Universal solidarity with Palestine

Yezen Saadah, Santa Fe Staff Writer

On May 7th, the last Friday of Ramadan, Sheikh Jarrah (a quarter in Jerusalem) was bombarded by Israeli officials who were forcing Palestinians out of their homes through gunfire, tear gas, and stun grenades directed at Al Aqsa mosque in occupied Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. Following the brutal and forced displacement of already displaced Palestinian residents, Israel initiated a bombing on Gaza, taking the lives of over hundreds of Palestinian civilians – including hundreds of children – and injuring over 1,500 human beings.

This violent suppression of Palestinians and violation of human rights is a continuation of the Nakba (Catastrophe) that began in 1948, in which 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homeland after the establishment of the state known today as Israel. Over 420 villages were destroyed and the inhabitants were ousted or massacred. Given Palestine’s years of hardship under injustice, these unjust acts were never universally acknowledged until now. 

Since Sheikh Jarrah’s bombardment, universal cries against Israeli occupation of Palestine and for the freedom of Palestinians had been seen and heard across the globe. Not only are political figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), and Mark Pocan acknowledging the unjust violence committed in Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza, but celebrities such as John Oliver, Viola Davis, Idris Elba, Michael Moore, and even Snoop Dog are also speaking out against the inherent violation of Palestinians’ fundamental human rights through social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter. The rise of social media as well as the revitalization of the Black Lives Matter movement last year are obvious factors in gaining the attention of the public in regard to acts of injustice. This universal stand for freedom has echoed across the globe, sparking thousands of powerful protests in various countries.

I personally attended two Palestinian rallies in Houston, Texas – one taking place of May 15th, the 73rd anniversary of the Nakba – with both accumulating over 10,000 participants against the terror of Israeli occupation, and oppression. Individuals of diverse ethnic groups stood together as one people in “indigenous solidarity with Palestine.” Meanwhile, several thousand of individuals shout in justified unison through France, Italy, and the United Kingdom just to name a few.  Children, young men and women, and elders all act in favor of humanity as opposed to vicious horror. Cries for freedom and against injustice had never been so loud, so passionate, and so united. Protesters have made it clear that this isn’t “anti-semitism”, this is anti-oppression. 

“As Jews who care deeply about dismantling antisemitism, it’s critical we unpack the claims of an alleged ‘uptick’ in anti-semitism – they impact the Palestinian solidarity movement, and divert attention from the Israeli government’s continued violence,” said the Jewish, national organization, Jewish Voice for Peace, that is dedicated to the liberation and justice for Palestinians.

Now the question is: How do we help? We help by continuing and joining the shouts against injustice – the shouts against inhumanity. We help by spreading awareness and educating our friends in order to strengthen the ever growing solidarity with the Palestinian people. We help by listening to the voices of the people and by acknowledging the oppression. Israel’s current ceasefire acts as a temporary halt to the intensity of their current acts. However, this in no way halts the still existing decades of injustice placed upon the Palestinian people, as fueled by the Biden administration’s planned sale of $735 million in bombs to Israel, which, despite growing backlash, still remains in effect. By protesting, we not only enact change to policies, but we act as a bridge between the unheard and the voiceless.