Living On Mount of Zion

Human Rights Fellow
Founder/Executive Director

The Middle East has always been a scene of violence, war and bloodshed it has forever been ingrained in our psyche that the place where it all began has now become the place where it will end. Images of bombs, bodies ripped apart, children in hospital beds and homes completely destroyed. That’s one side of it. Across the way there are beautiful deep blue waters and sandy beaches, restaurants, hotels, shopping, etc. beaconing one to come visit and have the time of your life. Poolside parties with revelers dancing, laughing and enjoying the night sky. That is their world all of the time. This is where they are safe from people who are not like them, people who they swear are terrorists and hate them. The people they are referring to are Palestinians. Once again we are back to the same age old conflict whose fire has not burned out but has only ignited further. This time however, the flames of politics and zionism are engulfing other nations into believing the lies that basically almost of the the Middle East should be Israel.

In places like Bethlehem and Gaza, the wall that separates Israel from Palestine is covered with graffiti from artists to revolutionaries both decrying the political and human rights crisis that have hurt or killed many Palestinians over the years. The Israeli occupation has made life unbearable for many families especially sick children and their relatives to leave their homes so that they can receive medical attention. In fact, it has been so suffocating that you, as a non-Israeli or Palestinian, can be banned from that part of the Middle East for years before the the Israeli government will let you in. That is the message that Netanyahu’s zionist party is sending the world, if you are a humanitarian worker and are helping Palestinians-not Israelis, you don’t belong there. That in itself is a grave human rights violation. Palestinian women know the struggle all too well.

Leila Khaled was one of Palestine’s most controversial revolutionaries. Her role in the hijacking of TWA flight 840 in 1969 gave her rise to public attention and put her on the map as an icon of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. She later took part in another hijacking with a Nicaraguan-American named Patrick Arguello in an attempt to hijack a flight from Amsterdam to New York in 1970. Patrick was killed and Leila was arrested then released in exchange for hostages. At 75 years old, her legacy lives on in Palestine. Her image is on everything from murals to t-shirts, a documentary was made about the famous hijacking and she shares the same stage as the late Che Guevara. One would wonder what she thinks about the current situation of her people. Leila is a hero and will always be in the eyes of a people who are victimized on a daily basis. Women like her fill the need to demand justice no matter what it looks like.

Palestinian women have been in the struggle for many years, from 1882-1967 with the zionist settlements being the first stage to the creation of Israel in 1948 as the second stage until finally the end of the war in June 1967 which led to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza which continues to oppress many Palestinians to this day. Women are caught in the middle of many peaceful protests only to be beaten and killed by Israeli soldiers. We may never know if there will ever be a solution or if conflict will end but one thing is for sure, there will never be peace living on Mount Zion.

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