In October 2020, during a pandemic and worldwide crisis, the Israeli court decided that a myriad of Palestinians in a neighbourhood within East Jerusalem called “Sheikh Jarrah” were to be evicted from their homes to make way for Jewish residents by May of 2021.
After several appeals to the court, protests by the Palestinians against forceful eviction from their own property, and nightly sit-ins by activists that resulted in Israeli soldiers using force against the protesters, the court still ruled in favour of the evictions in May once again.
During the Holy month of Ramadhan, there was a great amount of tension amongst the police, protestors, and Israeli residents and eventually, after many disasters, Israeli soldiers stooped as low as to use stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets against the Palestinians in Masjid Al Aqsa; in a holy place. This resulted in hundreds of wounded Palestinians.
After a number of violent days, the governing militant group of Gaza, Hamas finally retaliated and launched missiles into Israeli territory.
Israel then responded with artillery bombardments and airstrikes that were supposedly meant to target Hamas but hit media headquarters, residential areas, hospitals, and refugees, killing over twenty Palestinians.
Within the eleven days of violence, over 250 Palestinians were killed, with two thousand wounded and 72000 displaced according to the United Nations. Around 13 Israelis were killed.
Then came the celebrated ceasefire. On the 21st of May, Egypt brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, leaving the Palestinians feeling a little victorious after the weeks of death and turmoil.
Around mid-June, after the ceasefire, Israel launched airstrikes into Gaza in response to Palestinian militants flying balloons over Israel (which was done in response to a right-wing march in Jerusalem during which 33 Palestinians were injured) Not only did Israel strike Gaza once for the balloons, they did it TWICE.
Furthermore, to our disgust, Israel has begun demolishing houses in Silwan, Jerusalem after demanding that 130 people evacuate and demolish their own houses or cover the $6000 for demolishing them. They also fired rubber-coated steel bullets to disperse the Palestinians.
Israeli law has also made it almost impossible to appeal against the demolitions of their own homes. So much so that videos of residents actually hammering down their houses circulated social media.
We have seen women being dragged across the road, children crying beneath the rubble, grooms waking up to hear their brides have passed away in an attack, their apartments being destroyed, Healthcare facilities being fired at, youngsters have been taken to jail for speaking up.
We have seen torture, death, homelessness, sickness, and helplessness. Despite it all, the Palestinians hold more spirit and bravery than any Israeli soldier could because they know that one day, their patience, their pain, and their prayers will pay off.
It is up to us, and the media to help them bring that day closer. To spread awareness, to bring forth the facts so that Israel can stop claiming that they’re doing all of this in self-defense. Their weapons are guns and grenades, the Palestinians have sticks and stones, what are they defending themselves against? children? old men? women?
Millions of people around the world are protesting against Israel. Millions chanting “Free Palestine” and yet, Israel strikes them in response to floating balloons? They call this a WAR? It’s a genocide, it’s ethnic cleansing.