101 information and resources to understand Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
Not That Complicated
Many people are held back from taking a stand on the issue of Palestine/Israel by the common misconception that it is “complicated.” Here, we explain the steady continuation of the more than 100 year old settler colonial project that is Zionism. Palestine 101: Not That Complicated can help folks both familiar and unfamiliar with the issue understand the ongoing process of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the legacy of Palestinian resistance to the colonization of their homeland.
Since 1967, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have lived under a brutal Israeli military occupation, which is among the most visible forms of its settler colonialism and apartheid. This occupation has included Jewish-only, illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land; military checkpoints; thousands of Palestinians imprisoned and killed by the Israeli army; tens of thousands of home demolitions; and more than one million olive trees uprooted. Israel’s actions since 1967 make clear that the occupation was never meant to be temporary. It is just the latest extension of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and subjugation of Palestinians, which continues to this day.
More than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza have been living under a complete siege by Israel since 2007. This blockade of Gaza, which is enforced by both Israel and Egypt and backed by the US, denies Palestinians adequate food and potable water, makes it nearly impossible for Palestinians to receive medical treatment or travel abroad, and prevents Palestinians from operating power generating stations and sanitation systems at their needed capacities. The UN has estimated that Gaza will be uninhabitable by 2020.
According to countless UN Security Council resolutions and the International Court of Justice in 2004, East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel in 1967. Its annexation by Israel is not recognized internationally. Israel’s policies there, including forced land acquisition and population transfer, are meant to change the composition of this Palestinian city and “Judaize” non-Jewish areas. More than 9,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been demolished and around 15,000 Palestinians have had their residency revoked. Meanwhile, there are now 200,000 Israeli settlers living in East Jerusalem.
More than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the process of the creation of the state of Israel. Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees waiting to exercise their right to return.
While hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, 150,000 Palestinians remained in the homeland and were eventually granted Israeli citizenship. Today Palestinian citizens of Israel number 1.5 million, about 20 percent of Israel’s population. Despite being citizens, Palestinians face institutionalized discrimination through for example more than 50 laws that privilege Jews over non-Jews.
Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned or detained more than 800,000 Palestinians from the occupied territories. Around 70% of Palestinian families have had at least one relative detained. Palestinian prisoners and detainees have suffered from torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, and medical negligence. At least 200 Palestinian prisoners have been killed because of such actions.
Israel’s policies of detention and imprisonment are used as political tools to suppress resistance and to maintain control over Palestinian society. These policies are intended to obstruct the daily lives and social fabric of Palestinians and undermine their ability to oppose Israeli oppression by criminalizing basic political affiliation and activities and intimidating individuals and communities.
As of July 2017, more than 6,000 Palestinian political prisoners, including women and children, are being held in prisons located inside Israel, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. More than 400 are administrative detainees, a procedure that allows Israel to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.
Zionism is the political ideology behind establishing and maintaining a Jewish demographic majority in Palestine through the state of Israel and at the expense of the native Palestinian population. Zionism is, and always has been, a settler-colonial project. Zionist leaders understood that the only way to manufacture a Jewish majority in Palestine was to drive out the native Palestinian population and settle Jewish people in their place.
“Zionism is Colonialism: In Their Own Words” is a series of graphics highlighting this. Israel commonly justifies its oppressive policies in the name of security, but these graphics lay bare the reality that what we see on the ground today. The siege of Gaza, the ongoing displacement of Bedouins in the Naqab inside Israel, and the ban on return for millions of Palestinian refugees are all manifestations of Zionism. Early Zionists knew that this would be necessary to create and maintain a Jewish state in a land whose native population was not majority Jewish.
Learn more about Zionism by going to the Freedom Bound: Resisting Zionism and White Supremacy section of the curriculum.