Be Human, Stand With Palestine
Trigger Warning: This article includes a discussion of upsetting violence and includes graphic images which some readers may find disturbing. I feel this is necessary as the brutality of what is going on needs to be accurately put across, but reader discretion is advised.
You would have to live under a rock to not be made aware of the state sanctioned violence going on in Palestine right now — the internet has been set ablaze with informative posts and videos of the abhorrent hate crimes being committed against the Palestinian people. You don’t need to be Muslim to stand with Palestine, you just need to be human. You may be duped into thinking this is a solely religious conflict that has been going on for centuries, that this is all about ancient hatred between even more ancient religions, primarily Islam and Judaism. That is not true. While religion is involved, the conflict is mostly about two groups of people who claim the same land. At its heart, it is a conflict between two self-determination movements — Jewish Zionism and Palestinian nationalism — that lay claim to the same territory. In reality, this conflict only goes back about a century to the early 1900s. To understand what is going on in Palestine today, we need to understand its complex and complicated history, and I shall try my best to summarise that before speaking about the events taking place in Jerusalem.
In the early 1900s, the region along the Eastern Mediterranean that we now call Israel-Palestine was under the Ottoman Empire and had been for centuries. It was (and still is to an extent) a diverse setting, home to Muslims, Christians and some Jews (like the Samaritans who reside in Nablus), who generally lived in peace. In fact, the Palestinian Christian community is the oldest Christian community in the world. More and more, people in the region began developing a sense of being not just ethnic Arabs, but Palestinians — a distinct national identity. At the same time, in Europe, Jewish Zionism was beginning as a movement, which claimed Judaism was not just a religion, but a nationality that deserved a nation of its own after centuries of persecution. In the first decades of the 20th Century, tens of thousands of European Jews began to move to…