Throughout history, Palestine was home to people of many religions including Christians, Muslims and Jews. They lived in peace. However, even though the first Zionist congress took place in 1897, the State of Israel was not declared until 1948. What is the current reality of Palestine?
In a recent article in The Sheaf, the student newspaper of the Canadian university, Saskatchewan, a Saskatoon family of Palestinian descent personally shares their experiences of violence in their homeland.
“Israeli Zionists are massacring all the Palestinians. They do not care if you are a child or an elder,” said Mohanned Jaradat, a Palestinian man residing in Saskatoon. “They are taking our land and they want to get rid of the history and people, but they can’t get rid of history.”
What does “getting rid of history” really mean?
Getting Rid of Palestinian History
The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (PICA) was established in 1924. It was disbanded in 1957 and played a major role in supporting the Yishuv in Mandatory Palestine. Those living in Palestine were promised that “freedom of conscience and of worship is assured and discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, or language forbidden…all male Palestinians over twenty-five years of age are entitled to vote.”
Some believe that before Israel’s war for independence there was no Palestine, there were no Palestinian people, and the land was desert and had no inhabitants. This belief is easily found distributed and shared online. Perhaps this belief — seen by the 2014 assertion by contributing editor of the Jerusalem Post Caroline Glick, denying the Nabka and the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 — is what Mohanned Jaradat means by changing history.
Restrictions on Food and Water
Mohanned Jaradat’s extended family currently resides in Palestine. Palestinians cannot leave their area, access transport, vote, access medical care, or freely choose employment.
Palestinians deal with checkpoints, regular patrolling by the Israel Defense Force (IDF), evictions, restrictions on food, restrictions on water, limited electricity, and constant intimidation.
“This is not something new to Palestinians. They are resilient people — this has been happening for many, many years,” Mohanned Jaradat said.
A History of Oppression and the Reality of Palestine
“My father had to run away between 1946 and 1948,” Jaradat says in the article in The Sheaf.
“The Israelis got weapons from Britain and started the killing of innocent Palestinians in the streets, so he went all the way from Haifa to Jenin and then from Jenin to Amman, Jordan, for safety for his family.”
Jaradat adds that his father is “older than the State of Israel.” He reiterates that to this day, the legal governing body of Palestine, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has limited — almost no — power. That is the reality of Palestine.
Limitations on Freedom
Earlier this month, Israeli police cut power to a family in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The authorities were ready to expel the family under the pretext of building a school. Several residents carried gas canisters to the roof and threatened to blow up the house.
In the middle of the night, the police stormed the house. They threw stun grenades, dragged out, and arrested residents. By sunrise, the police had demolished the building.
Rahaf Jaradat, Mohanned Jaradat’s daughter and research coordinator in Saskatoon, tells The Sheaf that when people hear about “fights” or “scuffles” in Palestine, they are really hearing about Palestinians protesting limitations on their freedom.
Protests Around the World
Articles like the one in the student newspaper The Sheaf can be a small glimmer of truth in a media landscape studded with bias on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rahaf Jaradat touches upon the pro-Palestine protests around the world to help people see the reality of Palestine. Recently there have been protests in the streets of Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, and more.
“Palestinians themselves are saying that spreading awareness and medica coverage is helping them — these actions contribute to change,” Rahaf told The Sheaf.