People protesting in the street

Photo by Sara Khattab

Hundreds of protestors and community activists gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse on October 21 and marched across the Short North to demand an end to the genocide of Palestinians and the illegal Zionist occupation of Palestine. There have been many protests in Columbus since then to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.  

The protest was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, a student organization at OSU that advocates for the rights of Palestinians. Community organizers gave powerful speeches in support of the Palestinian people.  

Jineen Musa, a local activist with Palestinian roots gave a speech that day, saying “I have yet to see the Palestine we yearn for. I have spent my whole life screaming ‘Free Palestine,’ just like the generations before me. How many more generations will have to scream? is our generation that must free them from the inhumane occupation. We must be the generation to bring about a Free Palestine.”  

After the speeches concluded, protestors began to march towards the Short North. There was a large police presence. Police set up a bike barricade on North High Street to stop activists from going further north, a clear violation of First Amendment rights. However, protestors ignored the barricade and kept marching north, continuing to chant for the Liberation of the Palestinian people. The march lasted around three hours, with hundreds of protestors shutting down the Short North.  

This protest follows many others like it that have been organized across the world since “Israel” declared war on Gaza on October 7. Millions of people around the world are demanding that Israel stop its inhumane bombardment and blockade on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Israel’s attacks on Gaza have murdered over 8,500 Palestinians since October 7. The Gaza Health Ministry reports that 70 percent of the civilian casualties are children, women, and elderly. The Israeli Occupation Forces have been intentionally bombing hospitals, places of worship, schools, and residential buildings in Gaza. The Israeli bombings have killed at least 3,400 children in Gaza in just three weeks.  

To put into perspective, 540 Ukrainian children have been killed by Russia over 18 months of conflict. Western imperialist media rushed to condemn Russia and fully support Ukraine. Where is their support for Palestine? Why has Western media constantly lied about Palestine and unapologetically supported Israel’s genocide of innocent Palestinian civilians?  

The media is controlled by capitalists, and they have an interest in the continuance of this occupation as it allows them to sell more weapons and military technology to Israel. The capitalist media has constantly labeled the situation in Palestine as a “war’ in which Israel has a right to “self-defense.”  

Make no mistake, this is not a war or a “conflict,” in my opinion what we are witnessing is a genocide of the Palestinian people. Israel is not acting in self-defense. They are a hostile colonial power that has occupied Palestine for over 75 years. We must not remain silent; our silence makes us complicit in Israel's war crimes and genocide against the Palestinian people. We must unapologetically support the liberation of the Palestinian people by any means necessary. We must learn the history of Palestine because this genocide didn’t start three weeks ago, these atrocities have been going on for over a century.  

History of the conflict 

In the late 19th century, Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Empire. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Arabs lived peacefully in Palestine without any conflict. In 1897, an Austrian political activist by the name of Theodor Herzl established a political movement called Zionism. This is an idea that calls for the establishment of a Jewish theocratic state in Palestine. This movement labeled Palestine as "A land without a people for a people without a land." This was simply not true because Palestine did have a people (Palestinian Arabs) and they had a vibrant culture with cities like Jerusalem, Yafa, and Haifa being crucial trade cities in the Ottoman Empire.  

The port cities of Gaza and Yafa helped Palestine become a trading hub between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Palestine exported soap, grain, cotton, and antiques. Palestine also had a robust railway system that connected Jerusalem with the rest of the Palestinian cities. In 1892, the main train station of Jerusalem was opened, and it became a major public event.  

A delegation of Ottoman officials came from Istanbul to attend the grand opening of the Jerusalem train station and they were accompanied by Palestinian officials and civilians. They waited over 3 hours to witness the first train to arrive at the station. This railroad system connected Palestinian cities and it also connected Palestine with Egypt and the Levant. Trade flourished, and it ushered in an age of prosperity in Palestine.  

When the Great War broke out in 1914, the Ottoman Empire found itself pitted against the British Empire. The British promised the Arabs that if they revolted against the Ottomans, they would gain independence from the Ottoman Turks and establish their Arab nation in the Arabian Peninsula (modern-day Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and the Arabian Gulf).  

At the same time, however, Britain was drawing up a deal with France in 1916 to divide the Middle East into British and French colonies after the end of the war. This agreement became known as the Sykes–Picot Agreement. Under this agreement, artificial lines were drawn in the Middle East, granting the British Empire control over Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq. The French took control of Syria and Lebanon. In 1917 the British government formally declared that it would support the creation of a Zionist state in Palestine. The declaration, issued by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour stated, “His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object.”  

The British had promised Palestine to two groups, the Arabs and the Zionists. That same year, the British took over control of Palestine from the Ottomans and established a Mandate over the country. At this time, less than 10 percent of the population of Palestine was Jewish, with 90 percent being Muslims and Christians. The British immediately began to bring Zionist Europeans into Palestine. An estimated 35,000 settlers arrived between 1919 and 1923. Zionists began taking land from Arab farmers and kicking them out of their lands. The British passed laws that made it impossible for Arabs to acquire more land. 82,000 more Zionists came between 1924-1929. Another 250,000 arrived between 1929 and 1939.  

These massive waves of Zionist immigration led to the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. Arabs were demanding an independent Arab state of Palestine and an end to Zionist immigration. This uprising was crushed by the British military and Zionist terrorist groups like the Irgun and Hagenah, killing 5,000 Palestinians. Zionist immigration continued to grow throughout the Second World War.  

In 1947, the population of Palestine consisted of 1,324,000 indigenous Palestinian Arabs and 630,000 European settlers who stole the land from the Arabs. Remember that in 1917, 90 percent of the population was Arab but due to the immigration of Zionists into Palestine during the British mandate, the Arab population became 53 percent. In 1947, the U.N. decided to split Palestine into two states after the end of the British Mandate, a Zionist state “Israel,” and an Arab state of Palestine. The Palestinians rejected this “resolution” because it gave Israel all the fertile lands and it was unfair to Palestinians, who rightfully own the entirety of Palestine.  

On May 15th, the British mandate ended, and the State of “Israel” was established. Israeli terrorist groups like the Irgun and Lehi began to massacre and displace indigenous Palestinians from their homes. Deir Yassin was a Palestinian village that made a truce with the Zionists. However, that did not stop the Zionist terrorists from infiltrating that village like savages and massacring over 100 Palestinian civilians. The Israeli terrorists went on to massacre 15,000 indigenous Palestinians and displace 750,000 Palestinians from their lands. By 1949, Zionists controlled 75 percent of Palestine, 25 percent more land than the U.N. allocated for the State of Israel.  

Since the creation of Israel, more than 5 million Palestinians have been expelled from their homes, none of which are allowed to return, and hundreds of thousands have been killed. Israel is an apartheid state that places restrictions on Arabs within its borders and makes life a living hell for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Gaza has been under a land, air, and sea blockade since 2007.  

Palestinians in Gaza don’t have access to clean water, as 97 percent of the water is not safe. 50 percent of the population of Gaza is under the age of 18. Palestinians in Gaza are not able to enter or leave Gaza, making Gaza the largest concentration camp in the world. Israel is not allowing any humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Egypt. The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) are constantly demolishing Palestinian neighborhoods to make room for illegal Zionist settlements in the West Bank. Israel is currently holding 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners, one of them being only three years old. The IOF arrests Palestinians for protesting or for no reasons at all. 


Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinian people, and we cannot turn a blind eye to it. In my opinion, we must unapologetically support the liberation of Palestine, by any means necessary. We cannot tell a group that has been oppressed for over a century how to resist. We cannot “condemn both sides” because there is only one side that is fighting a righteous cause and it’s the Palestinians. On one side you have a people who are indigenous to the lands of Palestine (the Palestinian Arabs) and the other side is a brutal, colonial, apartheid entity that consists of European settlers that have no ties to the land of Palestine.  

We must fight for the decolonization and liberation of Palestine. A two-state “solution” would never work, as Israel has constantly abused the two-state system to seize more and more Palestinian land. What we need is a singular, secular, Palestinian state from the Jordan River to The Mediterranean Sea. Palestinian refugees must also be allowed to return to their homes, and all European settlers must be expelled from Palestine. This is the only fair solution, as Zionists have no connection to the land of Palestine at all. Palestine has been and always will be for Arabs only. We must fight to destroy colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism to ensure the liberation of all the peoples of the world.