Guideline to Reading Between the Lines on Palestine / Israel

Inaas
Age of Awareness
Published in
3 min readMay 14, 2021

Reporting on the events in Sheikh Jarrah, Al Aqsa, the Gaza Strip and Tel Aviv by numerous governmental figures, influencers and major news outlets start the story with Israel having to react to Hamas throwing rockets.

This post aims to shortly dissect the stages leading up to the pretext for Israel’s “self-defense” while being the colonizer of Palestine, occupier of the Palestinian Territories and oppressor of Palestinians in general.

1/ THE STATUS QUO, OR: SOURCE OF ESCALATIONS

Since 1948, Palestinians have been witnessing ethnic cleansing by the then newly created State of Israel. From June 1967 on, Palestinians have been living under a full on military occupation. Israel experiments with various tactics of occupation on Palestinians living in different areas.

In the Gaza Strip, Israel applies an air, sea and land blockade combined with regular and targeted bombings on residential neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, water facilities in retaliation to any resistance to the occupation.

In the West Bank, occupation is characterized by creeping fragmentation of the area through apartheid walls and roads, checkpoints and Jewish-only settlements.

Occupied East Jerusalem bears the burden of forced evictions and countless restrictions in their access to other areas and government services. The occupation over all territories and their borders prevents the right of return of 5.5 million Palestinian refugees living in the region to their former [family] homes.

2/ THE ESCALATION

From time to time, if not all the time, Israel will push the limits of Palestinians living under its occupation. Forms vary, but typically we are talking about forced evictions, house raids, arbitrary arrests and violence, including beatings and shootings, by Israeli Occupation Forces [IOF] against unarmed Palestinian children, women and men. If the IOF is not assaulting Palestinians and their properties, the IOF is defending Jewish settlers while they assault Palestinians and their properties.

For more on the Israeli criminal practices, I refer to the International Criminal Court accepting jurisdiction into looking at crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians since 2014. A recent report by Human Rights Watch exposes the Apartheid regime by the Israeli authorities.

3/ THE RESPONSE

No person deserves to live through what Palestinians have to deal with under Israel’s occupation. Yet they have been for up to four generations. At a certain point the anger, frustration and humiliation accumulates inevitably, leading to demonstrations, hunger strikes from Palestinian prisoners, rock throwing by some or, yes, rockets from the Islamist resistance group Hamas towards Israel.

4/ THE RETALIATION

Angered by the audacity of Palestinians to resist in even the increasingly suffocating situation, let alone receive international attention for their suffering, Israel rushes to respond. And it responds with not just violence; it responds relentlessly, disproportionately and aggressively with acts amounting to crimes under international law including ethnic cleansing and Apartheid.

Essentially, what I am asking is to analyze the next time you read [or write] a Tweet, headline or statement. If the reporting starts with stage 3, the narrative is incomplete and leaves you to assume that Israel had no other option than to retaliate in “self-defense”.

Palestinians — whether in exile or on the ground — have been urging the international community to not turn a blind eye to the catastrophic acts committed by the Israeli authorities and Jewish settlers, backed by the state. I highly recommend reading publications by Al Shabaka and the IMEU, aside from following individual Palestinians on Twitter accounts, such as Mariam Barghouti, Mohammed Al Kurd, Tareq Baconi and Yara Hawari. The website from Decolonize Palestine has plenty of introductory as well as more detailed material. Two notable Jewish academics, Ilan Pappé and Noam Chomsky address the crimes repeatedly [read “On Palestine”].

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Inaas
Age of Awareness

Collection of daily observations & conversations. Typically from Beirut and around.