Guest Contributor: Tasneem Sultan from Human Connections
Thirty years after the UN resolution 181 II adaptation of Palestine partition into two states, the United Nations approved another resolution on November 29, 1977, for an annual observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day promotes Palestinian rights, the ongoing struggle for freedom and dignity, cultural events, and remembrance that Palestinians have not yet achieved their inalienable rights.
The question of Palestine is about colonization, occupation, and policies of the Israeli government targeting Palestinians and their human rights, which the US funds. Since World War II, Israel has been the largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving $3.8 billion of American taxpayer dollars in 2020 alone, and during this Gaza war, another $14.3 billion, funds that should be directed to alleviate issues affecting the US today.
Israel continuously violates international law and currently keeps five million Palestinians under military occupation. The story did not start on Oct 7th. Unfortunately, the loss of civilian life and ethnic cleansing had been going on since before 1948, and 2023 is already the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since 2005. From the Huwara pogrom to the deadly raid on Jenin, the home demolition and the demolishment of schools, the attacks on Al Aqsa Mosque, arrests and killing of children, West Bank settlements, checkpoints, an apartheid system, and pushing annexation policies, Palestinians face injustice in every aspect of their daily life. In the occupied West Bank, raids and settler violence are increasing, and more Palestinian are being detained in prisons. There is also a growing harassment against Palestinian Christians. Another Nakba is unfolding in the occupied West Bank.
Gaza, the largest and densely packed concentration camp on earth, is the home of 2.3 million Palestinians, including 1.1 million children, and has been besieged by Israel for the last 16 years. Right now, a genocide is materializing while the world watches, with continuous carpet bombing in Gaza. The indiscriminate bombing of multiple hospitals, schools, refugee camps, mosques, and churches and the use of white phosphorus, have destroyed the whole infrastructure. According to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, from 10/7 to 11/27, the number of people killed in the Gaza Strip has increased by 20031 (8176 children), and thousands are still buried under the rubble. According to the UN, "1.7 million are now displaced" since October 7. There has been a complete blockade of food, water, medical aid, and any other necessities since Israel started the war. Now, a temporary pause. We do not need a pause; we need a complete ceasefire and peace in the region.
How is the world not able to stop it? The Palestinians’ voices are being eliminated. These stories need to be heard. The dehumanization of Palestinians is not hidden. This war has shown the real faces of those who are on the right side of justice, humanity, and fundamental human rights and who are not. The silence reveals the complicity of genocide.
Criticism of Israel and its policies or criticism of Zionism, which is a political ideology, is frequently portrayed as anti-Semitism. A critique of Israel backed with truth and evidence, should be understood as a valid critique of an oppressive government. Just as other countries are held accountable for human rights violations, Israel can be as well. Using the same mindset to criticize violence and abuse in the US or in other histories, Israel’s history should be assessed critically as well. But anyone who speaks about Israel and its human rights abuse against Palestinians is deemed anti-Semitic. It is notable and well-recognized that in the history of Jews living in Muslim lands; they were protected, whether in the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, or Al-Andalus.
UN resolution 194 officials recognize the 'right of return' of Palestinians who were expelled during 1948. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are respected organizations that agree on the right of return. B'tselem, the Israeli human rights group, also documented that Israel is an apartheid state. In the words of Noam Chomsky, "The last paradox is that the tale of Palestine from the beginning until today is a simple story of colonialism and dispossession, yet the world treats it as a multifaceted and complex story—hard to understand and even harder to solve."
So, What’s Next?…Acquire Knowledge and Support
The biased mainstream media is portraying Palestinians in negative ways, and some politicians are fueling hate against American Muslims and Palestinians. This has resulted in increased hatred directed at them. This past weekend, three Muslim college students were shot. Activists from all walks of life and college students are being censored and silenced but this will not stop people from standing on the right side of history. It's a struggle for everyone who is conscious of basic human rights. Also, this is a crucial time to counter fear, stereotypes, and suspicions by speaking up as an ally and reaching out to your colleagues and neighbors.
Jewish Voice for Peace is commendable for being on the front lines against this war and fighting for justice and liberation for Palestinians. They are taking a stand against Israel's actions in Gaza and are continuously on the streets holding protests, sit-ins, and rallies across the nation.
Learn the facts, do research, listen to experts, read books and history and make up your own minds, listen to the stories of Palestinians, hear the other side, and remember that misleading media does not necessarily show the facts. Do your homework. Sign a petition to end the occupation of Palestine and donate to a charity that is helping Palestinian people.
We all need to take a stand against apartheid, against violence, against murder, against oppression, against injustice. Ask yourself, are you okay with home demolitions, checkpoints, separation walls, and ethnic cleansing? The real question is, are you willing to stand up for human rights, dignity, and justice for all? You just need to be human to see the injustice happening in Palestine.
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People serves as a reminder that Palestinians continue to struggle for their land and rights. This day offers an opportunity for the worldwide community to reflect on why the Palestinians have yet to achieve the inalienable rights recognized by the General Assembly. This day symbolizes the intensely rooted history of the destruction of the native people of this land but also a struggle for peacemaking and upholding the principles of equity, justice, and dignity for humankind.