The Gaza-Palestine Israel Conflict didn't start on October 7, 2023. This is what happened.
From Colonialism, Orientalism and Marginalizing to the "Gaza Palestine Israel Conflict". A list of organizations, maps, testimonies, and what happened. I created this list for myself, and like to share it here.
Are you dumbfounded, angry, at a loss, or speechless about what's happening in Gaza?
Maybe you're boycotting certain companies. Maybe you're pro-this or anti-the other country. Maybe you're following the journalists in Gaza and go to bed praying that they will still be there.
Maybe you don't care. Maybe you feel it has nothing to do with you. Maybe you prefer to be neutral. No matter your feelings, where you're living, your beliefs, or your religion:
What happens in Gaza matters to all of us. It's a sad and horrible story of colonialism, favoritism, orientalism, religious and political power, and money.
Am I an expert? Far from. I struggle to comprehend what's happening as much as the next one. Because seeing what's happening is too awful.
While studying Art History, I studied Middle Eastern History for a semester - and loved it -. What I did learn was that the history of Palestine-Israel relations is incredibly complex. Not because of the Palestinians, but because of the many nations and individuals that are benefitting from the smoke and mirrors and the confusion. Resulting in a general feeling that: I can't do anything. A dreading feeling of powerlessness.
So, here we go. Let's change 'I can't do anything' to feeling connected. Let's change Them and Us into seeing the Other like Ourselves.
I have been looking for sources that are not dominated by one single country or a single institute and/or are generated by Palestinians and Israelis.
I'm 100 % certain that I have left out very important sources. I will add more in the next few days.
All I ask is that you take a couple of hours (or even a day) to read, listen, and watch. Inform yourself. Double-check your sources. When you watch movies about Palestine make sure you have read the part about Orientalism and Colonialism first.
Ready? Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Eyes.
Q.1. What happened between Palestine and Israel? "Can't they just be friends"
Let's start with Al Nakba, which literally translates as The Catastrophe. It refers to the mass exodus of at least 750,000 Arabs from Palestine. Though most believe this event began in 1948, in fact, Al Nakba began decades earlier. It started with Napoleon Bonaparte
► Read and watch what happened
source The Palestine Remix of Aljaazera
You also meet Mouhiba Khorshid / Moheba Khorsheed the woman who led the Palestinian resistance in 1948.
► Read more about Moheba Khorsheed here
Q.2. Okay, there were a whole bunch of Israel, Gaza, and Palestine Peace Talks. Right? Every President of the United States of America has tried to solve the conflict, what happened?
There have been many negotiations - not just led by the USA -, the Oslo Accords were led by Norwegian politicians. Though Clinton is remembered as the one who made it happen, he played a minor role in the negotiations.
Remember the picture of Clinton in the middle and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat at the White House, shaking hands?
Yes, that's the one.
It's almost like leading Middle East peace has somehow become the crown of the important political career. It's something one has to do, whether you have any insight or not. That's interesting in itself.
Donald Trump: "It is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as difficult as people have thought over the years."
Remember Donald Trump famously stating:
“We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done,” Trump said. “We will be working so hard to get it done. I think there is a very good chance and I think we will.”
At a lunch later on, he was even bolder: “It is something that I think is frankly, maybe, not as difficult as people have thought over the years.”
Source The Atlantic
The full timeline of all the Palestine-Israel peace and war negotiations.
Q. 3. What do they talk about during these talks? And why do they fail?
If you want to get an idea of what those 'Peace Talks' entail, dive into the What, How, and Political Context around each peace talk. You will find that the Palestinian people are seldom at the center of the negotiations.
Here are some examples (the full list is much - much - larger):
A. The Oslo Accords
"Among the notable outcomes of the Oslo Accords was the creation of the Palestinian National Authority, which was tasked with the responsibility of conducting limited Palestinian self-governance over parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; and the international acknowledgment of the PLO as Israel's partner in permanent-status negotiations about any remaining issues revolving around the Israeli–Palestinian conflict."
"Bilateral dialogue stems from questions related to the international border between Israel and a future Palestinian state: negotiations for this subject are centered around Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, Israel's maintenance of control over security following the establishment of Palestinian autonomy, and the Palestinian right of return. The Oslo Accords did not create a definite Palestinian state.
► Read it all HERE- This is a Wikipedia page, always scroll to the end of each Wikipedia page to double-check the source
B. The Road Map for Peace / Roadmap for peace
The Road Map for Peace was a plan to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict proposed by the Quartet on the Middle East: the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations.
It happened against the background of George W. Bush's War on Terror, which started after the 11 September 2001 attacks
The Roadmap didn't have the unrealistic timeline most 'peace talks' had. It was a step-by-step plan, that eventually got stuck in demands like this:
On 25 May 2003, the (Israeli) Prime Minister's Cabinet approved the Roadmap with 14 reservations.  These included:
- The Palestinians will dismantle the (PA's) security organizations and reform their structures;
- The Palestinians must cease violence and incitement and educate for peace;
- The Palestinians must complete the dismantling of Hamas and other militant groups and their infrastructure, and collect and destroy all illegal weapons;
- No progress to Phase II before all above-mentioned conditions are fulfilled;
- (Unlike the Palestinians) Israel is not obliged to cease violence and incitement against the other party, pursuant to the Roadmap.
► Read the full text, the roadmap, and the background here just to get an idea of why it seldom worked.
Reading the information about the 'peace' talks, helped me to get an idea of why there still is no independent Palestine State. The obstacles will always be TOO high.
Q. 4. How did the Palestinian/Israeli borders change from 1967 till today?
The annexation changed the Israeli/Palestine map. You can check it out for yourself. If you're a map addict you're in for a bit of a surprise.
► The map is here.
Woman in Gaza. Image by Hosnysalah, Palestinian photographer currently living in Palestine Gaza Strip (via Canva) The key is the symbol for the houses that Palestinian people had to leave behind. Many elder Palestinians still have the key to their own house.
Q. 5. So the present fighting and bombing that started October 7, 2023, is more than Hamas versus the Israeli government?
Absolutely. Remember this started at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte. But Hamas was founded in 1987.
► The full timeline of Hamas is here. Remember to double-check all the sources at the bottom of the Wikipedia page and continue your search from there. This is not the full story.
Scroll up to the top if you missed the part about Al-Nakba to see that it didn't start on October 7, 2023.
Q. 6. I do care about people, but surely Gaza is just a part of Palestine? Isn't it just sand and houses? Who gives anything about that?
If you (secretly) think that Palestine is devoid of culture, music, food, stories, books, and architecture and just people who can't escape from their predicament, you couldn't get further from the truth.
Let's start with Palestinian culture.
Watch this animated video directed by Iman Zawahryto to get an idea of what it feels like to come from a country that is not on the map.
The culture of the Palestinian people is influenced by many diverse cultures and religions that have existed in the historical region of Palestine. Their cultural and linguistic heritage along with Lebanese, Syrians, and Jordanians is an integral part of Levantine Arab culture.
Food, poetry, music, dance, it's all there. But, when your priority is survival there is little to no possibility to spread your culture. The lack of Palestinian representation in the arts proves how 'successful' Palestinian marginalization is. An entire people has become virtually invisible.
► Here is a list of the Culture of Palestine, again scroll to the sources at the bottom of the page
►Here is a list of 'Notable Palestinians' get to know them, because it will prevent further marginalization of the Palestinian people.
Make sure to also scroll down on that page to the 'Pre-mandate' list to find the names of "As well as native Palestinian Muslims and Christians, the list includes those Jews, Samaritans, Druze, and Dom who were native to the geographic region of Palestine."
On this same list, you find people like Jesus and his mother Mary.
Palestinian Art in Gaza
Meet Palestinian artist Malak Mattar who confronts trauma through art
“It’s not only my story, but the story of many young children in the Gaza strip.”
By the age of 21, Palestinian artist Malak Mattar had already survived four Israeli bombardments of Gaza. In this interview, Mattar opens up about the attacks and how she was able to channel her ‘difficult emotions’ into art that has been exhibited across the world.
► You find Malak Mattar here on Instagram
Watch below the video about the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra and the Barenboim-Said Academy
The origins of the West-Eastern Divan orchestra lie in the conversations between its founders, Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim. Throughout their great friendship, the Palestinian author/scholar and Israeli conductor/pianist discussed ideas on music, culture, and humanity. In their exchanges, they realized the urgent need for an alternative way to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The opportunity to do this came when Barenboim and Said initiated the first workshop using their experience as a model. This evolved into the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra that global audiences know today.
► You find the website of the orchestra here
Though the orchestra is incredibly important, I personally wish the main focus was not mainly on Western music.
Because what we miss is the richness of Palestinian music! Thankfully there is Bara'em Ghirass
Meet Bara'em Ghirass, they are part of Musicians Without Borders.
Bara’em Ghirass offers a weekly music program for children and youth from the Bethlehem district, including refugee camps and isolated villages.
"For more than 70 years of occupation, the Palestinian people have faced systematic oppression and violence. Poverty, violence, and an absence of infrastructure and services define daily life. The marginalization of vulnerable groups of women, children, and refugees has left people isolated."
"Bara’em Ghirass responds to the urgent need for life-affirming, creative opportunities for children and communities. We partner with the Ghirass Cultural Center in Bethlehem, providing music activities for children and support for families, with a strong focus on gender equality and heritage."
► You can find Bara'em Ghirass here and you can donate as well.
Q. 7. Why does it feel like 'The Middle East' is a place full of villains and terrorists ruled by Islamic fundamentalism?
That is an incredibly important question. Thank you for asking!
This is the direct result of Colonialism and Orientalism. The Middle East is not riddled with villains and terrorists.
If you believe this, you have been fed a lie. And you're not the only one. The person who made us aware of Orientalism was Professor Edward W. Said. Yes, that's the same person who founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra with conductor Daniel Barenboim.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF ORIENTALISM AND COLONIALISM.
The term “Oriental” was often used to describe any person or group of people east of Europe, usually from Arab and/or Islamic countries. Like “the Orient”, this term reduces a variety of peoples to a discrete set of traits and temperaments.
Said's book Orientalism has been profoundly influential in a diverse range of disciplines since its publication in 1978. In the interview below Said talks about the context within which the book was conceived, its main themes, and how its original thesis relates to the contemporary understanding of "the Orient."
I highly encourage you to read Orientalism (I'm currently re-reading it) because it will demystify why we look at the Arabic world and see things through the scope of 'Orientalism'.
(PS If you want to understand why Western Art is seen as 'the leading and most important art' and 'the rest of the art as second rate. Read this book!)
► Alternatively, read this article about Orientalism
In Orientalism, Said observes a spate of harmful and sometimes contradictory stereotypes of so-called Oriental peoples, who are described as lazy, suspicious, gullible, mysterious, or untruthful.
Orientalism isn’t just a set of myths. Said understood it as an interconnected system of institutions, policies, narratives, and ideas.
He argues that the Western (especially American) understanding of the Middle East as a place full of villains and terrorists ruled by Islamic fundamentalism produces a deeply distorted image of the diversity and complexity of millions of Arab people.
Said referred to this as the interaction between latent Orientalism (the system of implicit ideas and beliefs about Southwest Asia and North Africa) and manifest Orientalism (explicit policies and ideologies acted upon by institutions).
The reason many fear the people from the Middle East is exactly what keeps Orientalism flourishing.
Portrayals in popular culture influence the framing of news. Seeing the links between culture, knowledge, and power is fundamental to understanding the reach of Orientalism.
We must start listening to the people from Palestine. The moment we see people as ourselves instead of 'The Other' we start caring for them. When we care for the other we can end the bombing.
Girl in Gaza. Image by Hosnysalah Palestinian photographer currently living in Palestine Gaza Strip (via Canva)
Q. 8. Are all the people of the State of Israel against the State of Palestine?
No, there have always been brave souls who are speaking up and their number is growing. And in reality, there's always something like not black and white. Even though the attacks on Gaza are very much the reality.
Meet B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
It "strives for a future in which human rights, liberty, and equality are guaranteed to all people, Palestinian and Jewish alike, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Such a future will only be possible when the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime end.
That is the future we are working towards. B’Tselem (in Hebrew literally: in the image of), the name chosen for the organization by the late Member of Knesset Yossi Sarid, is an allusion to Genesis 1:27: “And God created humankind in His image. In the image of God did He create them.” The name expresses the universal and Jewish moral edict to respect and uphold the human rights of all people."
Make sure you sign up for their YouTube Channel
B’Tselem shows Israeli settler aggression, like the video above, and gives voice to the people of Gaza
You can ► meet the people of Gaza HERE
"I’m a general practitioner at the Indonesian Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip. On Sunday morning, 15 Oct. 2023, an ambulance came to take me to the hospital because it was too dangerous to get there any other way. Before I left, I went into the room where the kids were sleeping and looked at them, without waking them. It was the last time I saw my nine-year-old son Fadel alive." - Issam Da’ur
B’Tselem teaches Palestinians to film the aggression used against them on a daily base. Capturing their daily reality helps to 'de-marginalize' and shift from what otherwise would have stayed invisible to providing proof.
Also important is the interactive map that shows what is happening.
Q. 9. What do we know about the IDF Israeli soldiers?
Meet Breaking the Silence, which captures and studies testimonies from soldiers in the Israeli army. Just to be clear all humanitarian organizations run by Israeli and Palestine people issued a statement condemning the Hamas attacks
Learn how the Israeli army system works
Breaking the Silence also provides information about current and previous Israeli campaigns in Gaza. and the culmination of aggression. The category list reads like a horror story
[ abuse ]
[ arrests ]
[ assassinations ]
[ bribery ]
[ checkpoints ]
[ confirmation of killing ]
[ curfews/closures ]
[ deaths ]
[ demonstration of presence ]
[ desecration of bodies ]
[ destruction of property ]
[ house demolitions/razing ]
[ house incursions/takeovers ]
[ human shields ]
[ humiliation ]
[ law enforcement ]
[ looting ]
[ loss of livelihood ]
[ patrols ]
[ restrictions of movement ]
[ routine ]
[ rules of engagement ]
[ Separation Barrier ]
[ settlements ]
[ settler violence ]
[ stake out ]
[ violence ]
► Watch the testimonies here
Q. 10. What can I do to de-colonize, de-orientalize, and de-marginalize Palestine and contribute to lasting peace for Gaza, Palestine, and Israel?
✔︎ Find ways to support Palestinians
And share them with your people. What is needed is changing all the time. So ask!
✔︎ Check, check, double-check.
Social media is awash with misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict, video games are shared as real footage. A video purporting to show an Israeli woman being attacked in Gaza was filmed in 2015 in Guatemala. So it's extra important to verify that your money is going to organizations that are legitimate as well as effective.
✔︎ Bear witness.
Follow the journalist from Gaza start here. Listen, watch, read, and share.
✔︎ Try to get the full story, instead of small snippets. For instance read the newsletters written by people in the field.
✔︎ Share stories, ask questions, listen to music, and share art from Palestinian artists, musicians, poets, and composers.
Use your voice to give a face to the people of Palestine.