Importance of Palestine
Palestine has always been of immense importance for both Muslims and Jews because of certain religious reasons. For Muslims, Masjid-al-Aqsa in Jerusalem was the site of the first Qibla and is also the place from where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven during his holy journey of Isra w-al Miraj. For Jews, Jerusalem has been the holiest city and a spiritual centre since the 10th century BC when the site was chosen during the lifetime of King David to be the location of the Holy Temple.
Palestine had always been home to a small number of Jews due to its religious importance. It was not until the late 19th century when Jews started to migrate to Palestine in large numbers. They made up 4% of the population of Palestine in 1872 which increased to 10% by 1914. The number again grew massively right after the Holocaust which meant Jews would now make up one-third of the population of Palestine. In 1948, they declared Israel a separate nation for themselves occupying a part of Palestine which has been expanding ever since. Not only expanding but they have also been murdering the same Palestinians who gave refuge to Jews. They have fought 8 recognized wars and have been involved in multiple armed conflicts.
The state of Palestine has no land army, air force or navy. Hamas is a Palestinian, Islamic fundamentalist, militant and nationalist group which is in power in Gaza. It is funded by Iran and fights Israel on behalf of Palestine. Israel takes advantage saying it’s targeting Hamas but keeps on slaughtering innocent Palestinians including women and children. The same happened this time around. The crisis was triggered on May 6 when Palestinians began protests in East Jerusalem over an anticipated decision of the Supreme Court of Israel on the eviction of six Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a predominantly Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. In these protests, Israel found a solid excuse to attack Palestine once again. Not only did they invade the Gaza Strip by land but also launched an air attack killing around 250 Palestinians including nearly 66 children. Dozens of buildings were destroyed including important government buildings and the Samir Mansour Library, a very famous bookstore in Gaza. On May 21, a ceasefire was called with both sides claiming victory, including Hamas to save their image internationally.
What role can we as Pakistanis play to help
During this crisis, not only did leaders of Muslim majority nations but the Muslim Ummah itself greatly condemned the actions of Israel. Pakistanis came out in thousands in solidarity with the Palestinians to protest against Israelis. Social media was also taken by a storm; #FreePalestine became the top trend on Twitter while Facebook and Instagram were flooded with posts condemning what Israel was doing. However, we see a declining trend in the social media campaign since the ceasefire was announced. This is the time when we should not stop pushing for a #FreePalestine because this is probably the closest we ever have been to one. The people of Pakistan and other Muslim countries need to keep on tweeting and uploading stories on all social media platforms.
Now many people ask what differences will this make?
Making it a trend on social media will allow the message to spread which in turn will help more and more people get educated about the ethnic cleansing taking place in Palestine. The campaign for a free Palestine will grow multitudinously not only in Muslim countries but all over the world. The bigger the campaign, the more chances for a #FreePalestine!
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