Save Sheikh Jarrah - Our statement
We, the team of Rethinking Refugees, condemn the continuous attacks on the Palestinian people in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces, which outline the newest episode of an almost 15-year siege that changed the Palestinian nation into a prison. Most of the 2 million inhabitants descend from refugees removed from their homes during the Nakba (1947–49) that supplemented the creation of the state of Israel.
Over the last eight days, Gaza's death toll crossed 227, including 64 children and 38 women. Over 12 people have died in Israel as well. Over 17,000 people have been forcibly displaced in Gaza due to the Israeli military attack and forced eviction in Sheikh Jarrah.
Today, imagine an unjust court telling you that you have to leave the house you grew up in, where your memories were shaped, where you ate your favourite dish made by your mother, where you celebrated holidays and festivals. Imagine you are being evicted just so that someone else can come and occupy your homes illegally. This is the current situation in the Sheikh Jarrah district, in East Jerusalem, which is legally a Palestinian territory. To make things worse, during Ramadan, when Muslims were praying at the Al Aqsa mosque – they were attacked with tear gas, stun grenades while having the mosque doors closed and exits blocked by the Israeli army. We condemn the displacement of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Israeli settlers are occupying this land, evicting Palestinians from their homes and making them homeless for decades. As a result, Palestinians have been assaulted, brutally beaten, and then killed by the Israeli army, and people were defending their right to stay where they belong lawfully. This was done for the sole purpose of replacing Arab residents in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood with Jewish settlers. - We condemn this ethnic cleansing.
We mourn all loss of life. We also refuse the "two-sides" and "evenhandedness" narrative that ignores and conceals the meaningful differences between Israel — one of the most heavily militarized states in the world that receives $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States — and a Palestinian population resisting occupation and oppression.(The Princetonian)
However, the situation extends beyond Palestinians. While the world celebrated Eid, Rohingyas, Uyghur Muslims, Kashmiris in India, Afghans mourning the loss of school children to a bomb blast, protestors in Myanmar are oppressed. They are all fighting for their freedom of dignity. Today, we urge all of you to take a moment, speak out, take a moment and reflect, and take a moment to share information about the oppression you see around this. We cannot afford to show apathy anymore. If you do nothing, it is just a sign of privilege. Let us come together and not be passive observers anymore.
Finally, we salute the bravery and motivation of all protesters worldwide, organisations such as BDS, and B'tselem in calling Israel's systemic discrimination and violence by its proper name: Apartheid. We urge people to come together to #SaveSheikhJarrah, to #FreePalestine, and #saynotoIsraelioccupation.