CODEPINK believes peace comes with justice. Our work for peace envisions a world free from all forms of violence, oppression, injustice and war.
We know that the constant information barrage can be hard to sift through—and we know this is a contentious issue to discuss with friends and family. We’ve taken the last few days to compile useful resources and answer frequently asked questions that we have been getting from you all.
Q: Do Palestinians in Gaza have a right to defend themselves?
Yes. Read below for context.
Q: Will resistance from Gaza cause more violence?
Palestinians have suffered Israeli violence for the past 75 years, whether or not Hamas has launched attacks. The violence must be understood in the context of resistance to a 75-year Israeli occupation, in which a Jewish state was violently established on stolen Palestinian land in 1947-1948. This is the time the Palestinians mourn as The Nakba or catastrophe—an ethnic cleansing that saw Zionist militias massacre and burn to the ground over 500 villages. Their villages in flames, their families threatened, nearly a million Palestinians fled for their lives–only to learn that Israel would forever bar their right of return while granting Israeli citizenship or “birthright” to virtually any Jew anywhere in the world.
The State of Israel was founded on the crimes of dispossession, displacement and erasure–sold to the US public on the post-WWII lie that Israel was “a land without a people for a people without a land.” In truth, prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, over 700-thousand Palestinians, Muslims, Jews and Christians lived for many decades in peace amid rows and rows of olive trees. For nearly a century, Israel has routinely violated Palestinian human rights with ever-expanding settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, apartheid roads and walls, indefinite detention of Palestinians, many of them children, and imprisonment by air, land, and sea in Gaza. Whether or not Hamas launches attacks on Israel, the violence against Palestinians has been relentless and deliberate, prompting an occupied and subjugated people to rebel. The occupation in itself is the highest form of violence imaginable.
Q: How has Israel imposed collective punishment on Gaza?
Since the siege on Gaza began the second week in October, Israel has killed thousands of Palestinians, indiscriminately laying siege to the Gaza Strip and terrorizing 2.3 million people who have nowhere to escape the bombing. With Israeli control over ingress and egress, Gazans are denied access to clean water, food, medicine and fuel in a densely populated 25-mile long area the United Nations had already deemed uninhabitable. Israel tells millions of people to leave their homes in northern Gaza to seek refuge in southern Gaza, only to bomb the refugees as they walk for hours, their starving children in tow. This is further proof that the Nakba is ongoing as Palestinians are, once again, driven en masse from their homes for which Israel may, in violation of international law, deny them the right to return. Every day more lives are lost or irrevocably altered through injury, trauma, and loss.
Q: This is being reported as Israel’s 9/11, why?
The resistance in Palestine is being reported this way in order to achieve the same goals as the rhetoric used during 9/11—-to justify indiscriminate and brutal attacks on Palestinians everywhere. This is the same rhetoric used to justify the War on Terror, which, according to the Brown University Cost of War Project, left over 4.5 million people dead, and millions more displaced. Therefore, we know how dangerous the consequences of this rhetoric are. We see this happening with the current horrific siege on Gaza that has already murdered thousands of Palestinians, wounded thousands more, and displaced over a million. Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed to turn Gaza “into rubble” and the 2 million people living there—over 50% of whom are children, have been left without water, food, medicine or electricity.
Q: How do I avoid misinformation on Palestine?
There is plenty of misinformation/unverified news circulating around the Israeli siege of Palestine. For example, the President of the United States Joe Biden, in a televised news conference, spread misinformation when he wrongly “confirmed” the beheading of children by Hamas. Promptly afterwards, the White House issued a statement denying that those acts of violence against children had been verified at all. Sources like CNN also issued retractions of similar claims stating that Israel itself was not confirming this had happened. News outlets often leave up unverified claims and post retractions underneath- so always look for retractions before sharing. Do not share or react to unverified reports from anonymous “high-level” sources.
Here are steps you can take to avoid misinformation:
- Don’t share something without fact-checking- even if it's a “reputable” outlet like CNN. Are multiple sources reporting on it?
- Look for the sources the outlets are citing. Are the sources reliable? Israeli military and government officials are not reliable; neither are officials with the White House, State Department or Pentagon
- Think about and ask questions about the agenda of the report or reporters. Many news outlets tailor their stories to specific audiences. Ask yourself, “Who is the audience for this program? Who benefits from this story? What emotions is it supposed to evoke? On whose behalf?
- View stories intended to evoke emotion carefully and be more thoughtful in asking all the questions above.
Q: How can you be feminist and progressive and support Palestine?
Occupation isn’t feminist. Settler colonialism isn’t feminist. Colonialism is a patriarchal system that oppresses women and men all over the world. Israel routinely pink-washes its apartheid by virtue signaling Israel’s treatment of women while using Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian tropes to describe the status of Palestinian women. However, the Israeli occupation is the biggest purveyor of violence against the Palestinian women it oppresses under occupation.
Q: If Palestinians have a right to defend themselves, why doesn’t Israel?
International law is clear and unequivocal that an occupying power, or a power denying a people the right to self-determination does not have the right to use armed force to perpetuate its occupation. By definition, Israel cannot act “defensively” as an oppressor — oppression is an offensive act. Israel cannot “defend” itself against an oppressed people; Israel’s use of violence only enforces an oppressive occupation. Conversely, Palestinians resisting their oppression act defensively, as they have been victims of offensive attacks by Israel since its illegitimate inception in 1948.
Remember, Israel is occupying Palestinian territories in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and of UN Security Council resolution 242 (1967) and other resolutions. The UN, the US and the world have failed to enforce international law or UNSC resolutions, or to take any effective action to end Israel's illegal occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. So the Palestinians have every right to keep resisting. On the other hand, Israel has no such right to repeatedly attack Gaza or any of the Palestinian territories, which it has occupied and tried to control by the illegal use of force, and ultimately to annex.
Q: What is the solution to ending the violence in Palestine?
In order for this violence to end, the occupation must end. Israel is the oppressor and has created the circumstances for an oppressed people to be designated as such. As long as Palestinians are violently denied their right to their homes, their land, and their self-determination, the violence will continue and will be disproportionately used against Palestinians. Militant resistance has not been the only tactic of the Palestinian resistance movement — Palestinians have always used a variety of approaches to fight for their own liberation. Militant resistance arises from conditions where all measures of nonviolent resistance have been squashed by the occupying government. It is the responsibility of us living in the United States to promote the end of occupation and thus an end to all the violence.
Q: What can I do from abroad?
It is important to stand in solidarity with Palestinians and the liberation of Palestine from Israel’s occupation. Demonstrate in the streets, occupy lawmakers’ offices and petition your government to quit funding the illegal occupation of Palestine through security and military aid packages that sustain and enforce settler-colonial oppression . Since your tax dollars are funding the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, you have the right to redress your government to end its support of Israel’s gross human rights violations. Each year the United States spends nearly $4 billion in taxpayer dollars to fund the Israeli occupation. All current military aid to Israel is part of the 10-year, $38 billion Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Israel signed with the US in 2016. The United States has given Israel more than $260 billion in combined military and economic aid since World War I. That’s the most granted to any country during that time frame
Q: What are some actions I can take?
Click to Tweet: Join us in calling on the Biden administration to IMMEDIATELY cease all support for this apartheid occupation
Q: What are some videos I can share with my friends and family?
Watch Born in Gaza (Netflix required)
Q: Where can I donate to support Palestinians?
CODEPINK is collecting donations for solidarity organizations working on the ground: www.codepink.org/palestineaid
Q: Which Twitter handles, Instagram/Telegram channels should I follow?
Mohammed El-Kurd Writer from occupied Jerusalem. Palestine Correspondent at The Nation
TIMES OF GAZA Latest updates from occupied Palestine
Free Nora’s Home (@NorasEviction) / X Israeli occupation & settlers forcibly seized Nora’s home of +70 years on 11 July 2023
Al-Haq الحق (@alhaq_org) / X Protecting and Promoting Human Rights & the Rule of Law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Middle East Eye Your eye on the ground. Independent Middle East and North Africa news.
Palestine Info Center Palestinian Information Center: Voice Of #Palestine.
Electronic Intifada Palestine’s weapon of mass instruction.
Hind Khoudary Palestinian journalist based in Gaza
The channels below offer the most up-to-date information on the ground.
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Q: What news articles/podcasts do you recommend?
Canadian perspective: Palestine, Israel and Canada | Sandy & Nora Talk Politics
Other useful articles/news:
Analysis: Why is so much anti-Palestinian disinformation coming from India?
Amid the Israel-Gaza war, Indian right-wing accounts are among leading amplifiers of anti-Palestinian fake news.
The BBC Has Explained Why It Doesn't Use The Word 'Terrorist'
David Jordan, the broadcaster's head of editorial policy, underlined concerns about perceptions of "bias" and retaining the "trust" of its audience.
Blowback: How Israel Went From Helping Create Hamas to Bombing It
Hamas wants to destroy Israel, right? But as Mehdi Hasan shows in a new video on blowback, Israeli officials admit they helped start the group.