What: The 2021 Gaza War was the fourth war that the Israeli occupation has launched on Gaza since Hamas seized control in 2007. The Israeli forces launched the gravest war on Gaza with eleven days of intense bombings on the Gaza Strip. Civilians were killed and injured, tens of thousands displaced, homes and vital infrastructure destroyed and the supply of basic services severely disrupted.
Where: The Gaza Strip
When: 10-21 May, 2021.
Since 13 April, 2021, tension has prevailed across the occupied territories because of Israeli attacks and restrictions on Palestinians in East Jerusalem, in addition to the Israeli court's decision to evict 12 Palestinian families from their homes in favour of Israeli settlers. Palestinian families facing forcible eviction from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood rejected the Israeli Supreme Court's proposal to reach a deal with Israeli settlers regarding the ownership of their homes.
On 6 May, Palestinians were violently attacked by Israeli occupation forces and settlers during a protest against mass evictions in Sheikh Jarrah. After weeks of tension and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in East Jerusalem, Israeli aircraft struck hundreds of targets in Gaza on 11 May. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the Israeli army killed 260 Palestinians, including 129 civilians and 66 children. Furthermore, Israeli forces injured 1,948 Palestinians, including 610 children. Tens of thousands of homes were damaged, and more than 2,000 others were destroyed.
— سُهَادْ 𓂆 (@itsnotsuhad) May 16, 2021
The events in Sheikh Jarrah, and then in Gaza, were a turning point drawing the world's attention to the issue of Palestine and Jerusalem. The global response to the Israeli attacks on Sheikh Jarrah, Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Gaza Strip undoubtedly played a part in stopping the war on Gaza and the attacks on Sheikh Jarrah, as well as the retraction of the Israeli court to expel Sheikh Jarrah residents from their homes.
Solidarity with the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and the people of occupied Jerusalem was shown in many ways. Pro-Palestine solidarity marches were being held worldwide, with protesters demanding their respective governments impose sanctions and a military embargo to cut the supply of weapons to Israel. Protests were held in Canada, the US and European and Arab countries. Some demonstrators at protests were draped in Palestinian flags and set off green and red smoke flares. Others carried banners declaring "Stop bombing Gaza", "Free Palestine" and "Sanctions on Israel". They were all united under the message and objective: "Freedom for Palestine".
🇵🇸🇮🇪Rally for Solidarity with Palestine, Dublin 15th May 2021 🇮🇪🇵🇸
•#freepalestine #savesheikhjarrah #freegaza #irelandpalestinesolidaritycampaign #Gaza_Under_Attack #Gaza_Under_Attack #Gaza #GazaUnderAttackk #Palestine#فلسطين_تنتصر pic.twitter.com/QvEm0SrEzV
— Bailey Hayden (@TheBaileyHayden) May 15, 2021
A remarkable role for Latin America
Latin America has conveyed a strong spirit of support for Palestine, particularly Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Mosques were lit, flags were raised and people chanted in support on the streets. "Solidarity in action as well as words" has always been the ethos of Chile´s Club Deportivo Palestino. The football club, founded in Chile in 1920 by Palestinian immigrants, has expressed its solidarity by wearing the Palestinian keffiyeh before the game against Colo-Colo on 10 May. With footballers in Chile lending their solidarity, they provided a vivid example of the true strength of the collective Palestinian identity. Chilean solidarity was not limited to football; it extended across Chilean society.
Argentina has also expressed its deep solidarity with the situation in Palestine and the "disproportionate use of force" by Israeli security units in the face of protests over the possible evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, as well as with the Gaza Strip. Argentina called on the international community to contribute efforts for a ceasefire to be reached. On 27 May, 2021, it voted in favour of the United Nations (UN) resolution announced by the UN Human Rights Council – the opening of an investigation into possible human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories.
In May 2021, Brazil witnessed a wave of solidarity with the Palestinian people in Jerusalem and the Gaza strip. Protesters demonstrated at solidarity rallies in Sao Paulo, Manaus, Recife and other Brazilian cities, calling for ending the violations in Gaza and the West Bank. In addition, Brazilian Congress issued a statement on the Israeli aggression on Gaza and Jerusalem. It was signed by more than 70 Brazilian deputies expressing their condemnation of criminal acts committed by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and the occupied territories.
In May 2021, Gaza experienced the most terrible war ever; thousands were killed, wounded and displaced. Until this day, Gaza is still recovering from the impact of that war. At the time, many people stood in solidarity with Gaza. Now, my wish for the world is to stand once again against the continuous Israeli aggression on the West Bank and Jerusalem and Gaza's siege.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.