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Explained: Israel’s Occupation Of Palestine

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The current violence by Israel towards Palestinians was caused by the forceful eviction of Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah. Sheikh Jarrah is a neighbourhood in Jerusalem, where predominantly Palestinian families had been living since 1948.

A US-backed zionist settler group laid claims to this land and tried to forcefully evict the Palestinian families who had been living for generations. The Israeli Police also began raiding the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan, where people had been praying and Palestinians were protecting them from attacks by extremist settler zionists.

Free Palestine protests on May 12th outside Sheffield City hall. Photo: Socialist Workers Party UK (Via Twitter)

The history of Palestine has seen many conflicts over Israeli Zionists trying to steal their land, while not giving them equal human rights.

This article aims to provide a simple explanation of the history of Palestine and how it was conquered by Israel.

The British Mandate

Palestine and the city Jerusalem are seen as the birthplace of the 3 Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, and Judaism). However, before the 1920s, mostly Arab Palestinians had been living on this land for centuries. After the First World War and the Treaty Of Versailles, The British Mandate was passed by the League of Nations in 1922 and adopted in 1923. In simple terms, the British Mandate gave the land of Palestine, including the East and West Bank to the colonial rule of the British. 

At this time, many Jewish people started migrating to Palestine due to growing Anti-Semitism in Europe. This was only worsened by the growth of fascist Nazism in Europe, and more Jewish people started emigrating to Palestine. The Jewish Agency, a Zionist group, was formed along with the growth of Zionist leader Ben Gurion. Their goals were to aid the settlement of Jewish people in Palestine.

The Creation Of Israel

After the Second World War, the question of who should rule over Palestine was taken over by the newly formed United Nations. The United Nations had suggested a partition plan, with an independent Jewish state, an independent Arab State, and Jerusalem to be put under International Trusteeship. However, neither the Arabs nor Ben-Gurion agreed to this, and when Israel declared independence on 14th May 1948 after the British forces left, this was immediately followed by the First Arab-Israeli war.

Throughout wars, from the 50s to the 70s, Israel annexed most of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, occupying Palestinian land. After this, Israel has continuously occupied and settled their own citizens on the land of Palestinian people via forced evictions like the one in Sheikh Jarrah.

Imagine if, after India’s independence, a foreign group of people came in, conquered the country, and systematically took away people’s lands and homes. This is what Palestine has had to go through.

Are There “Clashes” Between Israel And Palestine?

Most media refers to Israeli aggression and Palestinian retaliation as clashes, however, this is far from the truth. Most Palestinian aggression happens after Zionists try to oppress them or steal their land. 

 

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While it is true that Hamas does launch rockets into Israeli cities, it is mostly in the form of retaliation to Zionists settling on Palestinian land or Israeli Defense Forces attacks and human rights violations on Palestinian citizens. Israel also has one of the best anti-missile defence systems in the world, known as the Iron Dome. The Iron Dome and a lot of Israeli military capacity were funded by the United States Of America. Casualties from Hamas attacks are very low, and sometimes non-existent.

On the other hand, Israeli airstrikes in Palestinian territory are much more dangerous. There is no way to protect oneself from them. While Israel claims that it only targets Hamas operatives, there have been many civilian casualties. The death toll in Gaza after the current round of airstrikes has been 35 Palestinians, including 12 children.

The ratio of casualties from Israeli operations and counter-operations in the 2014 Gaza war.

Do You Know Who Created Hamas?

Palestinian resistance has seen the rise of many groups throughout history, but two of the major ones are the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Hamas. Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, and it fought for Palestinian nationalism on the grounds of secularism, socialism, and armed struggle.

Hamas, on the other hand, occupies the mainstream in the current day and age for its notoriety as Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Their ideology is based on religion and it currently has more power over Palestine and is internationally recognized as terrorists.

But did you know that Hamas was actually created by Israel? This is not a conspiracy theory but has been admitted by Israeli officials. The creation of the terrorist group Hamas came out of Israeli support and funding to thwart the efforts of the PLO, which was growing in support at the time. This is somewhat similar to how the British used the divide and rule policy in India.

Israel with its extremely strong military, lack of any international criticism, and Right-wing Zionist governments have continuously oppressed Palestinians. They have killed children, stolen land, and even created terrorist groups that they now use as a shield in the name of “counter-terrorism” to further brutalize the people of Palestine.

 

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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