The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

Ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel raises awareness, exposes biases

Nawal Mohamed
If you cannot remedy injustice, at least tell everyone about it, argues Osob Mohammud in her opinion piece about the conflict in the Middle East.

On October 12, Israel launched 6,000 bombs on the Palestinian city of Gaza, resulting in the deaths of nearly 1,400 Palestinians, many of whom are children. Many resources including water, food, fuel, and power have all been cut off as a result of the explosives, and 45 Palestinian families have been removed from the civil registration. The difficult history between Palestine and Israel is undeniable and has been going on for 75 years. Between 1881 and 1903, Israeli Jews came to Palestine seeking refuge. Previously, Arab laborers were employed to work on their farms, but as more Jews arrived, this became less common. Israelis started occupying more and more land until they only left Gaza and the West Bank to Palestine, but that wasn’t enough. 

Previously, when the land changed hands, the tenants stayed on to labor for the new master. When a Jew purchased land, however, the Arab tenants were frequently evicted, losing their homes and communities. Over the years, there have been numerous lies in the press concerning this forced occupation of Palestinian property and displacement of Palestinians. First and foremost, reporters in the West began to both ascribe the term Hamas, which is short for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement), to Palestinians writ large as well as describe them as “extremists” and “terrorists” while never using the same kind of language with regard to Israel’s oppressive and violent tactics. Even today, viewers and readers are subjected to unverified claims that Hamas killed Israeli children and sexually assaulted hostages, especially across social media, in the days following the raid.

The claims sparked after Nicole Zedek, a reporter for Tel Aviv-based news channel i24, stated on live television that she had spoken with Israeli soldiers who had witnessed decapitated children. Hamas then issued a statement rejecting allegations that it committed crimes against women and children. Meanwhile, a video surfaced wherein an Israeli woman recounted a member of Hamas saying, “Don’t worry, I am Muslim. We will not hurt you.”  With so many contradictory accounts but no hard evidence of Hamas harming civilians and plenty of footage of Israel’s attack on Palestine, sentiment in favor of the Arabs in Gaza is finally gaining traction in the mainstream.

“This is heartbreaking and tragic to witness people being killed from the comfort of my home knowing that I have food and a warm place to sleep,” Bilan Mohammud (11) said. “[Meanwhile], kids my age and younger [are] suffering. This has nothing to do with any religion — it has to do with human rights.”. 

On October 14, Israel was ready to start a ground assault in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip after urging Palestinians living there to move south to a closed border with Egypt. Then, after millions left their homes, they got bombed on their way. Israel also had its military throw white phosphorus bombs in highly populated areas. The chemical agent phosphorus can cause chemical burns to the skin, even occasionally exposing bones. To further demonstrate how dangerous phosphorus is, it has been labeled “the new napalm” said by Steve Goose and Bonnie Docherty.

Israeli forces taking Palestinian land, locking 2.2 million people in open-air prisons then now bombing three of these areas and not letting in humanitarian aid is genocide. This is not a war — it is genocide. Genocide is defined as the intentional killing of a large number of people from a certain nation or ethnic group with the intent of destroying that nation or group, in whole or in part, under international law. Genocide can occur through killing or by creating living conditions that are so intolerable that the group is destroyed. 

According to international humanitarian law, which try to lessen the impact of armed conflict by detailing the responsibilities of states and non-state armed organizations, including enabling the passage of humanitarian aid, all sides to an armed conflict must distinguish between military goals, civilians and civilian objects, and indiscriminate and disproportionate strikes are prohibited.

Hospitals will be unable to save lives, the internet will fail causing people to be unable to interact with the outside world. Gaza will be thrown into darkness as Israel eliminates its neighborhoods. Worse, Israel has made public a desire to perpetrate mass atrocities, if not genocide, with Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring that the Israeli reaction will “reverberate for generations” — all of this with the full backing of the United States government. 

On November 11, medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital, the biggest hospital in the Gaza Strip, said that Israeli soldiers had been bombing the institution. Over the years, the hospital has treated many Palestinian patients with medical attention. It means “House of Healing” in Arabic. Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands examines the interesting history of the organization. The UN said that Israel had intensified its airstrikes and ground assaults on medical facilities in Gaza City and northern Gaza, adding that additional hospitals had been “directly hit.” The director of Al Quds Hospital reports that 37 premature infants are among those fighting for their lives in the hospital after the newborn critical care unit had to be closed. At least 11,078 Palestinians have lost their lives as a result of Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza. There have been more than 1,200 deaths in Israel as of late, after a decline. According to UN estimates, the Israel-Hamas fighting has forced about 1.5 million Palestinians from Gaza in the past month.

President Biden and his administration do not speak for the millions of Americans they claim to represent, but while protests against Israel and for Palestine proliferate across the country, who in a position of actual power in the West will continue to support unwavering Palestinians and their righteous and compassionate cause?

Corporations like Disney, Starbucks and McDonald’s have been pretty public with their support for Israel. The Walt Disney Company has given millions of dollars in assistance to Israel. Starbucks Coffee International, a subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee Company, teamed with the Delek Group of Israel to develop the Israeli affiliate of Starbucks, known as Shalom Coffee Company. Amazon has now come out with their support for Israel. In a post, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy described the strikes against Israeli citizens as “shocking and painful to watch.”

On November 22, After agreeing to a cease-fire mediated by Qatar, Hamas, and Israel stated their willingness to resume hostilities. The agreement calls for the release of 150 Palestinian inmates imprisoned in Israeli jails in exchange for the release of 50 persons detained in Gaza by Hamas. This leaves me questioning, why are they trading 50 for 150 prisoners which is triple the amount. 

Despite so much of the international community’s falsehoods and posturing about resolving the crisis through diplomacy, this dystopian-like nightmare has always been the endgame: pulverize every square inch of Gaza and its people into dust and memory. The devastating consequences of this ongoing conflict are felt by innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. It is crucial for global leaders like the Israeli and American governments, as well as more visible entities like big businesses and celebrities, to prioritize a genuine dialogue and peaceful resolutions to prevent further loss of life and destruction. 

Correction: A previously published version of this story included a typo stating in its opening that the IDF’s launching of 6,000 bombs occurred on October 2. The error has been corrected to reflect the correct date, which was October 12. The Heights Herald regrets the error.

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About the Contributors
Osob Mohammud
Osob Mohammud, News Editor
Osob Mohammud is a junior at Columbia Heights High School who enjoys cooking, baking, listening to music and watching K-dramas. This is her second year on The Heights Herald and serves as News Editor.
Nawal Mohamed
Nawal Mohamed, Staff Writer
Nawal Mohamed is a junior at Columbia Heights High School and a Staff Writer for The Heights Herald. She thinks journalism will be a good experience for her. Her favorite things to do are read, watch movies/shows and journal. She also hopes to expand her horizons during junior year and make good memories.