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Speaking up for Palestine: A personal reflection

Hashan Chowdhury

Imagine the electricity in your home cuts out for a couple of hours. Many people feel isolated and nervous with no connection to the outside world. Imagine the life of the average Palestinian, who lives without any electricity 24/7, not knowing if they’ll even live to the next day. This is a direct result of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Palestinians suffer everyday without food, water, shelter or electricity, and are brutally murdered through airstrikes. Men, women, and children, even newborn babies, are killed in these attacks. Israel has also bombed mosques, churches, schools, hospitals and more. However, the victims are still painted out to be “terrorists” in this crisis, despite the inhumane living conditions they face. People in support of Israel continue to defend the Israeli government for its actions, which can be seen across social media posts and in comment sections.

According to CNN, “More than 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s war with Hamas began in October. In all, 30,035 people have been killed so far, the ministry said Thursday, adding that the number of injured is over 70,000. Israel estimates about 10,000 Hamas fighters have been killed since October 7, when Israel declared war on the militant group. More than 1,200 people in Israel were killed during Hamas’ attacks on that day, and more than 250 were kidnapped and taken hostage in Gaza.”

The immense amount of Gaza residents who have suffered horrific injuries or lost their lives far outweighs the Israeli people, demonstrating who has been through the most suffering. This level of genocide cannot be justified, though people continue to try to through the media. The statistics alone show who the perpetrators actually are.

Personally, I feel more emotional about this topic knowing what my family has endured because of this. My grandma on my father’s side was born and raised in Jerusalem when the occupation began. She witnessed her siblings and cousins dead after a bomb sent by the Israelis struck their home, with only her youngest sister left. Her father was previously stabbed to death by an Israeli and no justice was served, as the murderer was never punished. This part of my family history is incredibly important to me and especially my father. I will never forget how my father cried telling me this story, making it a significant part of my lineage and who I am.

Being in support of Palestine doesn’t mean being in support of Hamas’ actions. Of course, I feel empathy for Israelis who have been held hostage or murdered by any of the Palestinian resistance groups. However, this cannot excuse the heinous crimes committed by the Israeli government. Not to mention, these resistance groups were only created as a result of the Israeli government’s actions, much after the initial occupation. To say that these resistance groups triggered the war would be spreading misinformation. Hezbollah was formed in 1982, while Hamas was formed in 1987, both decades after Israel’s occupation.

In 1917, the British Balfour Declaration first promised the Jewish people a homeland in Palestine, which was then controlled by the Ottoman Empire. From 1920 to the next two decades, more than 100,000 Jewish people were brought to Palestine, along with the British Army. Most of the violence from the British Army was against Arabs who didn’t want to let go of their home. During the Arab Revolt from 1936 to 1939, the fighting between the Arabs and the British reached its highest point. During World War II, the British set a limit to allow a certain number of Jewish people into Palestine at a time. This evoked armed Jewish resistance against Palestine, bringing together the Haganah, the Jewish people who wanted to claim their “homeland.”
To achieve this goal, soon-to-be Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin led one of the main terrorist groups, Irgun Zvai Leumi. After World War II, 250,000 Jewish people no longer had anywhere to go, but the British wouldn’t budge, keeping the limit. Irgun began to ally with the Haganah and carried out raids against the British in response to the refusal of accepting Jewish refugees in Palestine. Despite strict laws against it, terrorism continued as Israel bombed major cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. British soldiers were often kidnapped and killed by the Jewish terrorist groups from 1946 to 1947. These groups also started fires and injured many other people throughout this. In November of 1947, the United Nations suggested that Palestine should establish separation between the Arabs and the Jewish people, making two different states. (The British Army in Palestine)

On May 15, 1948, the British Army withdrew from Palestine, leaving the Arabs and Jewish people to fight for the land, despite the Palestinians never actually agreeing to the two- state solution or giving up any land. The fighting continues today as the Israeli government kills innocents everyday and destroys their home. The Palestinians continue to fight for their home, as the Israeli government unrightfully takes more and more of it, wrecking what the Palestinians have left.

At the end of the day, actions like boycotting companies and raising awareness for Palestine can do so much, even if it may seem insignificant. Donations, signing petitions, and learning more about the history are just some of the ways to bring attention to this major issue. Let’s continue to show support for Palestine and acknowledge the people’s suffering.

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About the Contributor
Myess Hammouri
Myess Hammouri, Staff Writer and Illustrator
Myess Hammouri, a sophomore at Bronx River, likes playing chess.

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