Story by Rana Zakarna, for the Muleskinner—
Palestine is a historic region located in the Middle East, on the East Coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It has a strategic location, and it is also well known as the Holy Land. These two reasons are mainly behind the fact that Palestine faced a lot of attempts to be stolen from its original people, and these attempts have been going on since it was controlled by the Canaanites.
Palestine is a Holy Land to the Muslims because Jerusalem (the capital city of Palestine) is the traditional site of prophet Muhammad’s ascent to heaven; to the Jews because it is promised to them by God according to the Bible; and to the Christians because it was the place where Jesus lived.
Nowadays, a lot of people don’t know about the existence of Palestine, but if they do, they will rename it with Israel, which is currently occupying Palestine.
Before the Israeli occupation, Palestine was controlled by the British mandate. After that, the Zionist established its illegal presence in the Holy Land and started an ongoing struggle between Palestinians and Israelis, creating a lot of confusion.
The catastrophe, or “Al Nakba” in Arabic, happened in 1948. Huge amounts of Jewish people entered Palestine and forced Palestinians to leave their homes by using powerful weapons.
The Jewish state of Israel is established on the Palestinian land, leading to divide Palestine into 3 parts; West Bank under the Jordanian control, Gaza Strip under the Egyptian control and the newly created Israeli part, which contains the Palestinian cities on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Israeli occupation created many bad consequences for the lives of Palestinians; children were deprived of having a good education, people lost their houses because the Israeli soldiers damaged them, a lot of restrictions were placed on Palestinians’ movement between the Palestinians cities, and a huge group of Palestinians were forced to leave their homeland and became refugees.
According to the “Palestinian Media Center,” the original Palestinian refugees and their descendants are estimated to number more than 6.5 million all over the world. These refugees were forced to leave their own homes in order to let the Israeli people settle in and build the state of Israel.
Even without a political government, Palestinians maintained their distinctive national and historic consciousness until they were able to establish a united Palestinian government which controls the West Bank and Gaza Strip only.
After establishing an official Palestinian government, some changes have been made to the lives of Palestinians, for instance, improving the education system, developing the existing schools and universities, and building more schools and hospitals as well. But there is still a big effect of the Israeli occupation that prevents creating new improvements to the Palestinian life.
It feels so strange to me that I am now in the United States, and when I look at any map here, I would only find Israel but not Palestine. Then I realized that a lot of countries, including the United States, do not consider Palestine as a country.
The world should recognize the fact that Palestine is a real country, even if it is occupied. Palestinians are humans and they have the full right to live freely as any other person on Earth, as well as the right to resist in order to get their freedom.