This piece is intended to be a collection of educational and practical resources that aims to unpack and contextualise the current situation in the Middle East in as much complexity as is possible. It is not intended to solve the issue in its entirety. Rather, the ultimate goal is that through engaging with these resources in a FAQ format, you may gain a better understanding of the ‘conflict’ and thus be in a position to adopt a stance and engage further. If you are anything like the people who put this together, consideration of the sources below combined with the horrific evidence of human rights violations will lead you to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. Objectivity is vital, but neutrality is deplorable.
If you have any suggestions or resources you feel should be added to this, please contact email@example.com and we would be more than happy to consider them.
*Note - wherever it appears, the word ‘conflict’ has been put in inverted commas. This is because while that is the word most commonly used in the media, many people contest the characterisation of the events as a conflict. More about why that is can be found in the subheading dealing with language.
Overview - 1) What is the historical background to the current events?
A balanced and nuanced account of the roots of the ‘conflict.’ (video)
Important to take away: we often rush to characterise the ‘conflict’ as being intractable and impossible to solve due to its long history. We also often rush to characterise the ‘religious’ rather than humanitarian. We must not allow either of these misconceptions to paralyse us in the current moment and stop us from doing things that can be done to put an end to any suffering or hardship.
Overview - 2) Why is the situation now escalating?
CNN - Tensions between Israel and Palestinians are sky-high. Here's what you need to know
(Note: this source is Qatari Government owned) (video)
Al Jazeera overview of current violence: A third Palestinian uprising? | Middle East
In what ways is our response as South Africans a unique one?
An extract from a 1990 interview in which Nelson Mandela speaks on his support for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) - Rare Video: Nelson Mandela Speaking on Palestine [Extracts]
“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”
- Nelson Mandela
A side by side evaluation of the extent to which actions undertaken by the Israeli government can be compared to Apartheid: Comparing South African Apartheid to Israeli Apartheid.
A broader set of sources which unpacks the parallels with Apartheid http://itisapartheid.org/get_informed.html
What language should we be using?
Highlighting terms that have been flagged as distorting the narrative coming out of Jerusalem Israel-Palestine: A glossary of problematic media language
What is the role of the United States?
(This source can be considered particularly reliable)
Council on Foreign Relations US Policy analysis - What Is U.S. Policy on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
(Note: this source is US Government-funded Semi-Biased pro-Israel)
US Congressional research document - an overview of US policy https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/IF10644.pdf
Council on Foreign Relations Hamas Overview - Hamas
Hijacker (2006) : Leila Khaled: Hijacker (English Subtitles)
Answer to that final question:
LMADO: Lina Makboul who directed the film “Leila Khaled; Hijacker” implies in her last question in the film that your actions did more harm than anything to the Palestinian people. The film stops right after the question. What did you answer?
LK: She told me she did this for cinematic purposes. But I did not like that. The fact that people could not hear my answer. My answer was no, of course! My actions were my contribution to my people, to the struggle. We did not hurt anyone. We declared to the whole world that we are a people, living through an injustice, and that the world had to help us to reach our goal. I sat with Lina for hours and hours you know, telling her the whole story. She told me afterwards that Swedish TV only wanted the question.
Slacktivism - Does your social media activism/repost mean anything?
Decide for yourself - Hashtag Activism : Genuine or Counterproductive?
Now that you’ve considered everything, what can you do to help alleviate suffering?
A helpful Instagram series entitled ‘How to Support Palestinians’ which includes a live fundraising link (amongst other things) - https://www.instagram.com/p/COvuRKfDhds/?igshid=tvmvns7zaezc
(Compiled by Sazi Bongwe, Adam Gear, Eli Osei)