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Occupation is Never Justified

Citizens of Palestine are being targeted by inhumane acts of war.
Occupation+is+Never+Justified

 

STORY YARA JALLAQ | PHOTOGRAPHY GRACE CALLAHAN

 

        Four hours in the hot sun waiting in line, then another four hours waiting at a checkpoint for not believing a father is an American citizen. Well, that is exactly what happened to me when my family and I were standing at the checkpoint just trying to get to the West Bank, Palestine.

        Families that live in Palestine have been through a lot especially when dealing with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) treating them very poorly, like they are not human. According to  Congresswoman Betty McCollum (.gov,) the IDF arrests around 500 to 700 Palestinian children between the ages of 12 and 17 each year. My family and I back home have dealt with the IDF themselves in our home village, Hal Hul (Al Khalil) or (Hebron.) When my second cousin’s father was 23 years old, he got arrested for standing up to the IDF because he did not want his home to be invaded. He ended up being handcuffed and taken to prison. Occupation is never justified, especially if human beings are getting treated with disrespect.

        Families that live in Palestine go through enough already, but it does not just stop there. Some Palestinians can not enter the Aqsa mosque even though the majority of Palestians are Muslims. According to aljazeera.com, only men over the age of 55 or women over the age of 50 are allowed to enter the mosque, and all must have a valid permit. This shows how brutal the IDF are to the Palestinians when they are already dealing with occupation. According to aljazeera.com, 95 percent of all Palestians can not even enter the Al-Aqsa mosque because they are met with armed Israeli forces. My father and sister went to Al-Aqsa Mosque with American passports, as we entered through the big gates to the holy mosque. 

        Outside the mosque, we had to wear prayer dresses, which must be worn when entering the mosque as it is a religious site for Muslims. When my sister and I wore our prayer skirts that go over our clothes we were already wearing, an IDF soldier came and accused my father of allowing us to take off the skirts. The IDF soldier started threatening us and throughout the entire time of the experience in Jerusalem, we were a major target for them as they kept staring us down. Now, imagine how the Palestinian families feel everytime they are targeted; the feeling is not good, and it does not feel safe at all.

        As a Palestinian, my heart breaks when hearing about the innocent children and people getting killed during the Gaza and Israel war that is currently happening. What’s even more terrifying is that, as the war is happening in Gaza, the IDF soldiers in the West Bank are also abusing and hurting civilians. The abuse was still going on even before the war started on Oct. 7.. As my family back home go through the abuse of what the IDF soldiers have done, they also deal with the IDF soldiers using their house to aim at civilians in the West Bank, and have military cars driving around the neighborhoods to see if anyone is outside. 

        Another thing that the IDF soldiers do to civilians living in the West Bank is spray a smelly liquid on Palestinian homes in the West Bank called “Skunk,” which was used before the war but increased during the war used on civilians in the West Bank. According to BBC, it was used in the village of Kafr Qaddum, which is 13 kilometers away from Nablus, another village in the West Bank. Only two hours from my village Hal Hul (Al Khalil) or (Hebron,) this spray was used in Kafr Qaddum to break up weekly protests against Israel because of the Gaza and Israel war. Humatation crisis is happening all over Palestine and Gaza. However, society acts as though it is acceptable to abuse civilians in the West Bank as the war is happening in Gaza. Why has nobody put a stop to the killing? While Palestinian borders are being shut by Israel so that aid does not get to them, their only hope is the protests going on around the world.

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