When Israeli forces launched a deadly massacre on The State of Palestine earlier this year, the world was immediately alerted on the real-time events of the evil acts by America’s blue-eyed boy in the Middle East.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In 1980 it annexed the entire city, a move never recognized by the international community.
This has led to decades-long attacks on Palestine by Israel leaving thousands dead while millions have been displaced from their homes.
The May 2021 attacks on Palestine started in East Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and spread to Gaza as a result of Israeli assaults on worshippers in the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which has been happening for decoded now, claimed the lives of more than 200 innocent civilians, including children.
The attack was Israel’s response to what started out as a social media uprising and spiralled into the streets of occupied Palestine.
Muna El-Kurd and her twin brother Mohammed, using their mobile phones and social media platforms, brought the world’s attention to their community after the violence they recorded went viral globally.
The two are part of Palestine’s Generation Z that has taken daily life under Israeli occupation to the world using online platforms.
From The Streets To The World.
For their exploits, the twins were named among the Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2021’ List.
For Muna, the struggle for the emancipation of Palestine has just gotten bigger and there is no stopping.
“Being chosen among Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2021’ List is a positive step in terms of getting the Palestinian cause on the international stage. But, the struggle of an entire nation cannot be reduced to the work of my brother and myself.
“This is the outcome of the collective efforts and determination of Palestinians who have fought Israeli colonialism for seven decades without recognition,” she said in response to questions to her by 263Chat.
Palestinian activists including the twins say they aim to seize control of the narrative from media outlets which they accuse of suppressing their point of view and falsely equated Israel’s suffering with that of its occupied territories.
“What we need is tangible change by the mainstream media (including Time Magazine) to end its bias towards Israel and Zionism; be bolder and braver in addressing the question of Palestinian liberation movements and Palestinian resistance in all its forms.”
The Revolution Will Not Be Silenced.
On social media platforms, there is a double standard of obscuring Israel’s crimes in Palestine and restricting Palestine supporters to prevent them from making their voices heard.
During the May 2021 attacks, several social media users complained that their accounts were slowed, posts and comment blocked and deleted, especially on Facebook and Instagram, after sharing images and videos about Israel’s crimes against Palestinian.
This has continued to this day. The former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to Muna, has tried – unsuccessfully – three times to block all social media through legislation.
“During the protests, for instance, Israel has used devices to block or disrupt the Internet signal while we were filming and live-streaming. Israeli army and police have also tried to physically confiscate our devices, grabbing them from our hands.
“This happened many times. Israel has also blocked activists from physically gaining access to the neighbourhood by erecting checkpoints and barriers. In this way, they were trying to prevent people from reaching the truth,’” she said.
Speaking out has come at a personal cost for many activists who resorted to social media for protests but were later arrested and charged with inciting violence.
“My neighbour, Murad Attieh, has been charged with “terrorism” for his social media activism. This is a way to discourage Palestinians from showing the truth. The Israeli authorities are criminalizing public outreach on social media – our main channel of advocacy. But we will not be silenced,” Muna added.
This resilience is what Israel has been fighting against through silencing people from using social media to show the real atrocities that are being committed against the Palestinians.
There are about 520 Palestinian administrative detainees, 4650 political prisoners including 200 child prisoners and 40 women in Israeli jails.
According to Palestinian statistics, more than 230 Palestinians have died in Israeli occupation jails through torture, medical negligence by Israeli prison officials and real intentions to kill them.
Generation Z, according to Muna, is thus giving the Palestinian people hope to fight for their independence and emancipation.
The people, in their diversity, are united more than ever, to ensure they drive away from the continued colonisation by Israel.
“Many of us were despondent, feeling that it was becoming impossible to defeat the Israeli occupation. They now feel that it is possible to resist and defeat the occupation. We have also seen that the issue of Sheikh Jarrah has united the Palestinian people behind a common goal. We felt – for the first time in many years – true national unity.
“Whether it was a Palestinian living in Israel, or living in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip. Whether they lived in East Jerusalem or in the refugee camps in Jordan or Lebanon. Even those living in the diaspora – spread across the world. “We are Palestinian” was the common message from everyone. We were all united behind one clear goal.
Social Media Companies Supping With The Devil
The Palestinians, Muna says, feel that social media companies have been working in cahoots with the Israeli government to bring about censorship and silence the revolution.
“Not only are we fighting the censorship from the Israeli occupation, but social media companies – especially Instagram and Facebook were also censoring us.
“For instance, we found that when we were reporting on people that had been killed by the Israeli forces and we were using the word “shaheed” (martyr) then those posts were being hidden. Those posts and the information in them were not coming up on people’s timelines,” she said.
But they are not backing down!
“So we innovated and found some creative ways to get around their algorithms. We wrote the words differently, sometimes substituting certain letters with numbers.
The Spy In The Room.
For the revolution to be a success, there is a need for world leaders to condemn what Israel is doing but Muna blames the excessive spying on activists, journalists and opposition leaders by the Israeli government which has instilled fear among some.
In mid-2021, a damning report was released which showed that Israel exports its spying technology like Pegasus to many African governments who use it to spy on and monitor progressive and democratic voices.
For Muna and the people of Palestine, it comes as not a surprise that some African dictators are working with Israel to help it silence its critics.
“To be honest, it is not surprising that oppressive governments are looking to Israel to help them silence their people. And of course, they are using technologies that are tested on the Palestinians.” Muna adds.
The Palestine Embassy in Harare last month condemned the continued silence by world leaders and the international community for remaining mum while people are being killed arbitrarily.
“The State of Palestine is disappointed with the international community’s failure to take action against Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian territories since 1967. We, therefore, call on the international community to condemn and hold Israeli occupation power for its crimes against Palestinians,” reads part of the statement.
Advice To African Youths Under Despotic Rule.
“We have discovered the importance of our voices, and to what extent our loud voices can move the world. Do not remain silent about the injustice, the oppression, the suppression of freedoms and political arrests. Always document them and share them.
“Our phones are not just devices. Our education is not just a certificate or a piece of paper. These are weapons with which we can defend our communities, our nations, our environment, our dignity, our freedom, and ourselves.
“We must each resist with whatever our particular skill or ability is. For example, I chose to study media so I could shed light on the brutality of the Israeli occupation, its apartheid against Palestinians, the ways in which Israel wants to force us out of our homes and land.
“We are now in a new era everyone can make their voice heard, regardless of the physical obstacles that those oppressors in power put in front of us. We must support every voice that speaks the truth. Every voice matters. It is time for the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) to end. It is time for all our Nakba’s to end. Liberation will come – for all of us – however long it takes.”