For over 75 years, Palestinians have been stripped of their most basic human rights, exiled from their homes, and undergone genocide and ethnic cleansing by the false apartheid state of Israel. Since stepping foot into Palestine, Zionists have had no intention of co-existing with the native Palestinian people. Palestinians, known for being friendly and welcoming, offered open arms to the first Zionist settlers. However, these “settlers” were, in fact, not settlers at all but rather colonizers coming in with a white-stamped plan to invade Palestinian land and ethnically cleanse its people. Zionists did not come to live with the Palestinians and hold hands while they sang cumbia in a circle. They came to establish a home for Jewish people in the place of the already established generations of Palestinian family homes.
Despite the propaganda phrase “a land without a people for a people without a land” often being thrown around as justification for Zionism, from early on, Zionists knew that establishing a Jewish state would require the ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian population. The mass expulsion of Palestinians predates the 1948 Nakba; 300,000 Palestinians were already expelled from their home by that time. The Nakba was only the beginning of the daily, 75 years of oppression Palestinians are subjected to by the occupying forces. Before the end of 1950, over 800,000 Palestinians would be ethnically cleansed, leaving over 530 Palestinian villages for Zionist settlers to occupy. Today, those 800,000 Palestinians and their descendants have either been killed by Israeli attacks or remain scattered throughout refugee camps worldwide, never allowed to return to their homes again.
This situation has no “two sides;” one cannot choose neutrality in the face of oppression. There is only the occupier and the occupied; the ‘choice’ is to side with justice or ignore the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Palestinians. This shouldn’t be a debate. Palestine is an illegally occupied territory, and Palestinians have the right to resist said occupation.
The architecture behind apartheid is intended to strangle the oppressed, making life as unbearable and uncomfortable for the native population as possible. Palestinians are forced to go through 638 temporary and 129 permanent checkpoints to travel anywhere within the confines of Palestine. Attempting to cross these checkpoints is usually a laborious affair, met with extremely long lines, overpacked waiting rooms and abuse from the Israeli border police. One of the most brutal of these checkpoints is Checkpoint 300, or the Gilo checkpoint in Bethlehem. Thousands of Palestinian workers line up daily, starting as early as 3:00 a.m., attempting to make the crossing. A typical wait at checkpoint 300 can take more than four hours of suffocation, cramped against the steel bars like sardines waiting for Israelis to decide to unlock the turnstiles for an unspecified period of time. Palestinians do not have the right to free movement; the Israeli government has to grant Palestinians permits to move freely about their own country. The goal of the colonizer is to make life for Palestinians as humiliating and complex as possible.
Before 1948, the state of Israel quite literally did not exist; British colonial powers decided to establish a Jewish state in Palestine, initiating ethnic cleansing. While killing and displacing millions of Palestinian people, Israel has been periodically shrinking the amount of Palestine that Palestinians are allowed to reside in until only Gaza and the West Bank remain, simultaneously allowing the occupying Zionists to roam free on Palestinian land. Contrary to popular belief, Gaza is not an independent state; the governing power of Gaza is the false state of Israel. The Zionist regime pertains complete control over everything and everyone entering and exiting Gaza, the borders, the airspace, the ocean, access to electricity, water, food supply, exports, imports and humanitarian aid.
To be born in Gaza is to be born trapped. Housing over three million Palestinians, Gaza is the third most densely populated place in the world. This 25-mile long, five-mile wide stretch of land is the largest open-air prison in the world, surrounded by a heavily fortified border wall with only two border crossings. Gazans do not possess the right to free movement and cannot cross those passages unless they first obtain special permission from Israel, which is typically denied. Israel has full control over the living conditions in Gaza, making life for Palestinians as miserable as possible, often cutting off access to electricity and clean water and limiting humanitarian and medical aid in times of crisis.
In this prison, Palestinians are treated as subhuman; they have no government, no military and no agency. Militant resistance groups like Hamas are the only protection Palestinians have from the false Israeli regime. Still, Hamas is no match for the military power of Israel, which receives over $3 billion in military aid from the USA alone every year. Israel “declaring war” on Gaza is evidently not a fair fight. As the Palestinian children residing in Gaza flee their homes, searching for safety standing up to Israeli tankers with nothing but a rock to defend themselves, history will hate humanity for failing the people of Palestine.
Over 60% of the Gazan population are refugees from other Palestinian cities displaced in ‘48 or ‘67. This is the third time this section of the Palestinian population has experienced displacement and ethnic cleansing, whether it be generational or firsthand. Much like during the Nakba in 1948, Palestinians residing in Northern Gaza are told to leave or die. Within the next twenty-four hours, Israel intends to bomb Northern Gaza flat and make space for more Zionist colonizers to occupy Palestinian land illegally.
Israel is forcibly displacing 1.2 million Palestinians in Northern Gaza. Everyone North of Wadi Gaza is currently forced to flee, packing their whole life up into bags and literally running for their lives since Israel has cut off Gaza’s access to fuel, water, food supply and electricity. This is ethnic cleansing in real-time. Israel dropped fliers from the sky, directing Gazans to evacuate the area, outlining a “safe route” for evacuation. However, this safe route was not very safe, and just five hours after dropping the fliers, Israel dropped multiple bombs along the “safe route,” killing over 150 Palestinians who were simply following the fliers.
In the aftermath of the six-day, 6,000 bomb brigade on Gaza this week, the city is coated in miles of rubble, making evacuating the 1.2 million people within 24 hours impossible. With its relatively small size, fitting the entire population of this already densely populated city onto the southern half seems incomprehensible. The truth is, these 1.2 million Palestinians simply have no place to go; they are sitting ducks.
Gaza’s main hospital, currently holding the 10,000 injured Palestinians from the carpet-bombed city, is also located in the North of Gaza. There is no hospital in Southern Gaza capable of holding these patients, so the doctors, injured, and their families are now simply awaiting their inevitable death at the hands of the terrorist Israeli regime. The choice for Palestinians in Gaza is displacement or death. Still, there really is no choice because Israel has no intention of stopping this genocide until Palestinian life is extinct in Palestine. Palestinians know that every Israeli tactic is a trap, and whether they are in the North or South, there is no true safety.
Malcolm X, a supporter of Palestinian liberation, stated, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Palestinians are being oppressed, and the Zionist Israeli apartheid regime is doing the oppressing. American media and government are shoving Israeli propaganda down the throat of every American citizen, painting Palestinians as the villain. Once the United States starts bombing Gaza into oblivion, no one will bat an eye. Palestinians are treated as subhuman in the media. The death of a Palestinian is considered an inevitable consequence of their existence. The media shows no sympathy, simply turns the other cheek and asks Palestinians to condemn the actions of Hamas. Palestinians do not need to condemn Hamas. Palestinians unequivocally have the right to resist the 75-year-long genocide and ethnic cleansing of their homeland. This is what resistance looks like. Gaza is a literal prison, and the only crime its inhabitants commit is being Palestinian. Palestinians have the right to resist their oppression.
Despite what the Zionist Western media has manipulated the world into believing, Palestinians are people. One day, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, all the Palestinian people will be free to return to their land, their home.