Palestinians are fighting battles through their phones
Despite their battles on the ground and in the virtual world, Palestinians are still able to go viral.
"You are stealing my house!" yelled the Palestinian woman facing the illegal Israeli settler in Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood, in occupied Al-Quds.
"If I don't steal it someone else is gonna steal it," the settler replied with no hesitation.
Comment, retweet, share, like, repost, and download. The outcome?
Palestine has gone viral.
Her: “You are stealing my house!”— Amr Nader Amr | عمرو نادر عمرو (@4amramr) May 16, 2021
Him: “ and If I don't steal it someone else is gonna steal it”
Thank you for making it clear, Jacob
everyone knows the truth now 🇵🇸#SaveSheikhJarrah #Gaza_Under_Attack pic.twitter.com/AvTHExjIZk
Starting from the inside
Raw video footage of Israeli occupation forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan in 2021 started to circulate all over social media platforms. The videos were showing Israeli soldiers storming through screaming crowds throwing grenades and shooting rubber bullets into them.
European states, US lawmakers, and prominent figures started to condemn such brutal acts on their social media platforms, and it didn't take months for this footage to become viral; it took seconds.
Israeli brutality has gone viral.
Salhiyya family's home
Mahmoud Salhiyya stood up against the Israeli forces and threatened to set himself on fire as a last resort to prevent them from taking his and his sister’s home. Palestinian activists held their phones and live-streamed, took photos, and published with the click of a button.
At dawn, Israeli occupation forces bulldozed Salhiyya family home, but Palestinians were wide awake to live stream, hashtag, take pictures, and tweet.
BREAKING: Israel has begun forcibly removing Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem. The israeli occupation forces arrested Mahmoud Salehia and his family inside their home, then demolished the house. pic.twitter.com/Q6yGdKWDgJ— Richard Medhurst (@richimedhurst) January 19, 2022
On Monday EU diplomats stood outside this house urging respect for international law. Last night Israeli authorities demolished it, evicting a Palestinian family of 12 - incl 5 children - into the freezing cold. What the world saw happen in #SheikhJarrah last May hasn’t stopped. https://t.co/UTeP1YXMxf— Conor O'Neill (@conoraon) January 19, 2022
Israeli occupation authorities have been trying everything to uproot Sheikh Jarrah residents, from sending aleatory and unlawful court-mandated eviction orders to allowing settlers to attack Palestinians living in the neighborhood.
But guess what? Israeli crimes have gone viral, too.
The Israeli occupation forces arrested a 12-year-old Palestinian girl named Julian Al-Atrash. While she was being dragged and handcuffed, she didn't hesitate to smile.
That smile made it through social media platforms. Pro-Palestine activists started to draw, illustrate, and post the moment that girl smiled.
"Are you afraid?" the 12-year-old Palestinian girl was asked after being arrested by Israeli occupation forces.— REMAN S 🇵🇸𓂆 (@RmanEng98) January 14, 2022
"No!," she replied, with a big smile on her face. #Save_Naqab pic.twitter.com/h7zr3Q1PMW
Occupation forces started to storm Al-Naqab villages to bulldoze the area as a part of a plan led by the "Jewish National Fund" to confiscate Palestinian lands.
There are more than 30 villages in Al-Naqab dubbed as "unrecognized" villages under the Israeli occupation government, so there are no means of transportation, no roads, and no schools in the area.
Despite all of this, during the Israeli storming, Al-Naqab was being recognized more than ever online, with people retweeting and sharing "#SaveNaqab".
The greenwashing of Israeli crimes has gone viral.
Palestine is going viral from the outside
Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their lands have been facing the Israeli occupation every single day. They have been fighting battles on their own.
Shahd Abusalma's case
Shahd is a Palestinian refugee and a lecturer living in the UK. Sheffield Hallam University suspended her teaching duties due to anti-Semitic claims and decided to investigate her. Shahd has done nothing but retweeting, liking, and commenting on videos showing the Israeli occupation's brutality.
Solidarity campaigns started to go viral, websites started to write about Shahd's case, and "#InSupportOfShahd" started to circulate all over Twitter.
How did all this start? As soon as Shahd announced that she was subject to these campaigns on her Twitter account, retweets skyrocketed.
The university restrained Shahd's teaching duties without dropping the investigations regarding her case. Shahd didn't stop there because guess what?
Shahd's case has gone viral.
Shahd has walked her followers through her journey regarding any new update on her case.
A few days later, the university dropped all of the investigations that were made against Shahd and offered her a more secure contract that will afford her employee status.
Rasmy Hassouna's case
A Palestinian-American citizen who was about to renew his contract with the government before he noticed a legal clause that forbids him and his company A&R Engineering and Testing, Inc, from ever protesting "Israel" and its products.
Rasmy filed a lawsuit against the Texas state law, which bans government contractors from boycotting the Israeli occupation and won the case.
US District Court Judge blocked Texas from imposing its anti-boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) law against Hassouna because boycotting, any kind of boycott, was protected by the First Amendment, which is the right to participate in economic boycotts as a form of protest.
"It’s great, isn't it?" Rasmy said to Al Mayadeen English as he received the news.
Determined as ever, Rasmy said "Stand up for your rights, as expatriates, I believe we can do a lot for Palestine."
His victory made it through websites and social media platforms.
And guess what? Rasmy's victory has gone viral.
Don't let tech giants fool you: Al-Kurd siblings as an example
23-year-old Palestinians had nothing to defend their land with except their phones. They had no idea that anyone would care enough to watch illegal Israeli settlers storming their house or brutally assaulting young Palestinians. They didn’t know that anyone would care enough about a neighborhood in occupied Palestine.
With every video or live-streaming posted, their followers were piling up by day, people started to refer to their accounts for news or updates regarding Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood.
And now? Muna Al Kurd has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram while her brother, Mohammad al Kurd, has +7K followers on the platform.
"Instagram is preventing me from going live!"
Mona Al-Kurd was one of many live-streaming the ongoing events in Sheikh Jarrah when her streaming cut off suddenly. Al Kurd explained that her live-streaming feature was blocked while she was documenting the moment Al Salhiyya's family home was demolished.
This has exposed Instagram’s complicity and censorship of Palestinian content.
Censorship of Palestinian content is not new to some of the giant tech companies. Toward the end of last year, activists and journalists have started a campaign against Meta's policies, which have been targeting Palestinian content and the Palestinian narrative.
It is important not to forget Human Rights Watch's report that highlighted Facebook's policy, and how the tech giant has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including content regarding human rights abuses committed by "Israel" against Palestinians during its 11 days aggression on Gaza in 2021.
This campaign, which is calling for protesting against the social media giant's policies online, has accused #Meta of ignoring the Palestinian narrative on the Israeli occupation's crimes in occupied al-Quds.— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) November 24, 2021
Follow the thread for numbers👇#FbCensorsJerusalem#فيسبوك_يحجب_القدس pic.twitter.com/Lc8VYLxiKo
The censorship battle that the Palestinians are facing is still ongoing, ranging from the filter that some media outlets use to blocking social media accounts and removing some of them.
But despite what tech-giants think or do with the pro-Palestine content, #GazaUnderAttack was trending, #SaveSheikhJarrah was trending, and #SaveNaqab was trending.
Palestine is not a 'harmful content'
Since the beginning of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, pro-Palestine activists on social media platforms started to compare how tech giants, specifically Meta, are handling the Ukraine crisis.
Meta, who was censoring every pro-Palestinian post, story, or even a live stream, has allowed hate speech and violence against Putin and Russians. While Meta is encouraging the spread of fake news on its platforms, it did not encourage the Palestinians to spread the truth all over its platform.
Why, when it comes to the Israeli most hideous massacres against Palestinians, it is a "controversial cause", while when it comes to a topic such as Russia, Meta tries to forcefully impose the "truthful news" on its users?
In fact, Palestinians have been asking for decades for the same media attention the Ukrainian crisis has right now, but it was met with complete silence.
Despite the battles that the Palestinians are going through, whether on the ground or in the virtual world, they were and are still able to write, sing, take pictures, and post, and just like that, Palestine is viral all over again.