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Understanding Palestine’s history and ways to support.

Take a look at the history of this sacred land and discover ways to help!
Orionist, previous versions by Makaristos, Mysid, etc., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Flag of Palestine

The conflict between Palestine and Israel has been at the forefront of global news since October 7th, after Hamas made a surprise attack on Israeli forces and civilians. However, this conflict is everything but a new development, and it’s complex origins need to be studied to understand what is happening in 2023. If you want to know the history of Palestine, and discover what you can do to help them during this difficult time, keep on reading.

This issue dates all the way back to the eruption of the zionist movement  in Europe. Zionism is a movement that called for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. This land is very important to multiple religions, as it is deemed the starting point of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. In 1947, UN resolution 181 partitioned Palestine to give way to a Jewish state, named Israel . Prior to the resolution, Palestine, especially the city of Jerusalem and surrounding areas, was very diverse in terms of religion.

Map showing how Palestinian land has decreased over the years. (איתמראשפר, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Following the resolution, the First Arab-Israeli war broke out in 1948. Surrounding Arab nations such as Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon invaded this land to fight against the UN’s decision. Israel won this war, and Palestinians were pushed out of their land into what is known as the West Bank, controlled by Jordan at the time, and the Gaza Strip, controlled by Egypt at the time. This displacement was called the Nakba, which means catastrophe in Arabic. Over 700,000 Palestinians had to flee, and majority of their land was now under Israeli control.

The next big change in land takeover occurred in 1967. This resulted in Israel having control over the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Nowadays, the West Bank is technically ruled by Palestinian Authority, but there are numerous Israeli troops that control flow of people and movement of Palestinians within the West Bank. There are also countless Israeli settlers, whose occupation leaves less and less land for Palestinians to build their own communities. Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a radical militant group turned terrorist. Gaza has been under a inhumane and cruel blockade of goods and transport of people since Hamas rose to power, limiting access to necessary resources. Gaza has been deemed the world’s largest open air prison, and its prisoners consist mostly of children.

This leads us to the latest development in a long fight for territory. On October 7th, 2023, Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing over 1400 people and taking hundreds of hostages. This terrorist action quickly outraged the international community, and focused all eyes on the Middle East. As a form of retaliation, Israel has resorted to airstrikes, bombings, and violence to deal with Hamas.

The issue at hand is this: over 2 million people live in the Gaza Strip, half of those being children. These innocent civilians have nowhere else to go, as they are unable to leave Gaza to seek refuge. Israel has continued these bombings for the past month, doing extreme amounts of damage to the livelihood of Palestinians and infrastructure of Gaza. Israel has outright violated humanitarian international law by cutting off food, medicine, water, and fuel supplies to the people in Gaza, and is actively preventing aid from other countries from reaching them. We are watching a genocide unfold right before our eyes, and we are not doing anything to stop it.

This entire conflict, as well as world leaders’ response to it, has sparked a lot of controversy. President Biden has been condemned for simultaneously supporting both sides, providing aid to both Gaza and Israel. Public opinion is extremely divided on this topic. Many consider that Israel has a right to defend their claim to this land by “any means necessary”, while others argue that Palestine has a right to this land since Palestinians lived prior to 1948 UN Resolution. Regardless of what people think, a fact that can’t be disputed is that Israel is currently trying to wipe out Palestinians from the map.

Many of us civilians around the world have followed this story closely since October, and the media’s response to it, or lack thereof, feels almost dystopian. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, or X (formerly known as twitter,) are filled to the brim with discussions about the latest fashion trends, Sephora Sales, or Grammy nominations. While the American entertainment industry is obviously not coming to a halt over a war in the Middle East, have we become so desensitized to violence that scrolling past Palestinian suffering is considered normal?. Part of our job as global citizens in the age of digital media should be supporting and speaking up for those who can’t, and we have failed Palestine tremendously.

However, there are many ways in which you can make small yet meaningful contributions to Palestine and the people providing us with information from the inside of Gaza.

  1. For starters, the most obvious way to support Palestine is to donate money to their cause if you are in a position to do so. Some resources worth checking out are the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, The World Food Programme, Medical Aid for Palestinians, UNRWA, Islamic Relief, and Doctors without borders.
  2. Boycott brands or organizations known for supporting Israel and funding the Palestinian Genocide. Many corporations such as Starbucks, NYX Professional Makeup, Disney, and Estee Lauder have come under fire for outright supporting Israel and donating money. Here is a list curated by Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld from Yale University, listing over 200+ companies that support Israel and includes links to the statements made that prove this support.
  3. Follow and share content by Palestinian creators and journalists. Many Palestinians both in and outside of Gaza have shared content online to educate others, report on what is happening, and most importantly, show what is happening. Some creators worth checking out are: @Motaz_Azaiza,  a photographer on Instagram providing us with a view of the horrors taking place in Gaza, @ByPlestia, a young Palestinian journalist documenting her life in Gaza in the form of diary entries and videos on TikTok and Instagram, and @Muslim on Instagram, an account posting relevant news regarding the Islamic Faith, but has resorted to mostly posting updates on Palestine since October.

Now, more than ever, we have to come together to support those who can’t use their voice. It is easy to feel helpless during this time, it’s easy to think that what you do has no effect on Palestine, but American voices are influential. Who America supports, votes for, and purchases from, has an impact felt beyond our borders. It’s important to use our privilege to be on the right side of history.



Free Palestine from the river to the sea

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