London March for Palestine. Photo by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.
Fountain Valley High School

The story behind #istandwithpalestine

A ceasefire order between Israel and Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah went into effect the afternoon of May 20, after Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas officials had agreed to fight through the Egyptian proposal.

So when did the conflict between Israel and Palestine begin?

The conflict began in 1948 when Israel went to war with neighboring Arab countries of Jordan, Syria and Egypt since its independence. As a result, thousands of Palestinians were expelled from their homes in about 530 Palestinian villages and began taking refuge in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This conflict became known as the Al-Nakba, also referred to as the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or the Palestinian Exodus.

The expulsion of 750,000 thousand Palestinians led to the creation of the State of Israel as the homeland of the Palestinians was then established to be a Jewish majority state.

In June 1967, the Israeli forces fought against the Arab states in a war known as the Six-Day War, in which Israel conquered the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, the Golan Heights in Syria, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. As a result of their conquest, Israel had also conquered over one million Palestinians.

War reignited again between Dec. 8, 1987, to Sep 13, 1993, which came to be known as the first intifada and again from Sep. 28, 2000, to Feb 8, 2005, which came to be known as the second intifada.

The first intifada ended with the signing of the Oslo Accords by the government of Israel and the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization. In the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to recognize the PLO as the Palestinian people’s representative and back out from areas of the West Bank and Gaza enabling the Palestinian authority to take control over these areas.

The second intifada began with Hamas, a new organization of the Palestinians, who denied the power of the Oslo Accords and began to launch a series of suicide attacks against Israelis. Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister, had visited Islam’s third holiest site, Temple Mount at Jerusalem, where Palestinians began to riot and Israeli police opposed causing the Palestinians to take Hamas as their leader.

Hamas, which translates to Islamic Resistance Movement, has been identified as an Islamist, militant and nationalist group that has been launching attacks against Israel from residential areas since the 1980s in hopes of restoring the power Palestine once had. In the legislative election of 2006, Hamas won the majority of votes and took power in Gaza in 2007.

What reignited the war again in 2021?

The Israeli military had approximately 4,000 troops on their border defending Gaza, along with tanks and artillery to guard this land against Hamas.

Israel and Palestine have been facing another war once again as tensions rise as a result of an Israeli Supreme Court decision to evict the Palestinian famiilies in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem such as Sheikh Jarrah using a series of police raids. Although Israel has been in control of Jerusalem since the Six Day War, many of the Palestinian refugees who had been absorbed as part of the conquest had also settled there.

Every year, Israelis celebrate their conquest of East Jerusalem, referring to it as Jerusalem Day.

As Palestinians residing in Israel unite to protest and riot for their right to live in Jerusalem, a place they have been referring to as home for centuries, Israeli police also take action by attacking protesters using flash grenades, tear gas and plastic bullets.

“This is about justice, humanity, and equality. This is about Palestinians deserving the land that is their home and the peace to live on that land without fearing for their lives,” Fountain Valley High School senior Mariam Jiwaji said.

On May 10, Hamas attacked Israel by firing about 4,300 rockets, taking the lives of 12 people, the majority of which were civilians. In return, Israel launched their own rockets known as the Iron Dome in hopes of intercepting the rockets fired by the Palestinians taking the lives of 230 people in Gaza, of which a majority were civilians.

“The importance behind this conflict is that there are many counts of apartheid in the world, Israel being one of them. If people are not aware of this type of ethnic cleansing and genocidal issues, history will end up repeating itself many times like it usually does. And without people educating themselves, there will not be any change,” Fountain Valley sophomore Zaina Alayyan said.

How have Fountain Valley High School students been reacting?

“As for my thoughts on the current situation in Palestine, I think that is absolutely inhumane for Israeli forces to illegally occupy Palestinian land while killing multiple numbers of innocent inhabitants of that land in the process, and even more for the numerous individuals choosing to not speak out against it as it is our own tax money that is currently funding Israeli military efforts to continuously oppress Palestinians for the sake of preserving their apartheid state,” Jiwaji said.

FVHS students have been using forms of social media to educate people and help raise awareness to attend protests and raising money to help aid those in need.

“I encourage others to get involved. Talk to Palestinian Americans and hear their stories. Many of us come from families who dealt with occupation. My own parents have lived through Intifadas,” Alayyan said. “Go to protests. Donate to charities. We can’t stay silent. We must have our voices heard.”

There are many websites to help donate money for medical care and basic necessities such as food and water.

“Additional actions I plan on taking include creating a list of resources such as petitions and contact links that I’ve compiled from various organizations over the past month as well as sharing them on my social media accounts,” Jiwaji said.

For more ways to help visit: