learn about what's happening in palestine, and how to help
palestine is a country located in the levant in western asia. it borders lebanon, syria, jordan, and egypt. currently, it is being occupied by the state of israel, a jewish ethnostate established by zionists in 1948.
contents and navigation
is 'palestine vs israel' a religious conflict?
while religion certainly plays a role, it is more about ideology. people who reduce palestine vs israel to a religious conflict are misinformed at best and intentionally distorting facts to suit their own agenda at worst. many people, in the west especially, think of this as a 'muslim vs jewish' religious conflict between two people, but that is simply untrue.
for one, not all palestinians are muslims — many are also christians, druze, samaritans, as well as agnostic and atheists. not all jewish people are religious either, and many jews are also atheists. rather than a religious conflict, it's one of imperialism and settler-colonialism. framing it as a religious conflict between muslims and jews can also lead to islamophobia or antisemitism.
what is zionism?
zionism is a racist settler-colonial ideology that advocates for a jewish ethnostate built on palestinian land. zionism as an ideology is inherently anti-palestine because it is only feasible through the ethnic cleansing and constant uprooting of the palestinian people. zionist founders admitted that zionism is a settler-colonial project and that in order for a jewish state to be established, the palestinians need to be ethnically cleansed from their homes and homeland.
i recommend reading the diaries and writings of early zionist founders — theodor herzl, ze'ev jabotinsky, david ben-gurion, and more, to understand how they advocated for ethnic cleansing of palestinians.
for a jewish state to exist, there needs to be a jewish demographic majority; this means that palestinians will never be given the right of return. despite what zionists claim, palestinians will also never be equal citizens under the state of israel — liberation is the only solution to peace.
is anti-zionism antisemitic?
no. anti-zionism is a stance taken by palestinians, and by non-palestinians in solidarity with the palestinian people. while some anti-zionists can be antisemitic (just as some zionists can be antisemitic), the position itself is not. it is also not antisemitic to criticize israeli policies.
ilan pappé, an anti-zionist jewish israeli historian, explains in better detail on why anti-zionism is not antisemitism in this debate — 'debate: anti-zionism is anti-semitism'. it's an hour long debate that i really recommend watching.
antisemitism is weaponized against palestinians and allies who stand up for palestinian human rights by zionists as a way to shut down criticism of israel. by saying that anti-zionism is antisemitism, zionists label all palestinians as antisemites for not wanting to be oppressed, as well as anyone who supports palestinian human rights.
what are the two 'solutions'?
today, there are two main "solutions" — the two-state solution, and the one-state solution.
the two-state solution advocates for both israel and palestine to exist alongside one another as sovereign states. however, this solution is not really a solution at all because it is merely another form of zionism, and israel has never shown any interest in allowing a palestinian state to exist. palestinians lose more and more land every day, and israel has repeatedly shown that it has no plans to stop building illegal settlements in the west bank. even if a two-state solution were to become a reality, palestinians would still be at a major disadvantage and in constant threat.
the one-state solution (either a palestinian state, or a complete israeli state) advocates for one state in which both arabs and jews can live together. however, a one-state solution under the israeli government would essentially mean that the palestinian people would completely be under the state of israel in every way imaginable.
one palestinian state would mean palestinian liberation, and the complete abolishment of the state of israel. this way is the only way towards justice; both arabs and jews can live together without an ideology that specifically advocates for the ethnic cleansing of one of them. palestinians would be allowed to return home, and millions of palestinians would not have to live under occupation and apartheid.
books to read
here is a list of books that you can read in order to learn more about palestine and the occupation.
i specifically recommend reading:
— palestine: a four thousand year history by nur masalha
— the ethnic cleansing of palestine by ilan pappé
— the question of palestine by edward said
— the hundred years' war on palestine by rashid khalidi
— ten myths about israel by ilan pappé
— unfree in palestine by nadia abu-zahra and adah kay
— palestinian identity by rashid khalidi
— the origins of palestinian nationalism by muhammad muslih
— justice for some by noura erakat
— the palestine nakba by nur masalha
palestine in ancient history
a common zionist talking point is that palestine did not exist until the british mandate. however, this point is easily refuted by the countless historical documents and other evidence that prove otherwise.
the name palestine (filastin in arabic) was first documented more than 3200 years ago. the name was used by ancient egyptians, ancient assyrians, the romans, as well as the greeks.
there is countless material evidence (documents, maps, historical records, letters) that use the name palestine. it has been used consistently from ancient history to current day.
"didn't arabs colonize the levant in the 7th century?"
this is another popular zionist talking point; "the jews were exiled, and the arabs colonized the levant so really, it's palestinians that are the real colonizers."
what people who use this talking point do not understand is that palestinians, along with many other shami (levantine) arabs, are an arabized people. they are not the arabs who colonized the levant, but are indeed part of the indigenous levantine population. they are people who simply began to identify as arabs after a long period of arabization took place.
what this means is that palestinian arabs are the same people that have living in palestine for thousands of years. their identifying as arabs does not make them any less indigenous to the land.
the beginning of zionist colonization in palestine
arabs and jews have lived alongside one another for centuries in palestine and other neighbouring countries. zionists, however, began moving to palestine in the 1800s with the sole intent of establishing a jewish ethnostate — the state of israel. these zionists did not intend to live peacefully alongside the palestinian people, but rather they saw them as an obstacle they had to get rid of in order to establish a jewish state.
zionism began as a christian colonial project back in the early 1800s. the middle east was located at a prime strategic point; many european leaders, such as napolean, were interested in establishing an ally in the region that would ultimately benefit their own imperialist interests.
later on, zionism was adopted by a small number of the jewish population in europe. many jewish zionist figures, such as theodor herzl and david ben-gurion, admitted that for a jewish state to exist, the native palestinian population had to be dealt with; meaning, a jewish state could not exist with a palestinian majority population.
these zionist figures also admitted that zionism was a colonial project; the word 'colonial' was even used in the names of early zionist organizations in mandate palestine. they understood the colonial nature of zionism; they just didn't care how it affected the native palestinian people.
in 1902, theodor herzl approached several european leaders and government figures to gather support for establishing a jewish state. one person he wrote to was cecil rhodes, a man who played a major part in annexing territory in southern africa.
zionist settlers in palestine
zionist settlers began moving to palestine in the late 1800s, and one of the first things they did was begin buying land. this land was mainly bought from absentee farmers and landowners — even then, it only amounted to 7% of the total land in palestine. the jewish population in palestine also amounted to less than 10% of the total population at the time.
these zionists knew that with only 7% of the land and less than 10% of the population, it was impossible to build a jewish state. zionist leaders knew that to establish a jewish demographic majority, the palestinian population had to be ethnically cleansed from the land.
prominent zionists, such as theodor herzl, vladimir jabotinsky, and max nordau repeatedly referred to zionism as colonialism, and talked about ethnic cleansing of palestinians.
the balfour declaration
in november 1917, during the first world war, the balfour declaration was issued by britain's foreign secretary, arthur balfour. this was a letter sent by balfour to lord rothschild, a prominent zionist, ensuring britain's support for the establishment of a jewish state in palestine.
the balfour declaration was essentially one of the first steps taken by europe towards building a jewish state. it was issued in blatant disregard of the native population, and did not take the palestinian people and their wishes into account whatsoever.
after the balfour declaration, zionist settlers began moving to palestine in larger numbers and began building more and more colonies — most of them in northern palestine, and also along coastal areas. between 1917 and 1947, thousands of zionist settlers moved from europe to palestine. by 1947, a year before the nakba, the jewish population was around 33%.
the ethnic cleansing begins
the ethnic cleansing of palestinians had been planned for years. throughout the 1930s, zionists began an undercover survey of arab villages; this included aerial photographs, a detailed registry, and precise layouts of palestinian villages.
zionists also compiled an archive that included in incredibly precise detail: locations of villages, their religious affiliations, names of men living there, villages' relationships with one another, and a list of anyone who had retaliated against zionists or jews at any point.
although palestinians were being uprooted from their homes for years at this point, the ethnic cleansing itself began largely in december 1947, when palestinian villages and neighbourhoods began to be attacked.
in february 1948, five palestinian villages were emptied by the haganah, the zionist paramilitary force, in one single day. in march and april, more than 250,000 palestinians were exiled from their homes.
on the 10th of march in 1948, plan dalet was adopted by the haganah; this was a detailed plan to ethnically cleanse palestine of its native population.
tactics and methods included: laying siege, bombing villages, setting fire to homes and properties, expulsion, and planting mines in the rubble of destroyed homes so that palestinians could not return. rape was another tactic that they used; many palestinians fled their villages in fear of the women in their families being raped by zionist soldiers.
as part of plan dalet, each unit of the haganah was given a list with names of villages that they had to ethnically cleanse.
books to read: 'the ethnic cleansing of palestine' by ilan pappé
the deir yassin massacre
the deir yassin massacre took place on april 9th, 1948. this was one of the worst massacres that happened during the nakba; over 110+ palestinians were murdered. people were burnt alive, the village baker was thrown into his own stove, and a young girl was gangraped by zionist soldiers to the point where she was torn in two.
during the violence that was taking place between palestinians and jewish zionists, deir yassin had remained neutral. it had even signed a non-aggression pact with the zionists. but despite this, zionist forces still ethnically cleansed the village. this shows that zionists had no intentions on allowing palestinians to stay, and wanted to get rid of as many as they could.
nakba means catastrophe in arabic — it also refers to the 1948 mass expulsion and exile of more than 750,000 palestinians from their homes. many also refer to the nakba as the period between 1947 and 1949 — during this period, thousands of palestinians were ruthlessly murdered by zionist forces.
by may 1948, almost half the palestinian population was exiled from their homes; many were forced into refugee camps, and many were forced to move to neighbouring countries such as jordan or lebanon.
the nakba also resulted in one of the worst refugee crises, with over 7 million palestinian refugees in the following decades; most of these palestinians are not allowed to return home. the 'right of return' refers to the basic human right of palestinians to return to their homes; but israel continues to deny them this right.
the six-day war
the six-day war began on june 5th, 1967 and last six days. it was fought between arab countries (egypt, syria, iraq, jordan) and israel. the war began when israel attacked air force bases in the sinai peninsula of egypt.
israel eventually won; as a result, it occupied the gaza strip, the west bank, east jerusalem, the sinai peninsula (egypt), and the golan heights (syria). the six-day war saw another wave of mass expulsion; some 300,000 palestinians were forced out of their homes.
zionists will tell you that the six-day war was a war of defence, but history and facts say otherwise. israeli leaders said that in 1967, they completed what they couldn't in 1948. this further proves that no point in history did the israelis plan on peacefully co-existing alongside palestinians, or allowing for the existance of a palestinian state.
the first intifada
intifada; tremor, shivering, shuddering / refers to the two palestinian uprisings against israeli occupation
during the '80s, tensions between palestinians and israelis grew to an extreme high due to israeli soldiers and settlers murdering palestinians all throughout the country.
the first intifada began on december 8, 1987 after an israeli army truck drove into a car that killed 4 palestinians in the jabalya refugee camp. protests broke out all over occupied palestine against the israeli state, and many protests took place in neighbouring countries as well. the first intifada lasted from 1987 to the early '90s. these protests included boycotts, and many palestinians refused to work in israel or for israeli companies.
israel responded to these protests with extreme violence. orders were given for israeli soldiers to break the bones of palestinian protestors; there are countless videos of israeli soldiers intentionally breaking the arms and legs of palestinian protestors. the man who gave the order, yitzhak rabin, later became the prime minister of israel.
two years after the intifada started, more than 12,000 palestinians were sent to israeli prisons. between 1987 and 1989, more than 30,000 palestinian children needed medical attention due to israeli brutality.
the oslo accords
the oslo accords were two peace agreements signed between the palestinian liberation organization (plo), and the state of israel; the first one signed in 1993, and the second in 1995. the plo claimed that israel has a 'right to exist', and israel recogized the plo as the representative of the palestinian people.
although the oslo accords were meant to 'benefit' the palestinian people by giving them a sovereign palestinian state and to finally provide a solution to the arab-israeli problem, all they really did was allow israel to occupy even more palestinian land. as part of the negotiations, ehud barak, the israeli prime minister at the time, demanded that: palestine be demilitarized, that it have no independent economic or foreign policy, and that the only power palestine truly have would be over domestic affairs only. palestinian refugees' right of return was not up for negotiation whatsoever.
the second intifada
the second intifada began on september 28, 2000 and lasted four years. unlike the first intifada, the second intifada was part of an armed struggle against israel and saw much more violence. one of the reasons that resulted in the second intifada was the failure of the peace process that was taking place throughout the '90s; tensions were still high between palestinians and israelis.
during the second intifada, many palestinian leaders were arrested, and some were assassinated. many palestinians took part in armed resistance; this included firing at israeli soldiers, throwing rocks at israeli tanks and vehicles, and in some cases, suicide bombings. in 2002, the state of israel destroyed the jenin refugee camp, located in the north of the west bank.
israel began building an apartheid wall between the west bank and the state of israel; this was condemned and deemed illegal by the international court of justice.
today, israel is the only country in the world that tries minors (only ever palestinian children) in military court.
what is happening right now?
israel continues to ethnically cleanse, displace, exile, and uproot palestinians from their homes. today, palestinians are divided between the west bank, gaza strip, "israel", and the diaspora.
map of occupied palestine
the gaza strip is a small strip of land located near the sinai border of egypt and israel. it is the world's biggest open air prison, with a population of nearly two million people; the gaza strip has one of the highest population densities in the entire world. it is also nearly impossible to both enter or leave the gaza strip.
there is also a siege and blockade on the gaza strip. nearly everything going in and out is controlled by the israeli government. gazan infrastructure has really been affected by this; the healthcare and agricultural sectors have especially been severely affected.
israel also calculates the calorie intake going into the gaza strip so that the palestinians living there stay on the brink of starvation. although it was denied at first, many israeli officials have admitted to this themselves.
source | source | source
today, israel continues to bomb gaza under the excuse of 'bombing hamas terrorists'. however, these bombings only ever harm civilians.
there are active protests happening at the gaza-israel border, where many palestinian protestors have been killed by israeli soldiers. these protests began with the great march of return on march 30th, 2018. since then, the state of israel has killed more than 300 palestinians, and injured almost 20,000. the primary goal of these protests is to end the siege on gaza, and the right of return.
during these protests, many medics and journalists have also been killed by israeli soldiers despite their identity as such being clear; this again shows that israeli violence towards palestinians knows no bounds.
the west bank
the west bank is separated from israel by an apartheid wall that the israeli state began building during the second intifada. this apartheid wall not only separates the west bank from israel, but many palestinian towns and cities from each other. within its borders, the west bank is further divided between area a, area b, and area c.
today, there are nearly 400,000 israeli settlers living in over 100 illegal settlements throughout the west bank. these settlers are given israeli-only roads to use for easy commute, and are protected by an active israeli military presence. israeli settlements and the settler population continue to grow at a fast rate.
there are also over 100 checkpoints throughout the west bank. palestinians living in the west bank have to cross checkpoints for nearly every aspect of their lives; school, work, markets, travel to neighbouring cities or other areas. at these checkpoints, there is rampant abuse and sexual assault that takes place. crossing the checkpoints can take hours, and generally depends on the officers and their mood.
in the west bank, the israeli state also regularly demolishes homes of palestinian families; this is another form of continued ethnic cleansing. israeli soldiers also arrest palestinian children and detain them in israeli prisons.
trump's 'deal of the century'
in january 2020, united states president donald trump announced his "peace plan" for palestine-israel, calling it the 'deal of the century'.
the plan was to give even more territory to israel, and to further divide palestine into even more enclaves or 'bantustans'. again, this peace plan, like many other peace plans, took place in utter disregard of what the palestinian people want. the palestinian people had no say in trump's 'deal of the century'.
many zionists blame the continued 'conflict' on the palestinians and their refusal to accept a "peace plan". however, palestinians do not have to accept their own colonization, or any plans that would further apartheid in the occupied country. this peace plan is just another way to legitimize israeli settler-colonialism.
map of trump's proposed peace plan
annexation of the west bank
on may 28, 2020, the prime minister of israel, benjamin netanyahu, announced that he would annex israeli settlements located in the west bank starting july 1st. this means that the land these illegal settlements were built on would officially be under the state of israel.
hundreds of thousands of palestinians across the west bank are at risk of losing their homes and their livelihoods if netanyahu goes through with the annexation. this will certainly make tensions in the west bank worse.
the exact details of what areas netanyahu plans to annex, and how, are unclear — however, it is said that he means to take area c and the jordan valley (which accounts for one-third of the west bank). israel has always made it clear that they mean to take the west bank — talks of annexation have been going on for many years, and they certainly won't stop after this. once more, this plan for annexation shows that the state of israel has no intention to live peacefully with palestinians.
"if israel declines to pursue annexation this year, the desire to annex doesn't go away. the state will revive it next year or the year after. the problem is one of ideology, not of policy. " — steve salaita
map of the west bank, and areas a, b, and c,
map of the jordan valley that netanyahu plans to annex
the bds movement
boycotts, divestment, sanctions
the bds movement began in 2005, and was started by omar barghouti and a group of other palestinian activists. today, it was one of the most powerful forms of protest used by palestinians in both occupied palestine, as well as around the world. it is inspired by the south african anti-apartheid movement.
you can learn more about the bds movement on the official website: bdsmovement.net
omar barghouti has also written a book called 'boycott, divestment, sanctions: the global struggle for palestinian rights'.
how to further help palestinians
in addition to the bds movement and other ways to help listed in the past few pages, here are some additional ways you can help and support palestinians
— raise awareness irl; at home, at school/uni, in friend circles so that people are aware of what's going on
— donations, donations, donations.
— support palestinian businesses, especially those in palestine!!
do petitions help?
while you're free to sign online petitions regarding middle eastern issues, they very rarely (if at all) help or make a difference. most of these petitions go unnoticed by those who you're appealing to, so your time and energy would be better spent elsewhere where things would actually make a difference or materially help middle eastern people. countless petitions have been signed over the years regarding wars and other issues in the middle east, yet they have all failed to bring any lasting change; that is all you need to know whether it's worth it to sign them or not.
where to donate
here is a list of organizations and charities that you can donate to in order to help palestinians materially:
— bds movement
— project rozana
— adalah justice project
— electronic intifada
— institute for middle east understanding
— medical aid for palestinians
— palestine children's relief fund
i hope you found this carrd helpful in learning about palestine! i'll try to add more to it as regularly as i can.
from the river to the sea,
palestine will be free.