Ever since 1948, Palestinians have been choking on thick air with injustice, crime, and conundrum. Fear is a loyal, daily companion moving with them hand in hand, embodied in imprisonment and killing, mishandling and dishonouring of bodies, loss of income, honour, dignity, freedom, and rights. Every day civilians are met with the deaths of brothers, fathers, sons, and reality hits them hard when their retaliatory activities are labeled as extremism.
Living under this decades-old occupation has brought serious risks to the health of the citizens and what’s worse is that they are denied the right to medical treatments too. Maternal and neonatal mortality rates are high as mothers face delayed deliveries and extremely inadequate care. Women and children encounter poor health facilities, domestic stress, and harmful social norms, which cause a so-called ‘natural’ death among the civilians. Frequent destruction of infrastructure and homes is another way the Israeli forces demonstrate their power while hundreds of civilians are forced to live in camps or reside on the roads which don’t seem like their own anymore.
Recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has also spewed the same results. Under incessant aerial attacks, the people of Ukraine find themselves amid destroyed neighborhoods and ruined houses. Russia’s forces have continued to carry out their atrocities in the war-torn capital Kyiv and are alleged to be killers of innocent civilians. Civilians are forced to evacuate their own country; places that seemed like home are now torn apart and every corner smells of war. Limited access to food, domestic and social violence, and inadequate health and education facilities create a feeling of unrest in the citizens, which inches its way into their memory and unlocks a new terror of being killed any time soon.
The world at large has been taking notice of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has applauded the Ukrainians for their bravery and resilience, however, it is unfortunate to see that the same world has failed to recognise the uncountable adversities the
Palestinians have been facing for innumerable years. Ever since the first Russian soldier stepped into Ukraine, not only the civilians but the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy too stood up to Putin’s army. This solidarity has caught the eye of the world’s politicians who have shown outpouring condemnation of the Russian invasion.
Here it is most noteworthy that when Palestinians stand for their rights – basic rights – they are almost cruelly branded as terrorists and shown as a threat to the whole world however civilians taking up arms in Ukraine are not. Israel has been shamelessly attacking the civilians, not even pitying the children, yet the Israeli foreign minister, Yair Lapid, dares to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Lapid did not only contempt this matter by saying, “ Russia’s attacks are a serious violation of international order” but has also offered “humanitarian assistance to the Ukraine citizens”. Not only the politicians but the Israelis have also started mass protests to support the people of Ukraine. Streets are echoing with the chants of “free Ukraine ” and impassioned talks about human rights and international laws.
Many might have dismissed Lapid’s statement and the protests as another scoring point for a political platform but for the Palestinians, who have been living under Israeli occupation for more than 6 decades, this was a huge slap to the face. After all, never have the Israelis gathered for a protest claiming the rights of the oppressed in Palestine. Never have they taken up the Palestinian flag to the streets and demanded the freedom of Palestine!
The west has talked about the Russian invasion on every platform stressing the “illegality of the invasion”, “rights of the oppressed in Ukraine”, “importance of freedom, etc. Social media platforms have been filled with content about Ukraine. The way the west has revealed double standards when it came to Ukraine is horrifying. Sanctions and boycotts have been placed on Russia however none of the countries as much dared to censure the attacks in Palestine. What’s worth pondering over is how social media platforms have been showing hypocrisy toward the Palestinian cause too. Even though media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook claim to be for every person around the globe and connect every person to another we still get to see such acts of brutality. Many people including celebrities reported censors on posts that talk about Palestine. Furthermore, posts mentioning the Palestinian cause don’t reach much people and are eventually reported as sensitive content.
This course of action favoring the Ukrainian nation has indeed shown that international law does exist, rights of the persecuted do exist, the illegality of occupations is valid, and armed resistance is not “terrorism” but the right of the oppressed – but for the blonde and white only. If any of the stories of heroism happening in Ukraine had been taking place in Palestine it would have been the cause of terror and delusion, threatening world peace
Alas, Palestinians still support the Ukrainian people and do applaud them for their fight against the aggressors because they have been enduring it all too. They are bound to accept what it is and not hope for more because they might get defined as” dangerous terrorists’.