By Yousef M. Aljamal – Gaza
The Gaza Strip has witnessed three major offensives carried out by Israel from 2008-2014, which claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and made tens of thousands homeless. The bloodiest and most destructive of which was the 2014 offensive, which, according to the UN Human Rights Council, claimed the lives of some 2,200 Palestinians, and left 11,000 injured, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children.
The recent escalation of violence in Aleppo with the deafening international silence reminded many Palestinians in Gaza of Israel’s bombing, touching their old wounds, and making them recall what they described as “the dark days of Israeli wars.”
A group of social media activists called for changing profile pictures into red, to symbolize the ongoing bloodshed in Aleppo. Dozens of young Palestinians called for a sit-in in front of the Gaza headquarters of UNSCO, where they held banners and posters that called for the end of bloodshed unfolding Syria.
“Palestinians in Gaza feel the pain of Syria the most, because we have been through a similar situation for so many years. We are here to tell the people of Aleppo that we feel their pain. We wish if we could do something to heal their wounds,” Zakaria, 42, from Alshatee refugee camp told the Palestine Chronicle.
Zakria’s thoughts were shared by Refaat Alareer, a lecturer at the Islamic University of Gaza who added, “Standing with Aleppo is the least we can do as Palestinians in Gaza.”
“We call upon the free people to step up their pressure so the massacres against Syrians stop forever. Gaza was left alone to fight Israeli massacres and now Syrians are exposed and unprotected to massacres committed by the regime and ISIS and other foreign interventions.”
— Palestine Social (@PalestineSocial) May 2, 2016
Palestinians in Gaza have repeatedly expressed anger because of the silence of the international community over Israel’s attacks on Gaza, which claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. Many Syrians across the world shared the same anger after the Syrian crisis has entered the fifth year in row without reaching a resolution to the conflict.
Sa’id Shoaib, a co-organizer of the sit-in said, “We wanted to send a message of solidarity from Gaza because we feel the pain of Syria, having experienced three Israeli wars.”
“We were part on international solidarity movement with Aleppo. We wanted to send a message to the UN and the Arab League to intervene. We used the red color to urge them to intervene immediately.
solidarity with Aleppo from besieged Gaza pic.twitter.com/l0u2Mc3MZG
— Leila Al-Shami (@LeilaShami) May 1, 2016
We have had three wars and all we got from the international community was expressing their worry.”
Gaza knew well, just like Aleppo, that expressing worry is not enough. A worried UN will not save Syrian lives as it failed to save Palestinian lives.
– Yousef M. Aljamal is Palestine Chronicle Correspondent in the Gaza Strip.