Yesterday (May 14), as Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and other United States envoys celebrated the opening of a controversial U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Israeli soldiers opened fire and tear-gassed thousands of Palestinian protesters along the (unofficial) border of the Gaza Strip. The protest was part of a six-week campaign that organizers named the Great March of Return. Soldiers injured about 2,400 Palestinians during the attack and killed 62, including an 8-month old, Laila Anwar Al-Ghandoor, and 11 teenagers. (For a list of the names and images of the people killed yesterday and today, visit Middle East Eye.)
The timing of the embassy opening was particularly provocative given that today is the 70th anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), which began on May 15, 1948. Israel declared statehood on May 14 of that year and Jewish immigrants began displacing thousands of Palestinians who had lived on the land According to the Haifa, Israel-based Adalah Legal Center, 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes and 500 of their villages were demolished during the Nakba.
As the situation evolves, here are a few resources to help you understand what’s really going on:
- Watch George Mason University law professor Noura Erakat break down why Palestinians aren’t just protesting the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on CBS News
- Follow the progressive, English-language Palestinian/Israeli magazine +972 on Twitter
- Re-read this James Baldwin quote about Israel/Palestine from “Open Letter to the Born Again,” a piece that ran in the September 29, 1979 edition of The Nation
- Learn about the under-discussed plight of the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel (PCIs) via this Adalah fact sheet; PCIs make up 20 percent of the country
- Get some (United States-framed) basics about the overall struggle from this Vox explainer