The strengthening relationship between the United States and Israel has put Palestine in more danger than ever, with the Trump administration becoming increasingly invested in the ongoing conflict. The US government has publicly supported Israel’s claims to the historically contested land, drawing up a policy that will enable Israel to seize 30% of Palestinian territory.
The annexation process, initially due to start on July 1st, has been widely condemned by the international community. The backlash has temporarily stalled the process, due to Trump’s hesitation to support elements of Israel’s plans for the territory.
If the annexation of the West Bank commences, Palestine is unlikely to survive. The proposed move signals Israel’s disregard for any sort of resolution and stands to endanger the lives of thousands of Palestinians who risk being displaced in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel is one of the longest of the 21st century, spanning over 70 years. Since the formation of Israel in 1948, violence has plagued the region. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced leading to one of the world’s worst refugee crises to date.
Since then, tensions and violence has repeatedly escalated in the contested Holy Land. The Israeli state has shown no restraint in their attempts to gain control over Palestine- murdering, torturing and imprisoning men, women and children in a systematic process of ethnic cleansing.
Currently, Israel is the only country in the world that tries minors in military court.
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) August 1, 2019
One of the greatest detriments to the conflict is that it has been constructed as a purely religious dispute. This narrative has pitted the nations against each other, simplifying it to one that is essentially ‘Jews versus Muslims’. The Israeli government has intentionally promoted this narrative in an attempt to make the will of the state and that of the Jewish people synonymous. Using this approach has allowed the Israeli state to brand any criticisms of their actions as anti-Semitic. This detracts from real instances of antisemitism and has previously thinned condemnation, especially from democratic strongholds in the EU, such as Germany.
Supporting Palestine is not anti-semetic. Israel must be held accountable for the treatment of Palestinians and the occupation of Palestine. (Coming from a Jew who is also Israeli) #freepalastine
— 🔮🔱☭ (@jenjenboko) July 4, 2020
Lack of international intervention to progress or repair peace talks, or effectively restrict Israel’s occupation, has been detrimental to the Palestinian cause. The nation itself is not recognized in its own right in many parts of the world; Google has never officially labelled the territory as Palestine on the world map.
— Yanis (@YanisBrkn) July 16, 2020
Israel has incrementally invaded and subjected the nation to decades of sustained assault underpinned by apartheid rule and a gross violation of human rights. The Israeli invasion initiative has recently been strengthened through increased foreign aid in the form of economic and military assistance. In 2019 the US provided Israel with $3.8 billion in foreign military aid.
The proposed annexation is part of Trump’s 2020 ‘Peace Policy’ which aims to enable Israel to seize control of 30% of Palestinian territory. It also suggests that Palestine be further divided and demilitarized. Netanyahu recently announced that Palestinians currently living in the targeted areas will not be given Israeli citizenship, leaving them stateless.
Trump’s plan completely disregards the will and best interests of Palestine, and the annexation has been deemed as a contravention of international law. The EU has warned Israel that there will be consequences if they move forward with the illegal action, although sanctions remain off the table.
Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank are at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods if the planned annexation of one-third of the territory goes through.
Here are some things you can do to help protect Palestine and its people:
Support the BDS movement
Support and promote the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in your country. The BDS movement started in 2005 and promotes the boycotting, divestment and sanctioning of Israel and all Israeli products, business or trade. It was inspired by the successful sanctions campaign against South Africa during the anti-apartheid movement.
Demand that your government implement sanctions against Israel’s apartheid state and divests until Palestine is free and protected. Start petitions calling for your government to promote the recognition of Palestine. Make sure to lay out why supporting Palestine is an act of justice and equality. Campaign for your country to support pro-Palestine treaties, such as those promoted by the United Nations. In 2019, many countries that had previously abstained from voting, effectively failing to support Palestine, voted in favor of Israel. However, recent developments have caused these same countries to switch track, publicly opposing Israel’s new annexation plan. This is a crucial moment to capitalize on and should be used to sustain and increase action that favors the protection of Palestine.
Start petitions and campaigns to get local businesses and organizations involved in the BDS movement. Be aware that petitions are most effective when you are able to engage with those who you are calling on to act. Campaigns which address those who are inflicting the violence, such as the Israeli government, often go unnoticed. It is more impactful to direct petitions to those whom you can demand a response from, or where you can apply pressure consistently.
Here is a list of organizations that you can donate to in order to directly aid the Palestinian cause:
- BDS Movement
- Medical aid for Palestinians
- Palestine children’s relief fund
- Save the children
- International medical corps
- US campaign for Palestinian rights
- Human concern international
- Institute for middle east understanding
Educate yourself, and then others.
Below is a list of resources/sites that can help you be better informed about the history of the conflict and why Palestine needs your help:
- A site that provides a comprehensive history of the conflict and divisions, as well as updates on the current crisis.
- An independent non-profit organization which aims to educate and encourage discussion on Palestinian rights and freedom within the framework of international law.
- The Balfour Declaration by Bernard Regan
“Most have heard of the Balfour Declaration without fully appreciating its history and consequences. With this meticulous and insightful study, we have a fascinating and timely guide to British colonial policy in Palestine, and its devastating impacts for the Palestinian people to this day.” – Professor Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University
- Ten Myths About Israel by Ilan Pappe
“One of the most prominent Israeli political dissidents living in exile … He is also one of the few Israeli students of the conflict who write about the Palestinian side with real knowledge and empathy.” – Avi Shlaim, Guardian
- Return by Ghada Karmi
“A hauntingly written, remorselessly honest, and surely long lasting account of Palestinian loss and struggle.” – Donald MacIntyre, Independent
- Palestine Speaks Edited by Mateo Hoke and Cate Malek
“Palestine Speaks demonstrates that nothing is more eloquent than the voices of those who endure and try valiantly to survive. Nothing is more important for us than to listen to them carefully, to grasp their suffering, to learn from their testimonies about them and about ourselves, and to use this understanding to bring their tragedy to an end.” – Noam Chomsky
Raise awareness and support for the cause:
Talk to your friends, family, classmates and anyone else in your circles. Share accurate information about the crisis and the imminent danger posed by Trump’s policy
Boycott celebrities’ and their work, if they choose to perform in Israel or support the Zionist beliefs of the state. Many celebrities have weighed in the debate; some claim that supporting Israel is an act of Jewish pride, or serves to show their opposition of the actions of Hamas. These justifications are another example of how Israel, Judaism and the Zionist state have been blurred into one. This misconstrues the reality of the Israeli government’s sustained and violent attack on the Palestinian people. Seth Rogan, Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman and Kanye West are just a few of the celebrities who have openly voiced their support for Israel. However, many fans have successfully alerted high-profile celebrities to the importance of boycotting the actions of the Israeli state. In 2017 Lorde cancelled her planned performance in Israel, following a social media campaign highlighting the oppressive nature of the Israeli state.
Organize marches, research planned pro-Palestinian events/campaigns, join or start online movements to discuss how to take action that further promotes the Palestinian cause.
Boycott pro-Israel brands, products and companies: Caterpillar bulldozers have been used to demolish Palestinian homes, Hewlett Packard (HP) assists Israel in running the ID system used to restrict Palestinian movement, and Puma sponsors Israel’s football association which has teams in the occupied territories. Join and promote existing boycott campaigns happening in your country.
Tell these companies to end their complicity in Israel's war crimes!
— PSC (@PSCupdates) February 26, 2020
Fact check before you share information and make sure about the legitimacy of the source. There is a lot of propaganda aimed at misrepresenting the conflict.
Supporting Palestine is not anti-Semitic, or disrespectful to the history of the Jewish people. Nor does it signify any sort of religious affiliation. To stand for the protection of the Palestinian people is to stand for Justice, equality and freedom. It is to condemn the violent apartheid state of Israel that is attempting to dispossess the land of thousands, stripping them of their homes and livelihoods.
The proposed annexation will be the final nail in Palestine’s coffin and we cannot allow this to happen.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”