Oppression has been witnessed on a strip of land bordering the Eastern Mediterranean, a land known as either Palestine or Israel, or both.
Although tensions began prior to Israel’s foundation in 1948, the recent outbreak of events began on May 1, after Israeli settlers evicted Palestinian families from their homes in a neighborhood in East Jerusalem known as Sheikh Jarrah.
A viral video filmed by a Palestinian native to Sheikh Jarrah shows what appears to be an Israeli settler proclaiming in all seriousness, “If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it.”
How do simple Israeli citizens conduct eviction proceedings against native people? Well, sad to say, they do so with the permission of the Israeli Government, which supposedly advocates for a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict yet condones this kind of aggression by its citizens against the Palestinians.
How is Israel advocating for a two-state solution while simultaneously allowing its citizens to evict Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem as a gesture of goodwill? A law passed in the 70’s gave Israeli citizens the right to evict someone from their home if they could prove some sort of ownership prior to 1948. This is almost impossible to prove since most modern Israeli’s ancestors were in Europe at that time, and never set foot on modern-day Israel and Palestine. Palestinian Israelis cannot use this law in courts, although most can prove ownership of their homes prior to 1948.
Palestinians are calling for East Jerusalem to be the official capital in their future state under the two-state solution.
Who knows how long that future will be or how many Palestinians will live to see it?
Media outlets such as Fox News, CNN and BBC, from all sides of the political spectrum have referred to the incidents as “clashes.” This makes it seem as if two sides are inherently equal in terms of their various forms of power, such as political power, technological power and manpower.
Imagine someone in a home that their grandparents’ grandparents' grandparents lived in, a piece of land that symbolizes honor to their family. The neighborhood is not too large, nor too small, and everyone knows everyone. Then, one day, people who they’ve seen on a daily basis for years, decide to desecrate the land they call home, separate them from their strictly European-descended Jewish counterparts (Palestinians are also Jewish and Christian, not just Muslim) as they walk to school, work or simply take a stroll. They abduct them or their child in the middle of the night with internationally condemned illegal forms of torture on a regular basis, often for months and sometimes never to be seen again. The whole situation is apartheid, something that most people thought ended in South Africa.
Anyone would feel some sort of contempt towards those who could commit these acts of inhumanity against them. One could end up getting so fed up that out of sheer emotion, they picked up a rock and threw it at the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) officer that they recognized abducting their little sister or brother the night before, or throwing down their grandfather as he was walking to go pray in his preferred place of worship, simply because he didn't understand Hebrew. The scenarios are endless.
At the same time, they see other people from their neighborhood in similar situations but the IDF are also accompanied by normal Israelis, specifically European Israelis, pointing to a document in a language that they do not understand, stating that they will be kicked out of their homes. The frustration would be absolutely all encompassing.
They see more and more people living in frustration, for this story is not only shared by those in their current surroundings, but by their parents, grandparents, and great grandparents.
Eventually, other Palestinians in Jerusalem realize what is going on, and call on all Palestinians to march onto one of the holiest places for all Muslims, the Al Aqsa Mosque. That famously exotic-looking building with turquoise and bluestones topped with a shiny golden dome.That building is part of Al Aqsa, which Israelis always try to claim as their own while continually desecrating it for decades, and recently they have revamped the tradition now that Palestinians are rallying there.
Israeli riot police become overwhelming, and Palestinians see countless people around them being beaten for simply being at the rally. The remaining people in the group decide to seek shelter inside one of the buildings in Al Aqsa. They all remove their shoes out of respect for the holy site, and prepare to hold the door of the building as Israeli riot police try to break in, shooting rubber bullets and throwing smoke grenades in every direction.
Their family and friend’s manpower is no match for IDF’s technology, which is funded by the United States government, and the Israeli police storm into the holy site with their shoes on in full riot gear. They witness what some Palestinians have called “armageddon.” Men, women and children of all ages being beaten in the holy site, most only with their bare hands for protection.
Suddenly, an Israeli police officer bashes them in the head with his baton, and they pass out, the last thing they hear is their mother screaming in fear for their life.
Does this sound like a “clash”?
Days pass, and the Israeli Police raid the Holy Site for a third time. Casualties in Jerusalem are mounting in the hundreds, only a few of them Israeli. Extremists who wish to see nothing but destruction use the suffering as an excuse to fire rockets all across Israel, with some unfortunate Israeli civilian casualties. Israel, with its tremendous technological and military capabilities, manages to defend its people against most of these rockets. There is nothing wrong with that. But then, Israel fires rockets back at Gaza, which has no way of defending itself. Not only that, but the buildings that Israel is bombing and leveling to the ground are not what one would expect, such as a terrorist bases or headquarters, but rather hospitals, schools, apartment buildings, and most notably, the Associated Press office in Gaza. Here, the casualties are way higher than in Jerusalem, with more than 250 deaths, almost half of which are children.
Does this still sound like a “clash”?
With all due respect, perhaps something a little more specific might be warranted here. Ethnic cleansing? Systematic oppression? How about direct censorship of the media? How could any rational person call this “self-defense,” something Israel and its allies continuously proclaim?
I am in no way against Judaism. As a Muslim, I am required to respect who the Glorious Quran calls the “People of the Book,” which are my fellow Christians and Jews. Not only that, but with Jews specifically, I as a Muslim have more doctrine-related similarities with Jews than Christians.
What I am against however, is the oppressive actions perpetrated by the IDF, backed by Israeli legislation and financed and supported by the beloved country in which I was born, the United States of America.
I pray that my beloved USA, indivisible, under God, upholds justice throughout the world, beginning with Palestine.