The world needs to stop dehumanizing Arabs and condemn the Palestinian 
The world needs to stop dehumanizing Arabs and condemn the Palestinian Genocide.
Erinn Varga

Wake up, world

The world needs to shed light on the overlooked dehumanization of Palestinians and the Israeli-imposed genocide that has plagued them since Oct. 7, 2023.

It was 4:30 a.m. in Wadi Qadum, East Jerusalem, and Nawaf Salaymeh was startled by aggressive knocks on his door. When opened, Nawaf saw 10 Israeli soldiers gathered around his house, ready to arrest his 12-year-old son, Ayham Salaymeh. Armed to the brim with machinery, the soldiers pushed their way into the family’s house, and the innocent boy helplessly followed their directions. Ayham and five other Palestinian children were held hostage at the police station, where they all endured repeated verbal and physical abuse. 

Mohammed Abu Moussa, a Palestinian doctor, was working in the emergency room when he learned that an Israeli raid destroyed his family home. Dazed, Mohammed received news that his family was in the hospital, covered in blood and debris. His six-year-old son, Yousef, was still missing. Mohammed was then brought to the morgue, where he found young Yousef among the martyrs. 

Mohammed al Tamimi, a two-year-old Palestinian boy, and Haitham al Tamini, his father, were traveling in their car when Israeli soldiers opened fire on their vehicle. Mohamed was shot in the head, while Haitham sustained life-threatening injuries. The two-year-old later died from his wounds in the hospital. 

Israeli soldiers raided Nawaf Salaymeh’s home and arrested his 12-year-old son, Ayham, who endured abuse at a police station. Palestinian doctor Mohammed Abu Moussa lost his son, Yousef, in an Israeli raid that destroyed their home. Mohammed al Tamimi, a two-year-old, died after being shot by soldiers along with his father, Haitham.

A sign held by a protester during the ICCSD Walkout for Palestine on Nov. 9. (Submitted Photo)

These stories are typical occurrences in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, where Israeli soldiers hold regular raids, arrest children as young as four years old and kill whoever crosses their paths. However, these are the stories that don’t make it to the news; these are the stories that are suppressed for fear of being “anti-Semitic.” Western media outlets, such as BBC News, censor the atrocities committed by Israel by calling their war crimes “acts of self-defense”—guns versus rocks are a fair fight in their eyes. Moreover, when Russia attacked Ukraine, the media called Russia’s invasion what it was: an invasion. The Western media’s hypocritical reaction proves their continuous dehumanization of Palestinians to appease the Israeli government’s narrative. 

We must expel the Arabs and take their places.

— David Ben Gurion

Since the creation of the Israeli state in 1948, their government has consistently broken international law by encroaching on Palestinian land. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Israeli settlements violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, specifically Article 49, which bans the unjust displacement of individuals from private property. However, 700,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced by Israel in the same year as its creation, indicating that Israel’s very existence is built on breaking international law.

In response to the Israeli government’s attacks, Gaza has one line of defense: Hamas. Nonetheless, the organization has been designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department since 1997. However, the Israeli government, which has killed over 25,000 Palestinians as of Jan. 21 in the name of “turning Gaza into an island of ruins,” as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, and claims that “there are no innocent civilians in Gaza,” as stated by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, has been widely celebrated by the U.S. as the only democratic and innocent power within the Middle East. 

Marchers waive the flag of Palestine during the ICCSD walkout Nov. 9. (Submitted Photo)

Despite Israel’s false claims and its constituents ignoring clear evidence, the Palestinian crisis is reaching stage 9 of 10 on the stages of genocide, meaning that without humanitarian aid, Palestine will soon cease to exist. This is precisely what Israel wants, and it is evident by their actions of blocking humanitarian assistance and their statements, such as Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir’s quote, “The only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid.”

There are no innocent civilians in Gaza

— Israeli President Isaac Herzog

While Israel justifies their war crimes by stating that they are focused on retrieving the hostages and crushing Hamas, the current civilian death count speaks otherwise. Through their military action and quotes during interviews, Israel has illustrated that its only purpose is to illegally expand a land that wasn’t theirs to begin with and expel the natives, which, in this case, are the Palestinians. As David Ben Gurion, a war criminal and one of the primary founders of the Israeli state, said, “We must expel the Arabs and take their places.”

Moreover, the Israeli government has been taking Palestinian hostages since before the Oct. 7 attack, with the number doubling to 10,000 since the genocide started. With such a bloody representation of democracy, the U.S. and its allies have sullied the definition of justice by allowing dehumanizing rhetorics to shield their eyes from the Palestinian genocide to maintain an influence through Israel within the Middle East

The only thing that needs to enter Gaza are hundreds of tons of explosives from the Air Force, not an ounce of humanitarian aid.

— Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir

“When you deny people freedom and dignity… they become very angry, and they do to others what they do to them,” Munir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, said. Over 75 years of oppression, dehumanization and living in an “open-air prison” breaks a society and soon boils over into an act of rebellion against the colonizers. However, Palestine’s call for freedom was answered through Israel’s bombing of refugee camps, hospitals, and civilian areas. 

The Israeli-Palestinian war is not a war. It is a genocide—one side has access to billions of military funding and is illegally using white phosphorus, and the other is barely hanging on with only freedom fighters as their line of defense, 60% of its infrastructure destroyed and over 85% of the population displaced

When you deny people freedom and dignity… they become very angry, and they do to others what they do to them

— Munir Akram

So, I ask you, what number is big enough? How many more Palestinians need to die for a ceasefire? How many more need to be displaced for the recognition of their humanity? History is repeating itself, and world leaders are degrading the situation by ignoring Palestinian deaths, refusing to recognize that a genocide is occurring and enabling the aggressor by not calling for an immediate ceasefire. While some world leaders might be incompetent, you can make a difference. Write to your district and state representatives, voice your concerns regarding the Palestinian genocide on social media platforms and, most importantly, boycott any and all corporations that are actively funding the genocide. The world needs to wake up, and you can start now.

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About the Contributors
Reem Kirja
Reem Kirja, Print Profiles Editor
(She/her) Reem Kirja is the West Side Story print Profiles Editor and this is her second year on staff. She enjoys exploring different world issues and having intellectual discussions to learn about other perspectives. She also loves spending time with her family, embarking on different arts and crafts projects, reading and experiencing life as a whole.
Erinn Varga
Erinn Varga, Print Design and Opinion Editor
(she/her) Erinn is a senior at West and this is her second year on staff. She is the design editor and opinion editor for the print publication. If she's not currently running, you can find her drawing, listening to music or consuming media.
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