Last week’s cease-fire in Gaza was only a chapter in Palestine’s long history of suffering. Eleven days of airstrikes resulted in 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, innocently killed simply because the Israeli government used the excuse of “attacking Hamas”.
It’s laughable to consider 66 children as Hamas representatives. Attacking Gaza has been on Israel’s agenda, with a total of four attacks in the last 14 years.
However, we cannot put aside this attack on Gaza simply because a cease-fire was agreed.
Although the bombardment of Gaza headlined the news, with very much reason, Palestinians have been suffering for far too long.
If this pandemic has taught the world anything, it’s this: humanity. Our lives have been controlled by the pandemic surrounding us and as we try to move forward with our lives, Palestinians still live under occupation. Why is it that the Palestinian’s basic human right to be treated with humanity is constantly being denied?
For starters, no control over borders such as Gaza’s shoreline, limitations on imports and exports, withholding Palestinian taxes indefinitely, no control over natural resources (natural gas and water): the State of Palestine is constantly denied a road to self-determination.
Although the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 in 1967, a result of the Six-Day War, “express[ed] its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East” and “emphasiz[ed] the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security”, the attacks on Gaza and Sheik Jarrah prove how nothing gets implemented.
We are now living in the 21st century: how is it that the Palestinians and Israelis continue to fail at reaching a final peace agreement?
“Palestinians are suffering”, Fadi Hanania, Palestinian Ambassador to Malta, claimed in an interview last week at the Palestinian Embassy in Swieqi.
“We believe having a Palestinian State is the only way to bring peace in the Middle East.”
Arabs across the Middle East believe that Palestine is Holy due to its religious ties. The shootings in one of the holiest mosques of the Middle East, Al-Aqsa, while people were praying during Ramadan, as well as the evictions in Sheik Jarrah being a suburb of Jerusalem, is proof that the Israeli government is willing to go to lengths to cleanse Jerusalem of Palestinians.
And yet, the crisis extends to the displacement of a people. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, approximately 5.7 million Palestinian refugees are being assisted by the UNRWA.
From generation to generation, the Palestinian’s long history of suffering has been passed down.
“We’re not asking for anything that’s not ours”, Hanania stated.
Dignity and justice must prevail for the Palestinians, especially in a post-pandemic era. As every single human being is being affected by the pandemic and denied certain rights to combat the virus, the world has to realize that humanity belongs to every group of people. The world’s biggest concern must be to fight for justice wherever it’s being denied.
If there was one good thing that came out of the latest attacks in Palestinian territory, it was this: social media blew up with people re-sharing information.
This is the time for journalists to be faithful to the facts. It’s the time, together as a human race, to educate ourselves, speak up and be the voice for those muted by injustice. We cannot let the latest crises in Palestine become old news. The Palestinians deserve better.
Corrine Zahra is a student, blogger and former editor of the student media house Insite Malta.
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