Earlier this year, Palestine was all over the news… for about two weeks.
Worldwide protests in over 150 cities occurred, with millions showing up in solidarity to Palestine and Palestinians. Hobart had two of its own vigils on May 15th and 22nd, organised by Friends of Palestine Tasmania, in response to the illegal bombing of Gaza by the zionist israeli occupation.
Palestine was receiving worldwide coverage, and with social media, unbiased news was accessible and spread. After 73 oppressive years by the israeli occupation and their illegal Jewish settlements, Palestine was finally getting the attention it deserved.
The crisis was triggered on May 6th after Palestinians took to protest against the decision of forced eviction of 13 Palestinian families in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah by the Supreme Court of israel. This led to israeli occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque – a sacred site in Islam – in the holy month of Ramadan, wreaking havoc on Palestinians with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
Residents of Sheikh Jarrah, twin siblings Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd, lead the movement through live documentation on their social media accounts, exposing the violence, racism and ethnic cleansing that israelis committed and continue to. The twin activists have already been subjected to forced displacement when part of their home was taken over by israeli settlers in 2009, at just 11 years old.
The Palestinian situation received more exposure after May 10th, where Hamas, a Palestinian resistance organisation that also governs the Gaza strip, gave the israeli occupation an ultimatum to withdraw their colonial forces from the Temple Mount (where Al-Aqsa Mosque resides) and Sheikh Jarrah. After no response was given, retaliatory rockets were launched onto israeli occupation territory, in which the israeli occupation then attacked Gaza with violent airstrikes.
Gaza is a Palestinian territory facing a 14 year-long blockade by the israeli occupation. Home to 2 million Palestinians, over only 362 square kilometres, the Gaza Strip is incredibly densely populated, and is often described as the largest open-air prison in the world. The blockade has caused the impoverished territory to be uninhabitable, with severe shortages of medicine, food, electricity, and clean water.
The attacks caused further damage, including a 76% electricity deficit due to targeted infrastructure and electric/fuel plants, blocked ambulance access due to bombed hospital roads and 39,200 homes destroyed or damaged.
The israeli aggression hit with constant bombings and airstrikes targeting residential buildings, schools, hospitals, and medical clinics, including the only COVID-19 testing laboratory. As a result, 256 Palestinians were murdered, including 66 children and 40 women, as well as upwards of 1900 Palestinians injured and 91,000 displaced.
After 11 days, the israeli occupation agreed to a ceasefire on May 21st after huge international pressure. It wasn’t long afterwards that the terrorist occupation violated the ceasefire agreement. They attacked Gaza yet again on June 16, due to incendiary balloons sent by Gaza militants that caused 26 fires (they are threatened by balloons?).
A considerable amount of the coverage died down after the ceasefire agreement, much to Palestine’s harm. It’s disappointing that the internet only likes to prioritise Indigenous genocide for about 15 days.
So, fast forward to the present day. What’s happened with Palestine? Did the martyred Gazans receive justice? Did the Supreme Court make a decision about Sheikh Jarrah?
The situation has only gotten worse since. In addition to Sheikh Jarrah facing forced expulsion, as do Silwan, AlNaqb, Lifta, Beita, and Yafa. Occupation forces have stormed the houses of Palestinian families living in these neighbourhoods and towns countless times with the only intent of terrorising them with violence and dispossession.
The occupation has demolished 81 Palestinian homes this year alone. In Silwan and Hebron, the expulsion and home demolishing of Indigenous Palestinians has already begun, in order to make way for settlers or to build other facilities, like a ‘”biblical theme park” in Silwan’s case.
Sheikh Jarrah’s case continues to be delayed and under blockade in the sole effort of suffocating and terrorising the Palestinian residents, while zionist settlers roam free, often armed, and permitted to harm Palestinians, with the protection of the occupation forces.
Gaza has suffered several overnight air raids since May. No shocker that a ceasefire is meaningless to a state built on Indigenous genocide and annexation. Palestinians will rightfully resist the occupation however they can, whether it be inflammatory balloons or rocks, and the imperialist occupation responds with airstrikes.
In June, thousands of far-right zionist settlers marched at Damascus gate in occupied Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs” and “A good Arab is a dead Arab” as well as “The 2nd Nakba is coming”, with full support of the occupation (unsurprising). An estimated 33 Palestinians were injured with stun grenades and rubber bullets, and 17 arrested by occupation forces for protesting the racist movement.
The israeli settler-colonial occupation continues to carry out war crimes in Gaza, continues to violate international law and continues to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians, but the fight for a free Palestine will never end.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.
The non-capitalisation of “israel” is purposeful and used to demonstrate its illegitimacy as a state. Hence why it is also never referred to as solely “israel” but as an occupation.
Pictures: Angelica Willis