Who Stands With The Palestinians?

Pouncing of Palestinians by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank on Monday has left impacting images of kids and families being hurt at the Damascus Gate, a gate to Jerusalem’s Old City. 33 Palestinians were injured, including an 11-year-old girl hit in the face by a stun grenade said Palestinian medics. Israeli police detained 20 Palestinians.

Palestinians were brutally dispersed as they streamed through the arched passage towards the Old City’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest shrine. They gathered to celebrate Al-Isra’ wal-Mi’raj, the anniversary of Mohammad’s journey to the Al-Aqsa holy site. Muslim faith believes that it is Prophet Mohammad’s ascension to heaven.

The image of the 11-year-old Palestinian girl, Munawwar Yaqoub Burqan, with her broken teeth and jaw has become one of the latest videos representing Israeli attacks. She is a deaf girl that was “returning to her home with her brothers and her aunt, after spending the day in Al-Aqsa and the Old City”, tells the president of the National Association of Human Rights Defenders, Badee Dwaik to Core Middle East.

She is now staying at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. Palestinian activist Sameh Naim explains that the total of injured people could mount to 36 and that some were “sprayed with sewage, as well as brutally assaulting another child Iman Kiswani.”

Hours after, in the city of Hebron a Palestinian journalist, Mohsen Shalaldesh, was shot close range by the occupation soldiers and taken to the hospital. He was wearing the Press sign, so his attack is considered illegal under international law. He is now out of the hospital after getting treated. This is not an isolated incident since many Palestinian Journalists face assaults, get their equipment broken, or even get killed by Israeli forces.

Western double standards

A lot of Palestinians are infuriated by the West’s attitude regarding Palestine being occupied for decades by Israel versus the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Of course, they condemn what is going on in Ukraine but ask why are they not getting some international attention after “73 years of suffering”, voices the president of the National Association of Human Rights Defenders, Badee Dwaik. Abuses towards Palestinians are committed daily and “have their rights violated every day,” states Sameh Naim.

No financial or economic sanctions have been put in place against Israel, nor “have the Western governments encouraged Palestinian citizens to resist and face the occupation forces or provided us with weapons, as it happens for Ukraine”, says Badee.

Israel has turned more than six million Palestinians into refugees (creating one of the biggest diasporas in the world), and continues to develop illegal Israeli settlements, carrying out night-time incursions in Palestinian-administered areas to arrest Palestinians, demolish homes of entire Palestinian families and promote daily harassment by Israeli settlers.

“Israel applies a policy of apartheid, collective punishment, mass massacres and killing civilians with the latest weapons, uses internationally banned phosphorous and munitions, but it is still welcomed as a normal country”, further adds Badee.

Almost every Palestinian in the Occupied Territories has experienced some sort of attack under Israeli Occupation. Badee, for example, explains that he has been arrested more than 20 times and witnessed many tragedies against the Palestinians.

“I was beaten for the last time on February 25, when I was demonstrating with a group of activists against the occupation on the 28th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre”, recalls Badee. Also, around 15 Palestinian children were detained inside the military checkpoint at the entrance to Shuhada Street in the city of Hebron.

Differences between coverage of what is happening in Ukraine and in Palestine can be pinned down to systemic racial discrimination between white, blue-eyed Europeans that seem worthier of living in good conditions than brown, dark-eyed Middle Eastern people.

This discrimination comes at a time when Palestinians on the ground are alerting of escalating assaults by Israel. “In the past few days, Palestine witnessed a noticeable escalation in events at Bab al-Amud,” explains Sameh.

In the upcoming days it is likely that “the Israelis will escalate their daily persecution, torture, and crimes against the Palestinians, and what is happening in Jerusalem, Hebron and the rest of the cities of occupied Palestine is a great example of that,” says Badee.

“We ask human rights institutions to stand in the face of this brutal occupation and stop it at a sharp level and not to listen to what is reported in the Israeli media because it is deceptive,” concludes Sameh.

“I hope to see the governments of the world, especially the West, do what they are doing with Ukraine to stop Israel’s crimes, and we wish peace to the Ukrainians. If we want the values of justice to include all human beings without distinction between race, color or religion, governments should act now”, advocates Badee.

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