Israel

Palestine Understood

Palestinian-Loss-Of-Land-1946-2010 As a Muslim and Arab, growing up I always blindly sided with Palestine in the crisis that plagues the “Promised Land.” I was compliant with what my parents believed and followed along obediently. As I started to get older, I wanted to educate myself by myself to understand the situation more and to decide for myself who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed. I always had an intuition that Palestine was the victim, but I wanted to confirm that intuition with concrete evidence and facts. Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading on the issue and really equipping myself with information to adequately defend myself against any Zionists I encounter. The facts I’ve gathered from various sources are staggering and have only confirmed my intuition that Palestine is in fact a victim of a brutal occupation and siege by Israel.

Lets look at some facts.

In 1948, Israel with the support of Britain and the UN forcefully and without the consent of the Palestinians declared itself a state and established its borders within Palestine, displacing over 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and their land, many of whom have yet to return. This event is known as Al-Nabka, or The Catastrophe.

In 1967 Israel seized land from neighboring Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and the West Bank in the Six Day War and implemented an economic and medical blockade against Palestinians that only further anguished the lives of Palestinians. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt, but continues to occupy the West Bank and Gaza. This siege and illegal occupation continues today and violates UN Resolution 242, that states Israel should withdraw from land seized in the 1967 war and that Israel should respect and recognize other states’ sovereignty.

Israel continues to displace Palestinians from their land that they’ve owned for generations to illegally build Jewish settlements.  There are currently over 121 Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian land seized in 1967. Furthermore, Israel is an apartheid state. It constructs bypass roads and highways that connect Jewish settlements without passing Palestinian neighborhoods, creating a network that keeps all Jewish settlers connected while secluding and segregating Palestinians, and making it difficult for Palestinians to travel in their own land. Moreover, it issues Palestinians different identity papers and license plates to easily target and harass Palestinians.

Israel continuously infringes international law and commits war crimes and human rights abuses documented by the UN and by other NGOs that go overlooked by major American media outlets like CNN. For instance, Israel has been accused by Human Rights Watch of employing white phosphorous against Palestinians. Moreover, Israel specifically targets civilian locations to bomb in Gaza, as evidenced in the summer of 2014 when Israel launched a brutal military attack on Gaza that the Western media labeled as “retaliation.” A mere look at the number of the deaths from both sides, over 2,000 Palestinians and under 80 Israelis, can clearly illustrate who has the upper-hand, who is more capable of destruction, and who is threatening.

Israel continues to demolish Palestinian homes under the excuse that they do not have permits, to ethnically cleanse and dispossess Palestinians. It establishes various checkpoints throughout the West Bank and Gaza making it difficult for labor, goods and people to move around, creating more economic hardships for Palestinians who already have an unemployment rate of over 20%. Not to mention the 40% of Gazans living under the poverty line. The consequences of this siege are endless.

The list of atrocities is endless.

It completely baffles me how much the media continues to justify Israeli occupation under the disguise that Israel is combating “terrorism” and “has a right to defend itself.” One can’t just steal someone’s land then negotiate how much of it should be returned. The American media is so filtered and monitored by Israeli PR corporations that it portrays the situation as a “conflict” in which both sides are at fault. Because of this normalization and sanitization of language in the media, the American public, educated by this misguided and misinformed media, fails to see the truth and raw facts on the ground, and consequently supports a ruthless regime.

According to renowned journalist Robert Fisk, CNN sent a memorandum to its staff in the Middle East demanding that a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem, Gilo, to be referred to as a “neighborhood” rather than a “settlement.” This linguistic cleanse of words conceals and alters the truth. It paints a picture of a pleasant, quiet, suburban “neighborhood,” that Americans can identify and sympathize with, rather than an illegal Israeli and exclusively Jewish “settlement” situated on stolen territory. This is only one example of the plethora of euphemisms employed by the media to skew its audience.

And lets face it, America only supports Israel because of its interest in the oil-rich region to have an ally that will constantly and unwaveringly support it under any circumstances.

If one merely assays the facts and evidence, one will find that Israel is the culprit of several atrocious crimes.

Although I still have much reading and research to conduct and accumulate, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have to be Arab or Muslim to sympathize with and support the plight of the Palestinians as they undergo this illicit and inhumane occupation, rather, I only have to be human.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic. I, in NO way, support anyone who attacks Jews or Judaism.

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Courage and Hope Amid Turmoil

The Arab Spring may have failed to produce democratic and free governments in most Arab nations, but it succeeded in planting courage within the hearts of thousands, Arab or not. Thousands have been protesting from every corner of the world for Palestine regardless of the consequences, as evidenced in Paris, where thousands gathered to condemn the Israeli occupation despite the ban on pro-Palestine protests. It is that courage and determination that will eventually lead to a free Palestine, and more broadly, to democratic Arab nations that will strive to stand united and strong in the face of western political pressure regardless of the cost.