By Amzad Ali, age 16 and IndyKids Staff
“Stop the fire immediately. We’re escalating towards a full scale war,” Tor Wennesland, United Nations Middle East envoy, said in a tweet on Tuesday, May 18. In the past few weeks, tension has reached new levels in the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel.
The recent violence is, in part, a reaction to Israel’s forced evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem. But the violence first began to escalate 27 days prior to these evictions. More than 200 Palestinian lives have been lost since the onset of the violence. Twelve Israeli deaths have also been reported since May 17.
The night of April 13 marked the start of the recent outbreak. Not only was it the first night of the holy month of Ramadan, it was also Memorial Day, honoring those who died fighting for Palestine. According to the New York Times, the Israeli president was giving a speech in a site just below the mosque where Palestinian Muslims were praying. There were concerns that the praying session would drown out the president’s speech, so Israeli officers barged into the mosque and cut the loudspeakers.
This issue has stepped foot all over the globe on social media, where many have chosen a side and in most cases, are causing further hate and division. Rumors and false information are being used on both sides to delegitimize the opponents reason for fighting. One video shared by a spokesperson for former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed missiles firing from Gaza into a civilian-populated area of Israel. According to the New York Times, this video was in fact not filmed in Gaza and was from 2018.
The United Nations Security Council made initial statements on the dispute on May 22, calling for a “full adherence to the ceasefire” bringing a long 11 days of fighting to an end. President Biden has shown his support for Israel and insists that there will be no peace if Palestine fails to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as an independent Jewish state. In an interview, President Biden stated that a two-state solution is the only way to resolve this issue, and although this change cannot happen overnight, the United States can help in setting the conditions for that to eventually happen, and that all starts with a ceasefire.
Palestinian American politician Rashida Tlaib, the U.S. representative for Michigan’s 13th Congressional District, has taken the stage to voice her support for Palestine, something she is disappointed Biden hasn’t done more of. Tlaib stated that Biden is doing the bare minimum to help Palestine, which has been falling short on every kind of supply to stay alive as Israel continues to fuel the dispute and is doing more damage than necessary. During an unscheduled meeting with Biden in May, Tlaib told the president “the current U.S. approach of unconditional support for the Israeli government is not working,” according to Tlaib’s office. “The White House must do far more to protect Palestinian lives, dignity, and human rights.”