As of May 2021, the situation in Sheikh Jarrah has grown to full scale State Sanctioned Violence, supported by the United States. To offer some history; Sheikh Jarrah is one of the many villages in Palestine. Following the Nakba in 1948, many Palestinians families had seeked refuge in Sheikh Jarrah as East Jerusalem was under the administration of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Though when Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war, residents of Sheikh Jarrah were subjugated to violence and legal threats from the occupier. Residents and neighbors have put up a fight but the violence and threats have been an ongoing battle. Israeli Law seemingly allows Jews to claim the land and property of Palestinians under the belief that the Jewish population had once done so predating the Palestinian people. As they have made clear, Palestinians are not granted rights to their own properties though Israeli courts have “offered a choice” for the residents to pay rent. Understandably so, no one is willing to pay rent to the very people who stole their homes in the first place. So when Israel sent “eviction” notices in 2020 to forcibly remove 13 families from Sheikh Jarrah, the Palestinian community rose together to fight for their people.
As a form of retaliation for their failed attempts, Israel deployed members of their police force to Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. This comes not three weeks after Israeli police erected barriers around Jerusalem to prevent Palestinians from congregating at the steps of Bab al Amud. The police then stormed into Al-Aqsa mosque where Palestinians had been worshipping in peace and fired rubber coated bullets, tear gas, and sound bombs. As reported by Al Jazeera. Over the course of the past two weeks, the so-called “legal dispute” as described by the Israeli government has caused the deaths of over 212 Palestinians including 59 children and number is only increasing.
So the BIG question; How can I Help? How can I be an Ally?
💬 Use the Correct Terminology
- Palestinian Lives Matter - The phrase Palestinian Lives Matter stems from the phrase Black Lives Matter. Another movement fighting for their rights as human beings. Using the “Lives Matter '' portion is taking away from Black Americans in their fight to be seen as equal. Although yes Palestinian lives do matter, the phrase was coined by others. So as Palestinians we should continue to use “Free Palestine” and “Save Sheikh Jarrah”.
- Eviction - The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are not being “evicted”. They are being forcibly removed from their homes through “State Sanctioned Violence”.
- Conflict/War/Clash/Both Sides - A conflict is when you have equal footing in your opposition. The violence occurring in Palestine is “one of the strongest militaries in the world” vs “people fighting against the oppressor”. There is no war, just the occupier attacking the occupied. What is going on in Palestine can be categorized as an “Ethnic Cleansing”, “Occupation”, “Apartheid”, and “Colonialism”
🧠 Stay Educated
Now we are not saying that you need to own every book and ready every article ever written about Palestine, but it is good to have a basic understanding of the violence against Palestinians. Keep an eye out for biased news sources as well as listen from the Palestinian people on the ground. We will list a few credible sources you can follow down below. The goal is to stop the spread of misinformation that can happen so easily on social media.
🤬 Stop the Censorship of Palestinian Content
Going hand in hand with stopping the spread of misinformation is making certain that Palestinian voices are not being censored on social media. Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok have all seemingly taken a stand against Palestinian social influencers and have either shadow-banned videos or prevented users from using their apps to the fullest extent. So anytime you see credible posts about Palestine, interact.
✊🏼 Join BDS
Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions is a Pro-Palestine movement fighting for Freedom, Justice, and Equality. Mirroring the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa. The goal is to pressure the Israeli government into complying with International Law by taking what is most important to a government away from them; money. To find a list of companies to boycott, visit the BDSGUIDE.COM
✍🏼 Sign Petitions
There is this common misconception that signing petitions does nothing but waste time. Now not every petition has the power to create physical meaningful change. But petitions do a wonderful job at spreading the word showing the sheer volume of supporters to those in opposition. bit.ly/StopJerusalemExpulsions
If you are a resident of the United States, reach out to your representatives via email or phone encouraging them to support Bill #HR2590. (To promote and protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation and to ensure that United States taxpayer funds are not used by the Government of Israel to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law.) Petitions may help sway their stance on the issue as they will feel the need to represent their constituents.
👇🏼 Follow Credible Sources
Here we have listed a number of credible sources and individuals that speak on the movement.
🔥 Don’t Lose Momentum
- Keep using the hashtags - #SAVESHEIKHJARRAH #SHEIKHJARRAH #PALESTINE #FREEPALESTINE‼️
- Keep Posting‼️
- Educate others in your personal life‼️
- Attend Protests‼️
Join the Movement | www.paliroots.com 🇵🇸
About the Author - Majd Nuwarah is a Palestinian-American Writer, and Knafeh connoisseur. At just 18 years old, Majd has traveled to many different countries where he has been able to experience all kinds of cultures and people, which in turn helped inspire his love for writing. You can follow Majd on Instagram.