As I'm sure the vast majority of you are aware, there is fighting happening between Israel and Palestine. More accurately, there has been fighting happening since long before I was born. Being someone with many Palestinian friends, watching the news of Palestine being bombed day after day has been heart wrenching.
Growing up in the US, I know so very little about the history of this area. I really make a conscientious effort to truly read about the history of a situation, especially something like this, rather than simply taking the news and media at face value. It's a well known fact that news and media is biased and so you will only learn what they want you to learn. So I've been on a mission to track down reliable sources and learn the history to be a better ally to my friends.
I knew from the beginning of my deep dive that I wanted to share what I learned. As I would be reading one article, I would find myself with a list of 10 new things I needed to research. Dates, people, organizations, etc. Because I felt like I was opening the never ending Russian Nesting Doll, I thought to myself, "I have to wait until I know more before I write about this. And I have way too many questions right now."
But here's the thing: there isn't some big grand time-out that has happened while everyone gets caught up on the history lessons they've missed. People are still dying, homes are still being stolen, and I can't justify waiting until I feel I know a sufficient amount. The history is dense. It is incredibly layered. If I wait to start talking about this until I feel that I have been sufficiently educated, it would be too late.
So the information I'm going to be sharing in this blog post and future posts is going to be rough, in more than one way. It's going to be rough in a messy sense. It's not going to be the cleanest writing. We'll likely continue to be left with more questions than answers each time. It is also going to be emotionally rough. There has been decades of struggle, thousands upon thousands of people killed, and it's continues on.
I also want to be clear that I'm trying my very best to be fair in learning about all of this. It's not just Palestinian history that I don't know. I also don't know Israeli history. So I have just as many articles to read about Israeli history as I do about Palestinian history.
So let's dive in with what I've learned. (I'm also going to include my questions that I have along the way. Hopefully I will be able to answer them in future posts)
From about the year 1517 to about the year 1917, the Ottoman Empire ruled this area of the world.
World War I ended in the end of 1918 and it was at that point that Britain gained control of Palestine.
How did Britain wind up gaining control?
When Britain gained control of Palestine, they established a Jewish national homeland in Palestine. This went into effect in 1923.
Where were Jewish people living prior to this? Were the Jewish people rounded up and tossed here? Did no one see issue in this? What was this land actually called during this time? What were the demographics at this time?
In 1947, the United Nations proposed to have this land divided into two separate states. One would be an independent Jewish state and one would be an independent Arab state.
Does Britain still have power of this area? Why is the United Nations trying to say how this land should be divided? What was the relationship between the Jewish and the Arabs during this time?
The Jewish leaders agreed, while the Arab leaders opposed this plan. In May of 1948, Israel is declared an independent state.
So did Palestine not also become an independent state because they did not approve of this plan? From my understanding, they were not saying that they didn't want it, they were saying they disagreed to the entire thing. Not just their role in it, right?
Almost immediately after, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War broke out.
I have a lot of questions about the outcome of the war. I'm not sure if I'm understanding it correctly and seeing maps would be beneficial. If I come to gain a better understanding of the end of this war, I'll try to include maps with my explanation.
Following that war, there are a number of wars that follow. The Six-Day War, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the First Intifada, the Second Intifada, etc.
However, there have also been many attempts toward peace. In the end, from my understanding, each attempt at finding a compromise was turned down by the other side due to details that they weren't willing to bend on. Each side has come forward to make attempts at peace.
And most recently, violence erupted once again. I genuinely don't know the details of how it started. What I do know is that the homes of Palestinians have been bombed day after day after day.
Finally, yesterday on May 20, Israel and the militant group Hamas agreed to a "cease-fire." And today, after the "cease-fire" went into effect, the Israeli police still came and attacked Palestinians while they were worshiping.
Currently, the US is in the process of a $735 million weapons deal with Israel. Meaning that the US government is giving Israel the bombs that they are using to bomb Palestine. While yes the actual physical fighting isn't happening here in the US, the blood is on our hands. There is a really great organization called American Muslims for Palestine that has set up a really simple way to contact the congressmen in your state (if you live in the US) to urge them block this weapons deal. They also have a petition calling on the Biden Administration to (copy and pasted from their website):
Sanction Israel now! Place an arms embargo on Israel, cancel the US-Israel free trade agreement, shut down so-called ‘charitable’ organizations in the United States supporting Israeli war crimes, and ban the import of products from Israel’s illegal colonies.
End weapons transfers! Right now, Congress must pass the joint resolution to halt the delivery of bombs to Israel. By committing gross violations of human rights with US weapons, Israel is violating the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act. End all US taxpayer funds for weapons to Israel, and stop all contracts, sales, and deliveries of weapons immediately.
Hold Israel accountable for its war crimes! Support current and future investigations by the International Criminal Court to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes it commits against the Palestinian people.
Support Palestinian liberation and self-determination! Dismantle Israeli apartheid rule. End the Israeli blockade and military occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, support Palestinian refugees’ right of return, demand equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and support the decolonization of Palestine.
I will share the links to both of these below. Yesterday I took the time to use their website to email the congressmen that represent Wisconsin, and today I took the time the sign the petition.
There is a lot that I'm still learning. I still have dozens of questions to answer. But despite that, one can still recognize that the killing of innocent people is wrong. Forcing people from their homes is wrong. What is happening now is wrong and we need to come together and do what we can to help our Palestinian friends.
Link to contact congressmen:
Link to sign the petition:
As I said earlier, this post and future ones will be rough. I have a lot of questions that still need answering. I still have a lot of work to do for myself. But for now, this is what I can share with all of you.