What does Free Palestine mean?
This Twitlonger will outline a few things. Who I am, what Palestine is and why the Free Palestine movement is important. This Twitlonger was made for the smash/gaming community and is a pretty surface level look at things. All sources I use in this (from maps to statistics) will be from the UN or more specific humanitarian analysis of the region. If you have problems with what I am saying and don't agree with it please DM me rather than posting a comment as single sentance twitter responses are not the best way to talk about these issues (hence why I am writing this).
Retweets very appreciated especially within the smash/gaming community.
Who am I?
I am a Super Smash Brothers Melee player by the Tag of Free Palestine. Melee wise I was ranked 101 worldwide for 2018 https://www.redbull.com/us-en/mpgr-2018-mr-101
I was born in and live in Columbus Ohio as an American and a Palestinian. I have a dual citizenship and have travelled to and spent time within Palestine throughout my life. This background has given me the perspective from the side of Palestinians living within the West Bank and from that of Americans living stateside.
What is Palestine?
This might seem like an odd question to answer but I have had plenty of people ask me to explain my side without knowing what/where Palestine is and what the distinction is between it and the current state of Israel. http://www.un.org/Depts/Cartographic/map/profile/israel.pdf
This first map is of the current state of Israel and where it is in the world.
This second map shows more clearly where the West Bank and Gaza are which is what people call Palestine today. Also in this map it outlines UN relief work in and around the area with Palestinian refugees who have been displaced due to this conflict (something I will go in depth about in the next section).
Why is Free Palestine important?
The current state of affairs in Palestine and of the Palestinian people is not good. The rest of this Twitlonger will be outlining the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people mainly in my lifetime by the Israeli government and the support that American foreign policy has towards Israel despite all of this.
The first thing I will talk about is the treatment of Arab Palestinians living within Israel. There exists a large population of Palestinians still living in Israel today. There is a large separation of rights between Jewish Israeli citizens and Palestinians living in Israel. You will hear people refer to the state of Israel as an Apartheid state.
Sources regarding this topic are from a UN report on the issue (I highly recommend reading the executive summary on this issue): https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/downloads/201703_UN_ESCWA-israeli-practices-palestinian-people-apartheid-occupation-english.pdf
Apartheid is outlined as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, defined as:
““The crime of apartheid” means inhumane acts… committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.
One issue outlined is land use: The Israel Lands Authority (ILA) manages State land, which accounts for 93 per cent of the land within the internationally recognized borders of Israel and is by law closed to use, development or ownership by non-Jews.
Another issue within this argument is that regarding the over 300,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem. These Palestinians are considered permanent residents and have no legal standing to dispute any Israeli law, which commonly evicts people them from their homes which as said earlier cannot be disputed in any legal way. There is no recourse you have as a Palestinian in the state of Israel if your house and or your land is taken away.
This discrimination extends to restriction of movement within the sacred city of Jerusalem which holds a very important religious influence on the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions. Culturally it means a lot with Dome of the Rock being one of the most recognizable buildings in the entire country https://ray032.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/jerusalem_dome_of_the_rock.jpg?w=1024
I personally was completely barred from entering the city during my last visit to Palestine (despite being a US citizen) all the while the US embassy was moved there, strengthening the supposed claim Israel has to the city. Palestinians have been visiting and taking pilgrimage to this holy site for hundreds of years (since 690 AD) and are now barred from even visiting it. This city was supposed to be a neutral ground for all parties since the inception of the state of Israel. This is no longer the case.
There are countless other ways within education, voting rights, and many other ways in which Palestinians are discriminated against all across the state of Israel.
The last topics I’ll talk regarding Israel is the ways in which the Israeli government purposely halts the peace process within the area and the justified UN resolutions regarding this.
For a brief and troubling summary; since the United Nations Human Rights Council was founded in 2006 and until 2013 it had passed 45 Resolutions condemning actions within Palestine caused by the Israeli government. This is almost more resolutions than every other country in the world COMBINED (45.9% of total resolutions). The even more troubling part about this is that no real action occurs since the US has vetoed 43 of these completely, stopping any real action from occurring. This is part of the reason why it is a responsibility of the American people to be educated on this topic.
One of the biggest stop gaps to peace is the existence and proliferation of Israeli settlements within the West Bank. These are the center of many of the UN resolutions. These are towns ranging in size from small villages to cities with populations over 70 thousand people. These are Israeli citizens who are living on land in the West Bank. The settlers living in these areas are some of the most radical towards Palestinians and very often are violent towards Palestinian villages. These large walled cities also stop movement within the West Bank with roadblocks and giant walls and create a very hostile environment for people in the West Bank just trying to live their lives. Take a look at this map of the settlements to see the scope of the problem. The full map shows other access restrictions and conditions across the region.
Often times a 2 state solution is presented and thrown around within American media but this is mostly a joke concept. There is no state if settlements are allowed to exist within Palestinian territory. There is no state if foreign governments are able to build and antagonize citizens in another country. There has never been an intention to respect a Palestinian state from the Israeli side since not only do they allow but encourage as many people to move into these settlements.
And so for these reasons and countless others I believe it is important to understand the type of government and system that people support.