Note: This opinion piece based on the views of the writer does not reflect those of the outlet.
After almost two weeks of violently bombing besieged Gaza, Israel had approved a ceasefire. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states that the result of such a massacre includes so far 8,500 internally displaced Palestinians; 256 murdered Palestinians of which 66 were children; and the destruction of residential buildings, roads, bridges, businesses, schools, hospitals and a COVID-19 testing lab. Nonetheless, the siege on Gaza continues as does the occupation of Palestinian land from the river to the sea. Therefore, before beginning with this article, I’d like to declare glory to all our martyrs and our continued resistance.
The world is currently witnessing what had never been seen before and that is Palestinians uniting and organising to decolonise Palestine. The brutal system that oppresses Palestinians is nothing new, rather a continuation of the violence experienced for 73 years since the 1948 Nakba. From kidnapping children, unexpected night raids, cutting water and electricity, stealing homes, publicly lynching, mass murdering and other forms of terrorism, Israel must be stopped. The world must finally listen and speak up for Palestine.
Whether you are just now learning about Palestine or have heard of the Palestinian struggle before, there are ways you can help. Please do remember that your help is needed now more than ever as Palestinians organise a revolution to decolonise their country!
1. Centre Palestinian Voices
As the media strives to silence Palestinians from sharing their experiences, it is crucial for consumers to amplify their voices. Therefore, ensure you follow, listen, and share Palestinian stories. This goes for everyone, from Palestinians in the 48 occupied areas to Palestinians in the West Bank to Palestinians in Gaza and Palestinians in the diaspora. Here are just a few accounts and hashtags to help you be up to date with everything Palestine:
Palestinians on Twitter:
Palestinians on Instagram:
Activism, however, does not simply end once you log out of your social media accounts. It is equally important to make all the Palestinians in your life feel heard and seen. This means putting aside your nationalism and giving Palestinians the space to express themselves. For many, it is incredibly surreal to have a safe space and simply say “I’m Palestinian”. That being said, have their backs and participate in protests happening in your local area while remembering to be COVID-safe. Showing up counts. The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in the UK specifically have scheduled protests and events you can take part in. Show them some love!
2. Support BDS
Following in the steps of South Africa’s successful boycott movement to end apartheid, Palestinians are now pushing for everyone to take part in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This is a global campaign to hold Israel accountable for its settler colonialism. As such, the movement aims for people to make ethical purchases by boycotting companies and brands complicit in Israel’s settler colonialism. Additionally, it forces the standstill of investments from organisations to the Israeli economy. People are encouraged to pressure their governments to apply sanctions against Israel too. For students of Queen Mary, University of London, you can sign the open letter organised by the Friends of Palestine society committee at Queen Mary, University of London’s Students’ Union.
From the 6th to 12th of June, Palestinians in Palestine have carried out an economic week ‘Palestine Economic Week’ to boost Palestine’s economy and to boycott everything Israeli. Although it has ended you can still support local Palestinian businesses.
Moving on from the Palestine Economic Week, you are still encouraged to practice BDS. To do so, follow the BDS movement and check out the BDS Movement website to find your local group to support. Remember that capitalism thrives off of colonialism, and accordingly, the long list of big brands that support the Israeli apartheid may be overwhelming. As per the BDS Movement’s advice, it is best to target the few brands and companies that your local group is currently boycotting rather than boycotting the full list.
The losses Palestinians in Gaza have experienced are far too heavy to put into words. Living in an open-air prison also means that there is a blockade on any aid coming in. Furthermore, the inability to move anywhere beyond Gaza means that Palestinians cannot even travel for life-saving treatments. Therefore, if you can, donate to Palestinians directly to support them as they gather the pieces of their lives back together again. Here is a list of gofundmes to support.
4. Open up Conversations and Never Stop Learning
Palestinian culture is rich. From our traditional dabke dance and tatreez art to our olive and orange trees, we express our love for our land and identity. Throughout the 73 years of being violently and actively colonised, not a single Palestinian has forgotten our movement. Instead, resistance has been communicated through several ways from the music we create to the dabke that we dance; embroidering through the traditions of tatreez; the films we produce and so and so forth. Nonetheless, Palestinians would not have a platform to showcase their art and history at most times. Therefore, it is necessary for you to learn and share our history beyond the current occupation and it is necessary to support Palestinians whenever they present their work. This way, the mainstream media will be forced to give Palestinians a platform to share their voices and experiences that is far removed from the myths and propaganda put forth by Israel.
To learn Palestinian history, click here.
To watch films about Palestine and by Palestinians, click here.
To read works by Palestinians, click here.
To listen to music by Palestinians, click here.
For more resources, check out this masterlist.
Do not be afraid to ask questions and go on to learn more about Palestine. Without a doubt, Palestine will be free from the river to the sea!