Palestinians have been living under illegal Israeli occupation for the past 73 years.
From breakfast in front of Al-Aqsa, parties in Haifa and endless travels around Palestine, users on social media painted a collective picture to depict life without Israeli occupation.
#غرد_كأنها_حرة this hashtag is Palestinians tweeting as if Palestine was free, a bit early to already be getting emotional but here I am
— Rawan𓂆☭ روان (@RiverToSea48) June 3, 2021
The hashtag #TweetLikeItsFree [#غرد_كانها_حره] was raised among the most trending in Qatar, with many joining Palestinians from the diaspora describe a country of their dreams.
“Today I finally moved in to the house my grandmother was expelled from in Akka in 1948. Her dying wish was to return so I returned for her,” one user said.
“Just landed,” another user said in a tweet accompanied with an image of ‘Gaza International Airport’.
“I am going to the old city in Nablus to eat Abu Hamdi’s Kunafa, who wants to go with me?!” one tweet said, referencing a popular dessert spot.
The tweets reflect the bitter reality of life under Israeli occupation.
While travelling is the easiest option to go from one country to another, Palestinians often face obstacles when trying to enter the occupied territories and face a high risk of being questioned and harmed by Israeli forces.
For those living under Israeli control, leading a “normal life” is more difficult each day, with many facing the daily risk of being forced out of their own homes to make way for settlers.
A task as simple as grocery shopping or visiting a local beach could take hours due to the presence of Israeli checkpoints.
During the Nakba [the catastrophe] in 1948, at least 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their own land by Zionists militias who later established Israel, depopulating at least 450 towns and villages.
There are currently up to 5.6 million Palestinian refugees, with at least 28.4% scattered in 58 UNRWA-run camps in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. Conservative figures put the death toll at more than 100,000 since the Nakba.
As of May 14th this year, over 38,000 Palestinians in Gaza became internally displaced following a deadly 11-day Israeli bombardment.
Decades later, forced dispossession of homes and land remain a reality for Palestinians.
Most recently, Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and Silwan have been forced out of their homes as part of Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign.