Palestinians are facing violent settler colonialism at the hands of Israel

News Unsettled Opinions

From house evictions to everyday violence, Israel continues to prove it is a racist settler state

News Unsettled Native Students Union column
Graphic provided by the Native Students Union.

For the past week there have been demonstrations in the city of Jerusalem, and there has been little media coverage of the events. Everything from arrests, beatings, and prevention of religious services have been perpetrated by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). What is happening in the lands of Palestine is modern-day, violent colonialism, and there needs to be more attention paid.

On April 22,  police in Jerusalem blocked access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and set up barricades throughout the city of Jerusalem. These blockades were met with resistance by Palestinian youth. In response to this resistance, right-wing Israelis marched through the streets of Jerusalem chanting “death to Arabs.” 

 The confrontation did not end there. Late into the night the same Israelis chanting “death to Arabs” were shown on video attacking a Palestinian home. The same Israeli police officers that violently quelled Palestinian demonstrations looked on while Israelis terrorized innocent Palestinian families. 

There were subsequent demonstrations, complete with the same arrests, beatings, and other violence for the rest of the week. Israeli police officers also blocked Palestinians Christians’ access to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Although the events were significant, Israel news outlets have barely touched on them. When they did touch on them, many outlets specifically left out the fact that Israeli citizens chanted “death to Arabs.” 

And still, the events of the week were not the end. Again on May 1, Israeli police officers incited insurrection in Jerusalem.

In the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, Israeli police officers planned to evict six Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers. The families were given until May 2 to leave their properties, or they would face forced evictions. These evictions have caused more unrest in Jerusalem. The forcing out of Palestinians from their homes is not a new practice for the state of Israel. 

Muna El-Kurd, a Palestinian journalist, posted a video to her Instagram on May 2 in response to the Sheikh Jarrah evictions. The translation of the caption reads, “What you see in the video is the settler who stole my house and lived in it since 2009.” 

In the video, El-Kurd can be heard pleading with the man: “Jacob, you know this is not your house.” The man replies to her in a fully American accent, “Yes, but if I go, you don’t go back, so what’s the problem? […] If I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.” 

The home evictions in Sheikh Jarrah come after a long year of unrest between Palestinians and Israeli settlers. According to an Al Jazeera article, there were over 770 recorded cases of settler violence against Palestinians in the year 2020.  This violence was in the midst of Israel’s highly controversial vaccination campaign, which purposefully excluded many Palestinains, even if they were Israeli citizens. 

What is happening in Palestine is violent settler colonialism. Palestinians are being forced out of their homes, violently attacked by settlers, and are being completely excluded from receiving adequate medical care, despite Israel claiming jurisdiction over the occupied territories. 

Israel has continued to gather support from large international powers. Canada and the United States have strong relations with Israel. 

All victims of colonialism need to stand up and support the Palestinian cause. There are innocent people losing their homes, their means of living, and their lives because of the violent colonialism unravelling in Palestine. There needs to be more action to condemn Israel policies towards Palestinians. We have never been able to rely on the Canadian government to do the right thing. We must support Palestinians, and combat colonialism wherever and whenever it rears its head.