In light of recent events, there has been an avalanche of social media posts about the Israeli-Palestine conflicts and the latest development. Here at the London Centrist, we felt isolated and unable to appropriately capture the magnitude and complexity of this conflict, so we reached out to people who knew more. Our first contact has requested to remain anonymous; he is an LSE student who has lived in Israel and spent a large portion of his life there. Our second contact was Youssef Fahmy, a Palestinian who now lives in Cairo Egypt. Both articles are powerful and emotional, they encapsulate the fear and anger felt on both sides and represent the severe disparity and distrust that stands in the way of peace. The current balance in the Middle East is a humanitarian crisis, whilst we understand people are keen to take a side it is important to educate and inform oneself before making such a decision so as to not sew deeper divides between an already haemorrhaged relationship. Social media is a powerful tool, but can also unwittingly fuel the flames of conflict, therefore we ask readers to read both of these articles and hundreds more, learn the facts, understand the conflict and its complexity before reposting out of context videos.
Both writers have waved their writers fee and requested the money is sent to charities involved in the crisis.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the world led by celebrities and big names, are tripping over each other to condemn Israel. It began with Sheikh Jrahh, and the focus has now shifted to the supposed mistreatment of Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
But first Sheikh Jarrah. A quick history lesson without the narratives of celebrities getting in the way. The site has been a site of Jewish pilgrimage for centuries, with it being the burial site for the high priest Shimon Hatzadik. In 1875, the Jewish community purchased the tomb and the surrounding land establishing the community of Nachalat Shimon. They faced continuous violent attacks from their Arab neighbours which they managed to survive until 1948 when they were ethnically cleansed. Following that, Jordan conquered the region and enacted a law banning Jews from returning. They built a new neighbourhood on this land, transforming a once Jewish neighbourhood into an Arab one. After Jordan lost the Six-Day War in 1967 and Jerusalem become reunified, the Jewish community instigated legal proceedings to reclaim the land from the 7 families illegally given the land from the Jordanians. The ruling went in favour of the Jewish community. However, in an act of peace and good faith, the Arabs were allowed to keep their homes and only asked to pay rent. This, they refused. Now, after 50 years of not paying rent for land they do not own they are being evicted. An outcome which would be much the same if you didn’t pay rent in London, New York or anywhere else in the world.
After being blown out of proportion, as usual, Hamas (the ‘political’ leaders of Gaza), sought the perfect time to instigate riots against Israel in an attempt to shadow their acts of terrorism with the ‘mistreatment’ of families in Sheikh Jarrah. In the past few days, thousands of rockets have been aimed at populated civilian areas in Israel with the hope of spilling as much Jewish blood as possible. Rockets are sent in barrages of hundreds at a time and luckily the Israeli defence forces are able to intercept 90% of these, still leaving many hitting populated areas and causing civilian casualties. Only in retaliation to these rockets do Israel locate and target the Hamas military leaders behind these attacks. Unfortunately, these cowards hide behind human shields and they fire rockets from schools and hospitals so in the event that Israel reacted with extreme force, the rest of the world would see civilian casualties on the ‘Israelis’ hands’. If Wales began firing rockets onto the streets of central London keeping everyone underground in bunkers, there would be unquestioned protests to neutralise the enemy responsible. Yet, the world harasses the Israeli government for locating and killing those responsible because Hamas leaders are hiding in hospitals and schools and actively putting civilians in the firing lines. Furthermore, announcements are made by the IDF (Israel defence force) before sending in missiles to destroy weapons and terrorists to warn Palestinian civilians to vacate the area and protect their lives.
Hamas have been the biggest problem for the Palestinians since their takeover in 1987. Hassan Yousef, an ex-member of Hamas in Ramallah who departed from the principles of the group said “The Palestinian people did not elect Hamas and did not appoint them to represent them, your accountability is not to your own people and this is evidenced by your total violation of their human rights”. More importantly, he highlights “Hamas kidnap Palestinian students from campus and torture them in jails, they torture your political rivals, the suffering of the Palestinian people is an outcome of their selfish political interests”. There has not been a Palestinian election in over 16 years as another was recently abandoned. Unsurprisingly, this was blamed on the Israelis when in truth it is Hamas who are manipulating their own people and the rest of the world. Ironically, straight after the election, Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Hamas called for acts of violence to turn the attention away from his political corruptness. This led to the fighting on Temple Mount and utilising the Al Aqsa Mosque as a staging base to perform acts of unprovoked terrorism. What better way has worked for Hamas to remain in power over the last 16 years than sharing a hate for the Jewish people? If you believe this is not to do with Jews and instead about the Israeli government, Hamas have clearly written in their charter that they will not settle until there are no Jews left on the face of this planet. This ideology is backed and funded by Iran who openly hold the same view. Ultimately, the backing of a Hamas-led Gaza is a backing of the ethnic cleansing of Jews.
These acts of violence from both sides will only cease once rockets are no longer fired from Gaza and justice is served to those who instigated the violence. Don’t let the number of deaths on each side paint a false perception; if it were not for the iron dome defence system, hundreds of thousands of Israeli civilians would have been murdered. Until then, it is in neither sides interest for a ceasefire and more civilian casualties will, unfortunately, occur on to both Israelis and Palestinians. There needs to be recognition and accountability for Hamas’s terrorist acts and corruption of their own people. Be wary of closing your mind and your eyes to the responsibility of Palestine and the quickness of those to condemn Israel.
A thousand words would never come close to telling a story that is older than you and me. These words do not even come close to explaining the atrocities taking place in one of the most sacred lands in the world, yet we must break the deafening silence.
The Palestinian-Israeli issue is not a conflict or a clash between rivals. While resilient and standing firm, Palestinians have no armies, police, control, or a sense of peace. The most frequent question seems to be, “Who started it then?”. While numerous people seize the chance to point at Palestinians, you soon realize that they were not the ones igniting the fire. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled for the forced displacement of 4 Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, a domain where they have no control over following the Oslo accords. These evictions have been periodically going on since the year 2002. Yet, Israel struck this time in the holy month of Ramadan, simply adding fuel to the fire.
The Israeli government is the current world record holder of the number of broken UN resolutions (65). Israel blatantly disregards international law and violates basic human rights of the Palestinians under its occupation. We have seen UK and US governments previously supporting Israel after the International Criminal Court launched a probe into Israeli actions. However, this sense of urgency is non-existent with the current death tolls in Gaza and the West Bank; they have become mere numbers on a list.
Googling the word “Palestine” will prompt you with numerous headlines addressing attacks on Israel, with terms like clash and conflict thrown in for vague connotations. The media fails us once again, masking why these attacks are occurring in the first place. Only in the past month, we have heard about a new attack almost daily, with 119 Palestinians losing their lives, including 31 innocent children and over 830 victims injured, as opposed to only 7 Israelis deaths. At the beginning of the missile attacks, Palestinians have not yet attacked Israel. However, after such a horrendous act committed against their purest souls, they defended themselves from their oppressors. At that point, the media coverage commenced with news about Palestinians being terrorists and sabotaging the peace. Simply phrased, this is the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
Israeli warplanes struck residential buildings in Gaza, leaving many families homeless and mourning the deaths of their loved ones. The Palestinian retaliation of firing of rockets at Tel Aviv has been intercepted with the Iron Dome anti-missile system, while Israelis hid in shelters. Israel is also deliberately using white phosphorus shells, violating the laws of war, causing men, women and children’s flesh and bone to melt down. How is this labelled as a conflict when Israel clearly outpowers Palestine?
To truly comprehend the struggle triggered in 1948, it is vital to understand that this is not a matter of religion, as all have an extensive history in Palestine. To say that ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is an attack on any religion creates a misrepresentation of the reality of the apartheid. When Zionists first entered the land, they believed was theirs to take, they forced over 80% of Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews to permanently leave their land. For decades, countless courageous Palestinians have continued to fight for what is rightfully theirs. Yet, Israel continues to illegally confiscate Palestinian land defying International and Human Rights Law, disregarding any condemnations.
Israeli soldiers are known to enter Palestinian homes in the middle of the night and claim it was now theirs to take. These acts of terrorization drove many Palestinians to seek refuge. Recently, Christian Palestinians have been threatened while celebrating Easter. Then, Muslim Palestinians have been attacked with stunt grenades and skunk water, while praying in the most sacred site, Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli occupiers have been filmed chanting “death to Arabs” and dancing while watching the mosque burn. Evidently, Israel’s primary goal is to discard all Palestinians and take their land, regardless of the religion they are practicing. Highlighting that in fact this is not a matter of religion, many Jews and Rabbis marched in protests in solidarity with Palestine.
Unfortunately, minimal international coverage has surfaced about the ongoing horror. The ones that do are continuously taken down throughout all social media platforms. While Palestinians’ fundamental human rights are eliminated, the whole world turns a blind eye.
In the cases of oppression worldwide, resistance is labelled as ‘resistance’ or ‘rebels’. However, the media has been smearing the word terrorism with the blood of innocent Palestinians, marking it as an act of religion. This shameful act is a means to an end for Israel; they aim to fulfil the goals of Zion, creating a state extending from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. These areas are currently inhabited: Egyptians on the Nile, Iraq on the Euphrates, and other countries in between. Zionism is purely a colonialist project based on the conquest and oppression of the people on these lands. The linking of these concepts, the blood-raging war and religion, is the cornerstone of the Israeli dialogue. This pretence makes any attack on Israel perceived as direct antisemitism. This lie is nothing but a weak attempt to discourage criticism of the Israeli government’s actions. This is the same government that orders its soldiers to march into mosques and churches and disturb the peace—invoking a system of apartheid among the land.
Children under the age of 18 have been sanctioned jail time and violence. Abdallah Obaid (aged 15) has been jailed for 2 months under no charge. Mahmoud Burqan (aged 13) was detained and beaten for riding his bike in Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abulhawa (aged 16) was shot with a rubber bullet in his mouth (which knocked out all his teeth), and Saeed Odeh (aged 16) was shot dead in Nablus. When asked about the issues, the Israeli Ambassador responded with, “first of all, 15-year-olds are not children”. Imagine the backlash of an Arab military force throwing stun and sound grenades into a synagogue.
One of the highly debated topics regarding the Palestinian-Israeli issue in the Middle East is the lack of peace in the region. The attempt to find peace in a country where citizens are continuously terrorized and abused is futile. This oppression continues while maintaining Palestinians in a state of constant fear so that the ‘enemy doesn’t have time to think about doing anything’. The ethnic cleansing occurring in Palestine is not a religious issue; it is a humanitarian issue.
Their voices have been masked with false accusations; it is our time to channel their voices.
If you want to learn more about the origins and history of the Israel-Palestine conflict we recommend a great video made by our colleagues at Vox a couple of years ago:
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