YWCA of Palestine: The Palestinian Struggle Can No Longer Be Silenced
As the world heads towards its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Palestinians are collectively standing up against the ongoing Israeli brutality. It has become inescapable to turn a blind eye to the atrocious consequences of the Israeli military attacks on an entire people. The silencing and impunity must finally stop.
The world once again counts the increasing death toll in Gaza from Israeli strikes targeting civilians and residential buildings, thus breaching the International Humanitarian Law. Under siege and with nowhere to run to or shelters to hide, more than a hundred civilians were killed in a couple of days. Some parents lost their children, while other children saw the death of their parents – a traumatic reality that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
Prior to this, Palestinians throughout the country, including Jerusalem, Lydd, Haifa, Jaffa, Acre, and Nazareth, have been receiving threats by settlers who have been openly, publicly, and shamelessly declaring statements such as “They have no place here…,” “Death to Arabs…,” “This is Eretz Israel for Jews only…” It is worth noting that the extremist settlers are free to carry weapons. Sadly, their sentiment is not only condoned but even fostered at the level of the Israeli parliament (the Knesset), which formally discusses the “demographic threat of Israel” – that is, the non-Jewish population. The State of Israel has been directing its efforts to endorse a nation-state-bill based on exclusivity and discrimination. In this respect, it has perceived all “others” – whether Muslim, Christian, or simply “Non-Jewish” – as an abomination to its future.
At a large extent, the anger perceived amongst Palestinians has been the culmination of 73 years of brutalization. Most recently, the Israeli forces went as far as prohibiting the Palestinians of Jerusalem to sit on the stairs of their own city (at Damascus Gate). Throughout the month of Ramadan, as well as during Easter season, worshipers were prohibited from access and endangered.
Meanwhile, 28 families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, after years of struggling in court cases to prove that they are the rightful inhabitants of their homes, were ordered by the Israeli government to be forcibly removed. As it happened, some of their houses have already been cut in half, and Jewish armed settlers have moved into their homes. They have been pushing for their removal on a constant basis – with the help of the armed forces.
In this respect, what is going on throughout Palestine/Israel today cannot be restricted to the war on Gaza. Although the wars on Gaza often get media coverage as they are committed, yet the dreadful reality of its residents, almost 2.05 million, is swept under the rug. Even at times of ‘supposed rest,’ when there is no active shelling and bombing, the residents of Gaza are enclaved in the world’s largest open-air prison. This unbearable circumstance https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-palestinian-territory/echo-factsheet-palestine-last-updated-13042021″ target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>has people “trapped in a cycle of poverty, unemployment, and food insecurity. They have limited access to basic services such as safe water, electricity and medical care, and few educational or economic opportunities.”
More so, the Palestinian struggle is about the ethnic cleansing of the People at large. Over and above, the Israeli policies have systematically crippled the prospects for justice and equality. With horrid accounts of displacement and dispossession of Palestinian refugees since 1947, the Israeli orders have continued to demolish houses and give space for illegal settlement expansions. As a result of discriminatory policies, vast populations of human beings (each with personal stories) have remained stranded behind checkpoints and walls. Much of the Israeli control over Palestinian resources, such as water, electricity, trade, and movement – not to mention the movement of human beings who are collectively trapped in locked areas – are serious human rights violations that can no longer be permissible.
The YWCA of Palestine calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of human rights in accordance with international law and the relevant international conventions. Concrete measures must be taken to stop the attack on Gaza and end the 73-year-old occupation of Palestine.
We call upon you as individuals to take action by:
- Spreading the word about what is currently happening in Gaza and Palestine on social media using the hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah, #FreePalestine, and #GazaUnderAttack as well as updating your profile picture with the Free Palestine frame from Free Palestine;
- Sending a letter to your representatives to exert pressure on your governments to take action to end the attack on Gaza and the occupation and to hold Israel accountable for its actions against the Palestinians;
- Educate people around you about the situation in Palestine;
- Ask the United Nations to impose sanctions on Israel until it abides by International law.