A team of Palestinian diplomats have launched a social media campaign under the hashtag #Occupationis to raise awareness on the realities of Israel’s ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory, ahead of the 50th anniversary of the occupation on Monday, which Palestinians refer to as “Naksa” day, meaning setback.
A statement released by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on Saturday said that the campaign was launched by the Palestinian Task Force on Public Diplomacy in commemoration of the anniversary of the 1967 Israeli invasion and occupation of Palestinian land — the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip — that began on June 5, when Israel also invaded and occupied the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.
According to the statement, the campaign aims to show “the human face of the Palestinian people and a series of narratives encapsulating the impact of the occupation on individual lives,” adding that the organizers also hope to “celebrate the Palestinian spirit of endurance and resilience.”
“We call on each and every person (regardless of nationality) who has experienced the occupation in any way to share his or her personal story by issuing a video, post, or picture on social media under the hashtags: #Occupationis,” the statement continued.
The organizers told Ma’an News that the campaign is aimed at humanizing the Israeli occupation through the sharing of individual stories to help others understand the Palestinian experience under occupation.
The social media campaign commenced with a 30-second video posted by PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi.
For Ashrawi, occupation is “deprivation and ethnic cleansing.”
She explained that Israeli authorities had revoked her daughters’ Jerusalem IDs and denied them their rights to reside in their “ancestral homeland.” Ashrawi asked: “What has the occupation done to you?”
Meanwhile, several NGOs released statements this week condemning Israel’s continued occupation of the Palestinian territory.
NGO Oxfam slammed the international community’s inaction during the past five decades for its “toothless” condemnations of Israeli violations of human rights and “Band-Aid humanitarian solutions,” for enabling the continuation of the occupation.
The Christian NGO Pax Christi also denounced the occupation, and quoted a statement by UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories Michael Lynk from earlier this month, which detailed the “systemic human rights violations that accompany this occupation — collective punishment, confiscation of property, excessive use of force and unlawful killings, lack of freedom of movement and steady settlement expansion, among others.”
Pax Christi went on to “strongly” recommend a ban on weapons sales to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and an end to any military cooperation with either party, as a means to apply international pressure to obtain a resolution — likely alluding in part to the unprecedented $38 billion American military aid package to Israel signed last September.
Oxfam Country Director Chris Eijkemans also released a statement, saying that “these fifty years have seen thousands of lives and opportunities lost. Families have been separated; people have been denied their most basic rights. We must not let another fifty years pass before a just and peaceful solution is found.”
While the international community does not recognize the legality of the occupation of East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank since 1967, many Palestinians consider that all historic Palestine has been occupied since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.