Recently I read many articles and saw videos about a nurse named, Razan Al Najjar. Razan was trying to save lives while she was shot dead by an Israeli soldier. She was shot while with her hands were in the air and she was wearing clothes that had many visible medical badges. Targeting nurses and medics is a war crime and a extreme violation under the Fourth Geneva Convention. I know that the sniper behind that scope could see the badges she was wearing because that is what scopes are for. Snipers are also trained to see the smallest of details. She was shot in the chest and killed by an Israeli sniper.
She was not protesting. She was not causing harm to anyone. She was only trying to save people’s lives. She was not a terrorist, terrorists want people to die. Terrorists kill innocents. Razan was interviewed last month by the New York Times about why she was a nurse helping to care for the wounded in Gaza. She told them, “Our job is to save lives and evacuate people. We don’t want to get paid.”
When will the Israeli Defense Force be tried for their war crimes? When will enough be enough? If it is not your life or your family’s life, does it not matter?
Talking about this reminded me of what my native ancestors and the other indigenous people of America went through.
I understand the plight of the Jewish people having nowhere to go. Not feeling like they belong anywhere, especially with what happened before and during World War II. However, not having a home does not give you the right to take another’s home and kill the people who are protesting against what you did. That is another crime that the Israeli government has perpetrated, placing illegal settlements throughout Palestine.
To better help you understand, I am going to offer some comparisons of what has happened to Native Americans in the United States and what has happened to Palestinians and their territories. Before the English and white men came to America, it was full of indigenous people born of the land who were there for thousands of years. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the indigenous people on the East coast of America were excited to meet the new European settlers. The natives thought the white people were strange but were intrigued by them.
Like the Jewish people were in search of religious freedom, the first english settlers were seeking the same thing and fleeing from religious persecution. When European settlers came to America, they were just a few in comparison to the indigenous people of the land. The European settlers were welcomed with opened arms. It was not only the Palestinians that were welcoming, it was not only just their land. In the 1880’s, Palestine was equally shared with the Palestinian Jews, known as the Yishuv, which were only three percent of the total population. The Yishuv did not aspire for a Jewish state.
The Europeans came with novelties that the Natives have never seen. The Natives were very accommodating and hospitable. Like in America, before European settlers demanded what was not theirs, indigenous and settlers peacefully coexisted.
In the late 19th century, the Zionist movement had changed everything. This political ideology grew out of Eastern Europe, claiming that Jews deserved a “Jewish state”.
In early America, after more and more settlers came to the U.S., they started to lack respect for the land or the indigenous. They no longer wanted to share the land with their Native brothers and sisters who were so welcoming and giving to them. I do not feel that the Zionist movement ever cared for the Palestinians unless caring for them would help further their cause. I guess one could say the same about European settlers but unfortunately we are normally taught about one side of history, not the other side. We do not always know what is going on in someone’s head. But we can see the obvious, the Europeans in Early America were greedy and wanted to take the land in America for themselves, like the Zionists were doing and are still doing in Palestine.
The Native population in America continued to shrink, as the white population continued to grow. The Palestinian population continued to shrink in the region and still is. They are having and have had their lands illegally stolen, are being killed, or being forced to immigrate elsewhere. One could partly compare this to the indigenous people in America still today, because they are still having their land stolen or illegally used for private corporate usage. A recent example is the Dakota Pipeline fight.
What many people know is that the Natives eventually started to dislike the white man. Of course you would not like someone if they stole your land as well. So, how does the world expect Palestinians to feel? How would you feel if someone stole your house or your land and forced you to leave the place you love?
Written By: Kaya Gravitter