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9 FAQ's About Palestine. What You Need To Know.

What is the Balfour Declaration?

Palestine had been under British military occupation since December 1917. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 was issued by Britain to the Zionist Organization of the World and was a turning point in the Zionist’s bid for Palestine; it stated that Britain supported the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine and would put forth its best efforts to achieve this purpose.  The term “national home” had no position in international law and was left intentionally vague. The British government had confirmed that the “national home” was meant to be IN Palestine and not cover all of Palestine. As the indigenous population should not be at risk. 


The British Mandate was supposed to have been created as a tool to protect the interests of the indigenous population – the Palestinians. But the fact that the Balfour Declaration was included in the Mandate document calls into question the validity of the mandate itself. How could the rights of the indigenous population be respected and protected when the same document calling for that also gives Britain the authority to facilitate the creation of a national home for the Jews? (The British Government did backtrack in 2017 and publicly said that the Declaration should have called for protection for the Palestinian Arabs’ rights). 


Why is Israel labeled as an apartheid state? 

Apartheid: a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race.

Segregation is built into the DNA of Israel as it was founded as a Jewish state and caused over 750,000+ Palestinians to become refugees and many to be killed. It is impossible to deny that there is a “race/ethnicity” that is favored in Israel. License plates are different for Palestinians so that they can only access certain roads. There are gates, checkpoints, and walls that obstruct the daily living of many Palestinians. Gaza is an open-air prison where Israel controls what comes in and what goes out, electricity, and the water supply. When entering the Tel Aviv airport, Arabs are subjugated to extensive interrogation filled with threats and fear mongering. Palestinians' homes are taken away and given to white Europeans or Americans. There is a clear line drawn between the Palestinians/Arabs and Jewish/White populations. It is important to acknowledge that although not due to their faith, the Jewish population does benefit while Palestinians are treated as less than human. 

What is an intifada and how did it even happen? 

Intifada is the word used for the two major Palestinian uprisings against the Israeli Occupation Forces since 1948, one in 1987 and one in 2000. 

The first intifada took place in December of 1987 when an Israeli truck purposely rammed into Palestinian vans causing the death of four Palestinian workers. Resulting in a series of protests against Israel and their illegal occupation. During this time, Palestinians were subjugated to an influx of beatings, killings, home invasions and demolitions, as well as unjust imprisonment. 

The second intifada was in September of 2000 at the Al-Aqsa Mosque when Ariel Sharon appeared at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City with more than 1,000 Israeli police. In a blatant attempt to provoke Palestinians, he repeated a phrase that was broadcast during the 1967 Six Day war when Israeli Occupation Forces seized East Jerusalem, “’The Temple Mount is in our hands,’" Sharon shouted. Palestinians reacted almost immediately to the threat to Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam. 

Death Count: Over 7000 Palestinians killed

(Death Tolls were recorded from B’Tselem Database)

 

What about Hamas? 

It is important to have a clear answer to this question, so it is good to know some context. Hamas came about in 1987, about 40 years after 700,000+ Palestinians were forcefully displaced from their rightful homes as a result of the Nakba. 1987 is the date that marks the beginning of the First Intifada, a series of protests against Israel and their illegal occupation. During this time, Palestinians had seen an influx of beatings, killings, home invasions and demolitions, as well as unjust imprisonment. Hamas then took shape in hopes of using more aggressive tactics than the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). 

Funnily enough, the Israeli government had a hand to play in the formation of Hamas. They encouraged it as a counterbalance to PLO, which was secular and therefore more persuasive to an objective viewer of the occupation. Israel even helped fund Hamas.

Now if someone in 2021 were to ask “What About Hamas?”. A good answer would be that everything Hamas does is reactionary. Hamas does not attack unless attacked or threatened; In the First and Second Intifada, in 2008, in 2014, and now in 2021. Palestinians had gone decades with the Israeli government stealing their homes, disrupting daily lives, and killing the innocent, with no form of retaliation. Hamas was the first major glimmer of hope for all those subject to these crimes. “Rocks” were no longer sufficient. Israel had been doing unforgivable things for too long with zero repercussions. 

Distinguishing the difference between Hamas and the Israeli government should not be difficult. Israel is known as a global superpower with billions spent every year for their defense systems. Their most famous, the Iron Dome. The rockets Hamas fires in retaliation are more like glorified fireworks powered by fertilizer and sugar, known as the Qassam rocket. They are prone to malfunction and inaccurate targeting. Hamas knows these rockets will be stopped by the Iron Dome 99% of the time. Israel's defense system on the other hand is one of the most precise missile systems known internationally. So when they target a residential building, they are doing so deliberately with malice intent. There is also the false narrative going around that every building Israel targets is the home operation for Hamas. It is quite unlikely that Hamas takes residence in every building located in Gaza, but this loophole narrative has allowed Israel to defy International Law. 

'Whataboutism' is a common tactic used by those who do not have a solid argument or valid reasoning for their views. In the end “What About Hamas?. Hamas is reactionary and not comparable to the Israeli Defense system in any way nor are they a threat to Israeli citizens.

Is this only targeted towards Muslims? 

Palestine was a land filled with all those who follow the three Abrahamic religions. Towns like Ein Karem and Bethlehem were filled with Christians and Catholics. Many Jewish Palestinians lived in northern Palestine and southern Syria. Muslims were the majority, but not the only population affected. Palestinians were and are one. Muslims, Christians, Jews, and even Atheist Palestinians; All affected by the occupation. Though it is important to note that Israel is an Ethno-Religion Nationalist state, in which those of Jewish faith were favored. Muslim and Christian Palestinians are not embraced nor seen as equals. 

Why does the Israeli flag anger the Palestinians?  

To put simply, the Israeli flag was placed on the Palestinian homes that were taken away ; like a victory trophy. Very reminiscent of when the United States government placed the American flags on Indigenous lands. That flag represents the Nakba (Great Catastrophe) where 750,000+ Palestinians were kicked out of their homes, and over 35,000 killed.

What is the difference between antisemitism and anti-zionism?

Anti-Semitism is defined as hostility towards those who are semitic. Technically including the arab population. Though the definition has changed and its important to recognize that anti-semitism is now seen as those with hostility towards the Jewish population. If someone were accuse you of anti-semitism, saying “technically I am a Semite so I can’t be anti-semitic” is not a good response. With that being said, many will claim that being against Israel and anti-zionist is anti-semitic and that is simply untrue. 

Zionism is the belief that those of Jewish faith deserve a homeland and an establishment of a Jewish state and sovereignty over the “Land of Israel”. Simply a nationalist movement and ideology. It is fair to say Zionism in its nature is not sound. Establishing a state on inhabited land is not and will never be okay, even if religion is the reasoning. Let us not forget “Manifest Destiny”. Although the movement is in favor of the Jewish population, it is not a representation of the Jewish faith nor those who follow it. Same as the IS or the KKK. So lumping both together is unfair and prejudiced. 

Anti-Zionism = Anti-Facism. Anti-Apartheid. Anti-Occupation.


What about the increase in Anti-Semetisim?

The rise of anti-semitism is clear as day and is something that we cannot just brush off as a society. Mainly because this has been going on for hundreds of years. Though recently, the increase in Anti-Semitism was reported before anything ever occurred in Sheikh Jarrah and Palestine. A CBS news article from January noted the increase of attacks towards Jewish Americans was at the fault of Donald Trump. From 2015 to 2019, anti-semitic attacks jumped to a record high and during the January 6 insurrection many rioters were seen wearing “Camp Auschwitz shirts” Anti-Semitism is against the ethos in which Palestinians advocate for; Peace and Unity. So the recent increase in attacks is mostly due to one of three things. 

  • Media Gaslighting and Victimization. Israels’ influence on the western world and media does not go unnoticed. (To not fall under the stereotype that “Jews control the media '' I would like to note this is more due to the western superpowers and white supremacy more than anything). Protests against the Israeli occupation have been happening for just over three weeks with rarely any news coverage. Just recently we have seen News channels, Celebrities, and Influencers posting about anti-semitism. (insert Debra Messings’ post) This came after Palestinians took over social media presence and spread information about the occupation. Simply a ploy used to victimize the oppressor which ends up equating Jewish identity with Palestinian suffering. (the.juc). 
    1. Mis-Interpretation. Many times people will see Palestinians saying “yin3an el yahud” which is seen as a translation for “curse the Jews”. Which yes, does sound anti-semitic. But you cannot always have a direct translation from arabic to english. It is more closely translated to “Curse the Settlers/IDF” in the context of when it is said. Growing up in the middle east and around majority Palestinians, I can say this rings true. Palestinians have no problems with those of Jewish faith. Though sadly, due to Israel weaponizing Jewish beliefs there becomes an overlap in language used. (But because the word “yahud” does not differentiate between Jewish people and Settlers the phrase should be cut out of circulation)
    2. Conscious Exploitation. The Pro-Palestine movement is not anti-semitic and 99.9% of supporters are also not anti-semitic. Though it would be unjust to not acknowledge that there are xenophobic people filled with hate who would exploit the movement. People who saw an opportunity to shift blame while also being able to fulfill their hate filled desires. 

    So... where should the Jews go? 

    Seeing as there are Jews who have lived on the land of Palestine for centuries. The question should veer more towards “Where do the settlers go?”, and to that the answer is simple; Back to where they came from. Settlers are not native to the region of Palestine nor did they acquire the land legally (by international law). Many settlers have dual citizenship and were born someplace other than the Middle East. Separate from the settlers, it is unfair to deny that there have been 73 years of people living in Palestine who were not there before. 

    Those who are second, third, and even fourth generation have no place else to go. That is where the one-state solution comes to play. Palestinians get their land back and nobody is treated as second class citizens. Previous Israeli citizens, in theory, live as Palestinians just like they had before 1948.


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