The people of Ukraine are suffering. My thoughts and prayers are with the nation and its people. I am against war or invasion anywhere in the world, but I stand for people’s resistance. This is what we can see in Ukraine. It might be a military operation for Russia but for the millions of refugees and the millions living under a siege, it is a different story.
My thoughts and prayers are also with the people of Palestine and beyond, under decades of invasion and oppression. These are not my claims, do have a look at the reports from the World’s largest Human Rights organisations- Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In this article, I am going to compare and contrast the struggle in Gaza and West Bank with the struggle in Kiev, Lviv and Mariupol. Let’s begin with the similarities:
A Long History
Both regions have had a long and intertwined history between the occupied and the occupiers. For Russia, Kyiv is its homeland, the birthplace of the Russian empire. Ever since the post-Cold war separation, the country longs for the ultimate reunification with its birthplace, with or without its occupants. For Israel, Jerusalem is its birthplace and the country longs for making Jerusalem its capital city once again. There is a lot of romanticism on the ends of both the occupiers to reclaim the long-lost glory.
Prior to the invasion of Ukraine, the main argument for the Russians was the Eastward expansion of NATO. This continues to be a major sticking point as Russia cannot accept a Ukraine that is under NATO protection. Israel places a similar attack towards the Iranian expansionism in its East.
Human Rights Violations
The World’s top Human Rights Organisations have accused the occupiers of gross violations of the fundamental human rights. While they have accused Russia of the crime of aggression and invasion on Ukrainian soil, there is a far worse accusation of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. Both are currently ongoing while we know a lot more about Ukraine on the Western media, which brings me to the differences between the two conflicts.
Western Media is free to discuss the Russian occupation of Ukraine without any consequence even if they cross a line to being a Russophobe. Any single sided coverage of the Palestinian cause is considered anti-Semitic by the Israeli government, which has led to the fall of several political and media figures over time. Ukraine is being invaded by Russia while the invasion of Palestine is considered a conflict or a war.
The world has backed Ukraine through imposing devastating sanctions in Russia, divesting from Russian energy and boycotting Russian products. Palestine has long had a similar Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement which is considered anti-Semitic and any country that tries to address this issue faces grave consequences in its relationship with the global superpower, the United States. I’m looking forward to see how Chile’s relationship will continue since it recently boycotted Israeli goods made in occupied territories.
Right to Resistance
Facebook changed its policies for the first time to allow for civilian calls to take up arms against the Russian army and posts that call for the deaths of Russian and Belarussian presidents. According to Meta’s statement, they have temporarily allowed chants such as “death to the Russian invaders” while even chants from Palestine such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is considered anti-Semitic by many. Meanwhile Facebook has been accused of actively suppressing content posted by Palestinians and their supporters, according to the Human Rights Watch.
An Uncertain Future
The uncertainties surrounding the future of both occupations are similar in how things could potentially escalate. War in the Middle East is a never-ending story, and now it seems like this applies in Europe as well. Both conflicts have a lot of intricacies in and around them that I could not cover in such a short article. Please let me know if you find any discrepancies in what I have written, I have tried my best to make fact-based claims here. Can you think of any other similarities or contrasts between the two conflicts?