My experience with the Palestine-Israel conflict


Photo by Malak Samara

On May 21, Jordanian civilians participated in a drive-by protest for the freedom of Palestine. They held Palestinian flags, honked their horns, chanted “Free free Palestine” and blasted traditional Palestinian music.

     On May 10 I was supposed to fly to Palestine, my home country. However, as my family and I approached the aircrew, they informed us that we wouldn’t be able to fly into Palestine due to the Israeli control over the border. We’d been planning this trip for months and my mom hasn’t seen her family for over 10 years, so my parents made a last minute decision to fly to Jordan and try to cross through the borders from there. Little did we know that a huge conflict would erupt and change our plans entirely. 


How it all started

     In 1917, the Balfour Promise was declared that allowed Jewish people their own country, in Palestine. At first, Palestine welcomed the Jews with open arms, but that all started to deteriorate when occupation and colonialism became a priority for the Jews, or more commonly known as the Israeli zionists. Zionists are Israelis who will go to the extreme in order to achieve a state in the land of Palestine. 

     Israel and Palestine have had conflicts since the 1930’s. More specifically in 1936; a Palestinian uprising broke out with AbdulQader AlHussaini as the leader of it. The main reasoning for the uprising was when the Palestinians noticed that the Jewish people started occupying their land and taking over. However, the uprising was quickly shut down and the Palestinians lost by a landslide due to the heavy military support the Jews were getting mostly from Britain. 

     More than 10 years later, Israel was declared as an official state in Palestine’s land. This undoubtedly intensified conflict between the two. It resulted in a mass eviction of Palestinian’s from their homes. The act was called The Catastrophe, also known as Al Nakba. 

     According to BBC News, similar events such as Al Nakba occurred afterwards. The Palestinians that either fled or were forced out of their home were unable to come back to the places they’d grown up in, to this day, their descendants aren’t able to visit their roots. 


How the Palestinians are treated

     The Palestinian people’s human rights are being restricted more and more everyday. For example, according to Amnesty International, the Israelis restricted the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip since Israel has control over the borders. They’ve also facilitated the transfer of Israeli citizens into the settlements in the West Bank, which is an illegal practice under international humanitarian law. There is very limited access to education and economic opportunities, as well as medical care, clean water, and electricity in the Gaza Strip region, due to the Israeli’s closure on the region. Israel’s actions are more commonly known as apartheid. 

     Palestinians are still being evicted out of their homes. 80% of Palestinians have fled or have been forcibly removed due to the Israeli army and are not allowed to come back.

An example of a protest to save Sheikh Jarrah from Israeli settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing. (Photo used with courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. )

     Innocent, unarmed Palestinians are targeted by the Israeli zionist military simply for their ethnicity. What makes the Palestinians more vulnerable, however, is the fact that they have neither a military nor financial support from a prominent country, such as the United States, like Israel does. Their weapons consist of the rocks found on the ground. 


The conflict in the 21st century

     There have been attempts for negotiations and peace between the two parties, however they have never worked out. One of the most prominent examples of this was in 2008 when both Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed to meet in Maryland to think of a solution. However, Israel launched a large-scale military offense in the Gaza Strip which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians. This disintegrated any chance of mediation. 

     A war erupted in 2012 when the Israeli forces launched ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ which was a campaign in the Gaza Strip that led to the killing of the chief of the Gaza military wing, Ahmed Jabari. Afterwards, a revolt from the Palestinians erupted where violence was unlimited and uncontainable from both sides. Countries like the United States and United Kingdom supported Israel and expressed that they “had the right to defend themselves.” A ceasefire was finally mediated by Egypt and declared on Nov. 21. 


The recent eruption of tension and war in mainly Gaza

     Recently, a genocide broke out on Israel’s side. According to Reuters, this started on May 7 towards the end of Ramadan which is the holiest month in Islam. Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, which is the third most important site for Muslims. The Israelis unleashed tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber tipped bullets onto the Palestinian worshippers. 

     Nonetheless, Palestinians stayed in Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to protest Israel’s plans to forcibly evict more than 200 Palestinians from Sheik Jarrah, which is the neighborhood of East Jerusalem. 

     The main reasoning for the evictions is because of the rising tensions over who owns the Palestinian land. Israel is performing settler colonialism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people in order to finalize their goal to become a full Jewish country. 


Israeli forces bomb and destroy a news outlet in Palestine to restrict the spread of their actions to the media. (Photo used with courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. )

     Furthermore, as Al Jazeera states, Israel has targeted and blown up media buildings to stop the news of their actions from spreading, as well as a COVID-19 testing lab and health facilities. Not only that, but hundreds of Palestinian homes and families have been bombed to rubble in the Gaza Strip area. Kids, seniors, and Palestinian citizens alike are being murdered, abused, and traumatized for their ethnicity. These are all considered war crimes but Israel has not received any consequences for their actions, instead they’ve received more support such as President Joe Biden approving a $735 million weapons sale to Israel on May 17. 

     The recent genocide Israel has inflicted also resulted in a mass human rights protest for Palestinian lives. Posts on social media are being made, spread, and sent around. Protests in Canada, New York, and Chicago with the message ‘Free Palestine’ have erupted. The uprising of education on the situation has also been a common theme. According to Al Jazeera, as of May 20, Israel has declared a ceasefire on the Gaza Strip due to heavy international pressure. 

How it’s affecting all Palestinians

     The most prominent effect of the settler colonialism Israel is imposing is mass murder upon the Palestinians. However, the Israeli’s actions are affecting Palestinians in countless ways. For one, if they’re not killed they’re living in constant fear of being killed or grieving a relative who has been killed. Palestinians, especially children, have expressed and shown trauma when hearing any sound similar to an airplane in fear of being bombed like their people. Mental health issues are a major effect of the genocide. Moreover, people outside of Palestine are widely unable to visit their families within Palestine and live in constant fear for the dangers their loved ones may endure. 

     This all brings me back to me and my trip. As of right now, I am still in Jordan longing to finally experience my culture and truly see my country. I have not seen my Palestinian family for over 10 years, and even so I can barely remember them due to how young I was. I have yet to experience a traditional Eid and Ramadan in Palestine, which is known to be filled with beauty, lights, and celebration. This was not the case this year. 

     I am unable to receive official Palestinian citizenship because the Israelis won’t allow it, and even if it were an option my family and I know traveling to Palestine would be so much harder for us since we’d have targets on our backs due to the zionists’ aggressive ethnic cleansing. With the recent social media and in person protests in favor of Palestine, I’ve at least found the strength to let people know the abuse Palestinians go through due to Israel. Before, I constantly feared being called anti-semitic or offending the wrong people. Now, education is being enforced about the situation and people are finally seeing the wrongdoings Israel has inflicted.

     Considering the major eruption of violence and genocide towards the Gaza Strip, it is more likely than not that I will not be able to see what was once known as a beautiful lively country. Instead, I will constantly fear for my family who lives there and will continue to speak out about the human rights and homeland the Palestinians are entitled to and more than deserve. 

On May 21, Jordanian civilians participated in a drive-by protest for the freedom of Palestine. They held Palestinian flags, honked their horns, chanted “Free free Palestine” and blasted traditional Palestinian music. (Photo by Malak Samara)