Over the past week, we have all seen the uproar on the current situation in Palestine. This was triggered by the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. A lot of people are confused on what exactly is happening in Palestine, and this is one of many reasons why it is important to spread awareness on this issue. There is a wide misconception that what is going on in Palestine is a religious conflict. However, this is incorrect because although religion plays a role, not all Palestinians are Muslims. What is going on is settler colonialism, imperialism and genocide.
Most of us are aware that this endless cycle of violence is not new to the region. #FreePalestine is not just a social media trend. It is a movement that has been going on for over 70 years, it is a fight against the oppression of innocent lives. In 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014, and now 2021, people from all around the world watched as innocents in Palestine were attacked and murdered by the Israeli forces. Palestinians have been victimized for decades now. We need to wake up and do more as a society. There is a wide consensus that Israel is committing crimes against humanity, yet it has been allowed to continuously violate international law with no consequences or ramifications. Innocent children are being murdered, experiencing trauma every single day, and living in constant fear.
This is a breakdown of the events that led to the current situation:
Following the Holocaust, many Jews across the European Continent became refugees, a lot of which were taken in by Palestine. Britain began to take steps towards establishing a Jewish state and blatantly disregarded the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination. By 1947, the Jewish population in Palestine had reached 33% and this was when the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began. By 1948, over 250,000 Palestinians had been exiled from their homes. There are about 7 million Palestinian refugees today. Israel is essentially doing to the Palestinians what Hitler did to the Jews. What makes this even worse is they are doing it to the people who took them in when no one else would.
The Gaza strip is considered the world’s largest open airprison and nearly everything going in and out of the area is controlled by the Israeli authorities. Palestinians are not allowed to leave the country or access basic amenities such as clean water and health care. Al Jazeera has reported that Israeli companies that produce weapons for mass killings test these weapons on the Palestinian people. In October 2020, an Israeli Court ruled to forcibly remove Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. During the last few days of the holy month of Ramadhan, the Israeli forces raided the Al Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, which is the third holiest site in Islam, while Palestinians were praying. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured after being shot at, in addition to being beaten and arrested.
Although the State of Palestine is recognised by 136 Members of the UN, both Google and Apple Maps do not geographically label Palestine. This is very problematic because it is completely disregarding the existence of Palestine and the oppression of innocent Palestinians.
Some people have concerns that taking a stand against Israel might be anti-Semitic. However, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are not the same. Zionism is a colonialist ideology seeking to establish a Jewish State in the Middle East and on Palestinian land. There are several Zionists that have expressly advocated for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Several Jews and Jewish organizations have taken a stand against the oppression of Palestinians.
How can we help Palestine?
Being neutral to genocide, forced evictions, and severe victimisation is not an option! We need to use our privilege to speak up against oppression. Today it’s Palestine, tomorrow it could be anywhere. Israel has broken several international laws over the past 6 decades with no consequences, where do we draw the line? Or is peace and freedom from oppression something that only western communities deserve?
So how exactly can we help Palestine?
Share, Share and Share!
Israel initially planned to evict Palestinians on the 5th of May but after the outrage it received from social media it postponed the evictions to May 10th. This goes to show that social media actually makes a difference because Israel cares about their image, and they know that awareness could lead to consequences for them. Please post and reshare anything you come across on the current situation in Palestine.
Educate yourself and others around you on what is going on. There are several organizations (such as BDS) that you can donate to, and different petitions that you can sign. There are also YouTube channels that plan to donate 100% of their Ad revenue to Palestine so you can subscribe and watch the videos.
For those of us willing to go an extra mile, you can email your local TDs urging them to address the war crimes Israel is committing. There is a growing number of worldwide protests against the oppression of Palestinians, you can show your support by attending one of these protests.
The people of Palestine need us. We should all stand up in solidarity against settler-colonialism and genocide. You do not need to be Muslim to speak up against what is happening, all it takes to care is being human.
Sources and suggested readings
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