Dear international community,
Hello, my name is Salwa Taha, and I am pleading for your help. I am a Palestinian teenager, living in occupied East Jerusalem. I can’t help but feel helpless as my homeland, and my pride is taken away from me by force in front of my eyes. I have lived in occupied East Jerusalem all my life, and not a day goes by that my heart doesn’t break at the situation my people and I are living in.
Every day there is something that reminds me that my homeland is not mine anymore. Whether it’s the 712-kilometer apartheid wall, or the heavily armed soldiers, or the devastating fact of having to claim that I live in Israel when I apply to any international program or take any official test. This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that over 200 Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood are in danger of being kicked out of their homes by illegal Israeli settlers.
How? How? How? I would like to know how this is possible? How is this okay? How is this being made legal by the Israeli Supreme Court? And how, just how, is the international community not doing anything to stop this atrocity from happening.
It breaks my heart that my parents are too worried about my safety to let me go pray in the Al-Aqsa mosque or go to peaceful protests. Why would they be worried you may ask? Let me tell you why. They are worried because, at every peaceful protest in Jerusalem and nearly every night in Al Aqsa Mosque, the Israeli forces use violence to stop Palestinians from claiming their rights.
It also breaks my heart to see that Christians going to celebrate Easter can’t get to The Holy Sepulcher, because the Israeli soldiers make it nearly impossible for them to enter the city walls. It breaks my heart to see gas sprayed at people peacefully eating Iftar together. It breaks my heart to hear that children were killed. Children!!! Powerless, helpless children! Israel claims they use their military for defense. But what defense?! Tell me what defense? Do you call murdering children, defense?! You call not allowing people to go to their prayers, defense? You call taking the houses of more than 20 families, essentially leaving them homeless, defense? And more than that, it breaks my heart to see that the international community is doing nothing about this breach of human rights; this abuse of power, and unlawful annexation of land.
The United Nations was founded in 1945, after World War II, to prevent countries from abusing their power. What is the UN doing now, when Israel is abusing power? What is the UN doing now when Israel is violating human rights?
And so I call upon you today, to spread awareness to your colleagues, your professors, and your families. And I call upon you to stand up for what is right. If we all stand together, and pressure our leaders into doing the right thing, maybe, just maybe, we will be able to make a change. But if we don’t try we never will.
May 15th was the 73rd year since the Nakba, or the Palestinian Catastrophe, in which countless Palestinians were forced out of their homes, and many others massacred. I hope that many of you will go out to protest in support of Palestine and condemn the Israeli violation of human rights.