As a Jewish activist, I would like to invite other young Jews, Palestinians and any people of interest in the struggle for peace to get involved in this debate, this burning issue facing our younger generations: What to do about the Palestine/Israel conflict. In this article I hope to give a glimpse into some basic concepts surrounding the issue. In further articles I would like to open up some of these themes in more detail such as the difference between “Anti-Semitism” and “Anti-Israel” alongside many other topics of importance within the struggle for Palestinian self-determination. This article is simply a base in which to start to dive in to the conflict. I hope you will look at the past 2 issues of Fire This Time (Vol.9 Iss. 11 & Iss. 12) for more around this issue and continue reading in the future so we can together understand the crisis of Israeli occupation of Palestine and work together to confront and end it.
Israel Zionist Regime is Brutal
While families were preparing for holiday and Christmas celebrations around the world, many in Bethlehem, Palestine, the birthplace of Jesus Christ were observing the holidays differently. A parade of Palestinians representing all faiths marched through the streets near the Israeli apartheid wall dressed as Santa Clause. They were protesting many issues although all related at its base to the same thing: deplorable living conditions thanks to Zionist occupation.
Although the December 19th Santa Clause protest’s aim was to be peaceful, protesters were even attempting to give candy to Israeli Defense Force soldiers (IDF), as usual Israeli military cracked down brutally. In the end 14 Palestinians were injured.
This protest is part of months of ongoing resistance by Palestinians to almost 70 years of Zionist occupation. This upswing of resistance which began in early October, 2015, led by Palestinian youth has become widely known as the 3rd Intifada.
Many factors are believed to have contributed to the growth of the 3rd Intifada since October. The IDF as well as illegal Israeli settlers have burned and uprooted dozens of Palestinian olive trees, which they use as a livelihood. The state of Israel has been limiting access by Palestinians to their holy site the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and massive crackdowns on peaceful Palestinian protest have all been factors.
Back to Bethlehem, On October 4th, 2015 an Israeli sniper assassinated a 13-year-old boy during a protest. “My son went to school and never came home,” said Abdel Rahman Obeidallah, the mother of the murdered child.
Anger over the murder of this boy as well as the murders, injuries and crackdown on human rights of Palestinian people are have what led to this 3rd Intifada. And as long as the brutal occupation of Palestine continues the heroic resistance of Palestinian people led by their youth will persevere.
3 months into the 3rd Intifada there continue to be daily shows of protest by Palestinian people against occupation. Since October about 130 Palestinians have been killed while 20 Israelis have been killed in the same period.
What Future For Palestinian Youth
“Arab terrorism attacks us relentlessly and we are fighting it without restrictions,”
-Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel to his cabinet meeting. Dec. 27, 2015.
With statements such as this from Israeli officials, it’s no wonder why Palestinians are so frustrated. The blame for acts perpetrated by Palestinians, especially youth in the recent months that come in the form of stabbings and hit and runs by car cannot however be blamed on the Palestinian people. Although the Israeli government has used it as a justification to collectively punish the entire population, the acts are the concrete result of almost 70 years of brutal war and occupation.
The reality facing Palestinian people, especially youth, is the reality that they have no future. The apartheid wall and checkpoints make it near impossible for Palestinians to get to their jobs if they’re so lucky to be able to find jobs in the first place. Lack of water, electricity, food, medicines and every other essential human necessity make the conditions even worse. After that the nightly home invasions, bombings and other aspects of the war aim to strip Palestinian people of any hope for a dignified life. But as a result, generations of war and occupation have always led to generations of Palestinian youth who struggle against it. The 1st and 2nd Intifadas (Palestinian uprisings) were both led by youth. Those generations have become adults now. The 3rd Intifada we are witnessing today is propelled by the children of the 1st and 2nd.
The Prospect For Peace
The prospects for peace are not what mainstream media and the governments who back Israel would like us to believe. We are made to think these issues are complicated religious, cultural or political affairs we could never really understand. And for that reason every round of “peace talks” usually overseen by the U.S. have collapsed. The reality is they were never meant to succeed. Simply to act as a cover of progress while Israel continues to expand its territory displacing countless more Palestinian people.
Prospects of the “Two-State Solution” have all but plummeted. The possibility of two states living side by side was long ago made impossible by Israel through its aggressive illegal expansion and division of the West Bank by way of the apartheid wall.
However as time passes, another solution becomes clearer and more achievable: One State. We have been made to believe once again that there is some holy separation between Jews and Palestinians that could never be reconciled. Let’s dare to disagree! At one time Jews and Palestinians lived together peacefully on the same land. They may have had disputes at times but those disputes were in passing and not dissimilar from disputes among Jewish people or Muslim people within themselves.
Both people share many common interests. In fact the most important interests: those of a peaceful life, food, a home, healthcare, education, work… all things denied to Palestinian people by the Zionist occupation. But the reality is that more and more those same things are being denied to Jewish people living in occupied Palestine. Ever-growing unemployment, human trafficking, poverty, racism and dissatisfaction have become central to life for Israelis. The “GINI Index” which measures the level of inequality in countries has rated Israel second only to the U.S. in its level of inequality. So we can see that Palestinian people and Israeli people have a lot more in common then they have in opposition. And this phenomenon is only growing.
Zionist Regime the Problem
The problem is Israel, the problem is war and occupation. The problem is that Zionism and the state of Israel work as a block to the natural interests of all people living on that land. Therefore with Zionism’s ever burning hatred for Jewish peoples natural and necessary friend, the Palestinian people, one would argue that one state called Palestine with democratic rights for all and the right of return for Palestinian people expelled from their land is the only viable solution to the crisis of Peace.
Let’s unite across all religions, all races, all diversities to unite with the Palestinian people, join their 3rd Intifada and demand an end to the Zionist occupation of Palestine.
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