I’ve come to realize that the worst personal conflict one could face is one that lies at his/her roots. For those of you who don’t know, I am a Palestinian at my roots. My father’s origins come from the Palestinian West Bank, and my mother comes from Nazareth. Perhaps one of the world’s greatest and most neglected conflicts in the world, simply because it gets payed little attention and justice to, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestine is often known as the holy land, home to the famous cities of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and the most holy of all, Jerusalem. The modern day country of Palestine was inhabited by Arabs for centuries including under the Ottoman and Muslim Empires and before then. For all of history modern day Palestine was a Muslim and Christian Arab populated land. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Britain took control of Palestine in 1917 following the split of the Middle East which was divided among European Nation powers. This was referred to as The British Mandate for Palestine. The Muslim and Christian Arabs who lived in Palestine made up over 96% of the population, and a very small population of Jews and other minorities made up the the rest. It was a peaceful country and it was extremely cultured and was home to a beautiful market lifestyle.
The Conflict began in the 1920s when Hitler was in the process of rising to power, along with the idea of antisemitism. Another belief that began to rise was that Zionism, basically the ideology that the only safe place for Jews was Palestine, and that all Jews should “return” there, and reclaim their holy land as a place to live safely on their own. The problem with this movement is that it is scientifically proven that the jews that were in Europe were not the same Jews that once inhabited the holy land many years ago, and of course Palestine is the holy land to many religions not only Judaism. Basically, this idea of “returning” was debunked. Time passes and people change along with their faith and location. Religions migrate. In the 20’s, Jewish people began slowly migrating into Palestine. Britain approved of this Zionist movement and promised the land to the Jewish people, unrightfully in truth. The peace didn’t last long. The Zionist movement leaders began to prepare, and formed an army that was ready to fight and conquer. Palestine was still a 90% Arab-Palestinian made up nation in 1946, but by 1947, everything changed and the Palestinians paid the price. 10s of 1,000s of Jews began pouring into Palestine. One of the first documented accounts of this arguably genocidal movement, was that of Dair Yasin, when 150 men women and children were murdered, and the rest were exiled. The truth is, people were literally being kicked out of their homes, having their homes destroyed, or being murdered, and this never stopped. The Population was still 69% Arab and 31% Jewish, yet to stop the killings and fighting, the UN came up with a two state solution that would ultimately give the much larger population of Arabs, only 43% of the land they’d inhabited for ages, and give the Jews, who were there less than a year and were a far smaller population, 57% of the land. Apparently this wasn’t enough so the settlement progressed leading to the death of over 15,000 Arabs in the Arab Israeli wars, and far more deaths in other disputes. This new state of Israel controlled 78% of the land that they stole through murder and exile, and wasn’t done yet. In later years many more conflicts arose, but the more recent ones include the over five-thousand dead Palestinians between 2000 and 2009 documented. By December 2006, over ¼ of a million Palestinian families were forced to become registered in refugee camps in other nations and 5 million individuals had become refugees, and these numbers continue to grow in the last twelve years to this date. More recently, in 2014 over 2,000 Palestinians were killed by Israeli terrorists and the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces. 17,200 homes were destroyed, along with 300 schools, and close to ½ of a million people were forced to live in emergency shelters, all in the matter of one month, from July to August. The killing hasn’t stopped. Terrorism and abuse is always existential. The Palestinians have gone as long as 2 or 3 months with no access to water and food and they are often under siege almost always. There are many documented cases of illegal arrests and murders by Israeli forces. It has gotten to the point where Palestinians have almost no human rights whatsoever. Studies show that the Arab death toll has reached well over 150,000 since 1948. Now all that is left of Palestine is tiny areas of land known as Gaza and the West Bank which are smaller than most US counties.
This is not a religious war it is a war that determines humanity. You don’t have to be Muslim or Christian to support Palestine, you just have to be human. Even the most educated and humane Rabbis support Palestine and condemn Israel. So I urge you to support Palestine vocally. Let these words be heard and let the injustices not go unnoticed. Write a letter to congress, attend protests, tweet, post, share, speak, and educate people on this matter.
Imagine your nation of origin being literally stolen from your people in less than a year and the continuity never stops. Imagine not being allowed into your church or mosque to worship because you will be killed or arrested for attempting to do so. Imagine being raided with tear gas when walking to school as a young 6 year old boy or girl. Imagine having your baby burned alive, then the death of your baby being celebrated. Imagine your brother or sister being shot in front of your own eyes, or watching your siblings or friends who haven’t even reached puberty yet get arrested for no reason. These are all everyday occurrences for the Palestinian people and they haven’t stopped since the nineteen twenties. So when the only hope for a voice and for change is labeled as terrorism or goes unheard, I ask that you please be the hope and you make your voice heard one way or the other. Help my people rise and help Palestine become existential once again, because if not it will be gone along with a history, a portion of a faith, a holy land, and humanity. Either we stand and fight with voices and with knowledge, or we have allowed the extermination of a nationality and a culture. Once again, please speak up, write, post, share, educate, scream it for Heaven’s sake! It is time for a change and it is time to regain humanity where it has been long lost and neglected. Together we can help Palestine rise from the ashes. Thank you.