The land of Palestine was in Hell once again in the last couple of months. Violence had erupted from all Israeli sides and innocent Palestinian civilians were being trampled on. The sounds of bomb blasts had become an alarm as well as a lullaby. A terror rampage spread. People were terrified to their cores: will we survive the night, or do we even want to survive the night. The anxieties were at an all-time high and Palestine was once again in shambles, as the rest of the world watched. And then came the ray of hope. The lighthouse. The stick for the drowning. A ‘ceasefire’.
The ceasefire was welcomed by everyone, including the Palestinians, for whom it was a matter of rejoicing. Palestinian experts said that now they could move on from thinking about basic needs, to thinking about other strategic achievements for the state of Palestine, such as the unity of all Palestinians across the world. (Rajoub 2021) The ceasefire put an end to 11 days of violence, and celebrations were heard on all streets as people came out in bittersweet joy. Many rejoiced in the power of collective action, the power of unity, and the power of the people. The Palestinians picked up their hopes once again and started returning to their homes, carrying dreams of rebuilding.
However, did this ceasefire mean lasting peace between Israel and Palestine? Turns out, not so much. Experts said that the ceasefire was only limited till Gaza and tensions still existed in other places. Despite the ‘peace’, Al-Aqsa was still being raided by Israeli forces and innocent Palestinian civilians on the roads were still being attacked. Even when the ceasefire had just been announced, people started fearing that the attacks from the Israeli forces would go twice as hard right before the ceasefire was actually put into place.
Just a little while after the announcement, a group of Israeli settlers, under protection by Israeli forces, entered the compound of Al-Aqsa. The Palestinian worshippers once again started were beaten brutally by the Israelis, that too in one of the Holiest Muslim places in the world. Some Palestinian worshippers were also arrested, and certain restrictions were put in place to prevent certain people form entering the Mosque such as those under 45. All of this was happening while the ultimate threat of expulsion from their homes looms over Palestinian in East Jerusalem neighborhoods like Silwan. All of this happens while a weak truce holds over the area and the world celebrates its success of bringing ‘peace’ to Palestine.
In addition to storming Al-Aqsa once again, the Israeli’s are also seen enticing people over the internet, asking Jewish settlers to enter the compound and rebuild the Third Temple in place of Al-Aqsa. Palestinians are even being abducted from their homes now, under the guise of arrests. People are starting to worry that these escalations very fairly resemble the events of early May which had started in a similar way and had evolved into a full-blown missile war on Gaza. (Al Jazeera 2021) The Israeli police has announced that they will keep arresting all those who were a part of the recent sit-ins. They have termed this process ‘Operation Law and Order.’
What is happening in the area of Silwan during this time? 1500 Palestinians had been asked to leave their homes and demolish them so a biblical themed park can be built in its place. If they fail to destroy their houses, they might get fined a ridiculous amount of money. These people have been living in these places for centuries at this point and yet they are being robbed of what is rightfully their own. Many of these people will become refugees for a second time. And towards the end of June, the demolitions begun. Bulldozers are circling the area and tear gas is being used to push the civilians out of their way. (Al Jazeera 2021)
Another horrendous event that took place was the attack on the Jerusalem Marathon Runners. The marathon was organized by activists as a show of solidarity with the people who were facing expulsion from their houses in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah. It was a peaceful event with people singing and chanting, showing their support for their brethren who are at the brink of losing their houses. And then came the Israeli forces: throwing stun grenades, tear gassing, and beating the protestors in a show of horrific barbarism. (Al Jazeera 2021) The fact that these incidents took place after a truce was announced, one shudders to think what would have continued had a ceasefire not taken place. One can only imagine the sheer amount of power a nation has to hold to get away with this stuff, even while the radar of the entire international global system is on it.
One thing, however, has been proven throughout this time The resilience that the Palestinians hold is unmatched and unshaken. One can predict that they will continue to protest the expulsions in all ways one can imagine. The only red alarm sounding right now is how Israel will react to these protests and whether once again it will resort to carrying out the massive genocide campaign that it had begun in early May.
The Israeli attacks have not stopped. Every other day the Al-Aqsa is attacked. Palestinians are beaten, arrested or killed. Civilians are driven out of their homes. Innocent lives on the street are tear gassed. All the while reconstruction efforts go on in Gaza, however they have their own set of obstacles. The reconstruction material that comes into the area can only pass through very specific areas and undergoes layers and layers of bureaucracy before finally entering. Israel has deployed many systematic and diplomatic ways to ensure that the rebuilding of whatever they destroy is as hard as it can get.
At the end of the day, no matter how many aid appeals the United Nations puts in, no matter how many dollars are donated, no matter how many buildings are built back up, who will be held responsible for the shattered dreams of the Palestinian people? How do you rebuild desire? How do you reconstruct an ambition? How do you give hope to those who have lost it a million times and continue to lose it every day? One does not understand how to feel for these Palestinians. Do we applaud their courage? Or do we understand that they deserve better, much, much better. Do we aspire to have resilience and faith like theirs? Or do we pray that the world never again has to see a fate like that of Palestine.
Simply put, a ceasefire has never stopped Israel and it never will. In fact, nothing can stop a nation backed by one of the world’s biggest hegemonic powers. The world is still in celebration of its supposed victory of a truce, while the actual Palestinian heart suffers every day. It is time that we think about a lasting and final solution. What is it that will put away the misery of the Palestinians, once and for all? What is it that will make sure that the land sees peace and that this time it stays? The world owes Palestine a lot. We owe Palestine a lot. Too many tears have went unaccounted for. Too many screams unheard. Too many cries unnoticed. Ask yourself today, if even a ceasefire did not stop Israel, then what will? And when?
AFP. 2021. Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire to end 11 days of violence. May 21. https://www.dawn.com/news/1624786.
Al Jazeera. 2021. Backed by Israeli police, Jewish settlers enter Al-Aqsa compound. May 23. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/23/backed-by-israeli-police-jewish-settlers-storm-al-aqsa-compound.
—. 2021. Demolitions begin in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan. June 29. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/29/demolitions-begin-in-occupied-east-jerusalems-silwan.
—. 2021. Gaza: Daunting rebuilding task after 11 days of Israeli bombing. May 22. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/21/thousands-of-gazans-return-to-destroyed-homes-after-israel-truce.
—. 2021. Israeli police attack Palestinians running to protest expulsions. June 04. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/4/israeli-police-attack-palestinians-running-to-protest-expulsions.
Rajoub, Awad. 2021. What have Palestinians achieved after cease-fire with Israel? May 21. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/what-have-palestinians-achieved-after-cease-fire-with-israel/2250613.