No Longer Just Collateral: The Global Call to Recognize Palestinian Lives

In a world where news cycles run at lightning speed and one narrative often overshadows another, it’s crucial we amplify the voices of those who have lived through the injustices. Majed Abusalama, a Palestinian activist, and writer now based in Berlin, reminds us of the urgency of this global call with a powerful statement: “I lived all my life as collateral damage.”

With tensions escalating, Israel’s actions have been further scrutinized and questioned. The viral video of Ezra Yachin, 95, a reservist for the Israeli army, is a chilling representation of a deep-rooted animosity. He urges soldiers to “Erase them, their families, mothers, and children,” addressing Palestinians. Yachin’s sentiments resonate with the recent move by the Israeli National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to arm civilians near the Gaza Strip, revealing a perilous turn of events.

As bombs rain on Gaza, the narrative becomes more heartbreaking. With an evacuation order for over a million Palestinians, the U.N. stepped in, condemning the move and reminding the global community about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences this would bring. The declaration by Paula Gaviria Betancur, special rapporteur on the human rights of displaced persons, sums it up: “Forcible population transfers constitute a crime against humanity.”

Adding salt to the wound, the blockade on basic necessities like food, water, and electricity paints a dire picture. The water crisis in the Gaza Strip emphasizes the urgency, with the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, pushing for immediate relief, stating, “Water is now the last remaining lifeline.”

Tragedies abound, from the relentless bombings that have caused thousands of casualties to the haunting words of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who dehumanizes the entire Gaza population. This narrative, where collective punishment becomes an acceptable rhetoric, presents a dangerous precedent.

Majed Abusalama’s harrowing recount of growing up amidst the turmoil in Gaza is a testament to the resilience of the Palestinian spirit. Facing bombings, fearing kidnappings, witnessing friends getting shot – this was Abusalama’s everyday reality. His poignant remark, “We were always targets and collateral damage,” resonates deeply with every Palestinian’s plight.

Abusalama’s call to arms isn’t about retaliation. It’s a plea to recognize Palestinian humanity and align global efforts towards ensuring their basic rights. Drawing parallels with the Vietnam War, he urges mass action and voices his demand for full equality, self-determination, and the return of lands. It’s not about one side versus another. It’s about justice, equality, and acknowledging humanity.

In a world fragmented by political rhetoric and biased narratives, the story of the Palestinians reminds us of the power of solidarity. As Abusalama poignantly puts it, “Let’s hope that equality, justice, dignity, and freedom can actually be courted by everyone.” The time for change is now. And as advocates of truth and justice, we must rally behind the call for recognition, equality, and dignity for all Palestinians.