it as “the primary source of information for those seeking a comprehensive understanding of the event's origins, contexts and various aspects.” Despite facing challenges such as the closure of its offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the targeting of its journalists in Gaza due to its commitment to truth-telling, Al Jazeera remains steadfast in its mission, upholding professional standards.

For those interested, the forum’s sessions are available here:

Forum opening and speech by Sheikh Hamad bin Thamer Al Thani, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al Jazeera Media Network

Session One: "Tufan Al-Aqsa" in the Context of Palestinian National Struggle

Session Two: The Implications of the War on Israel: Politics, Society and the Future of the Zionist

Session Three: International Justice in the Balance of the Israeli War on Gaza

Session Four: The Arab Regime and the Palestinian Cause: Shifts in Positions, Risks and Roles

Speech by Mostefa Souag, Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Network

Session Five: Post-Tufan Balances at the Regional Level: Powers, Axes and Strategies

Session Six: Gaza Rearranges the Priorities of the International Agenda

Session Seven: The Targeting of Journalists in the War on Gaza

Session Eight: Special Dialogue with Influencers on the Conflict of Narratives