On October 7, 2023, Palestinian fighters lead an unprecedented incursion into Israel. Several Palestinian organizations took part along with the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas: the National Resistance Brigades, the armed wing of the secular-socialist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Palestinian socialist group, and the Lions’ Den group.

The next day Israel launched one of the largest bombardment campaigns in history on Gaza, a densely populated occupied territory. About 18,000 Palestinians have been killed as of December 10, 2023. The death toll in Israel stands at 1,147.

This short pamphlet is an attempt to provide context to what happened on October 7, and the events since then, from an African decolonial perspective for those who are on the side of freedom, justice and self-determination. We created this pamphlet to cut through the noise of corporate media and imperialist propaganda.

This is just a summary. You will find a list of resources at the end of the pamphlet that you can use to find more information and stay up to date.

Palestine before 1948

Source: Al Jazeera English

Palestine before 1948 was home to a diversity of communities including different ethnicities, races, and religions e.g. people who practiced Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

The British occupied Palestine in 1917 and put the country under what it called an ‘administrative mandate’. This was backed by the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. Arthur James Balfour, the Foreign Secretary of Britain at the time, wrote a letter to British Zionist leader Baron Rothschild declaring Britain’s support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Balfour’s letter was written with the support of the then Prime Minister of Britain David Lloyd George. Zionism is an ideology born in Europe in the 19th century that called for the creation of a Jewish state and that now supports the state of Israel.

Under the British occupation between 1917-1948 there was a deliberate process to encourage Zionists to move to Palestine. The idea was to increase Zionist communities (also called settlements) on lands where Palestinians lived. Between 1917-1948 the Jewish population living in Palestine increased from 6% to 33%, quickened by Jewish people fleeing Nazi persecution and European genocide.

Israeli Occupation

On May 14 1948, the British occupation of Palestine was replaced by Zionists declaring the creation of the Israeli state. The Nakba (the catastrophe in Arabic) is the name given to the events starting on May 15 1948 that led to the massive displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. An estimated 750,000 people were displaced, 530 villages were destroyed and dozens of massacres were carried out by Zionist militia. The war lasted until 1949 and by then Zionists were occupying 78% of historic Palestine. The war ended with the 1949 Armistice Agreements, signed between Israel and Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Jordan, which outlined the “green line” (sometimes called pre-1967 border) that demarcated the remaining Palestinian territory not occupied by Israel which became known as Gaza (purple section on the left) and the West Bank (purple section on the right).

Source: Middle East Eye

Between 1949 and 1967 a series of conflicts continued to break out. This included Israel shooting dead 2000 to 5000 Palestinian refugees who tried to cross back to their homes from Syria and Jordan between 1949-1956. In 1953, in an escalation of violence that set the subsequent tone for Israeli occupation, Israeli forces raided a village called Qibya because Palestinians were trying to go back to the territories Israel had occupied. They killed 69 Palestinians and blew up 45 houses in Qibya.

Source: Al Jazeera English

Immediately after the 1967 war, Zionists continued their colonial project by setting up settlements in occupied Gaza and the West Bank at the encouragement of the Israeli state. International consensus held then, and still holds now, that these settlements are illegal. The settlement population in the West Bank and Gaza as of September 2023 totalled 700,000 people. Meanwhile, there are now 6 million Palestinian refugees throughout Palestine and bordering countries. In 1980 Israel claimed East Jerusalem as part of Israel but the international consensus is that East Jerusalem is occupied territory. Although under white supremacist former president Donald Trump, the United States officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel in 2017.

After four Palestinians were killed in a collision with an Israeli truck in December 1987, a Palestinian uprising called the first intifada (shaking off in Arabic) erupted in Gaza and quickly spread across the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Frustrated by decades of Israeli occupation and daily violence a broad coalition of Palestinians, with strong youth leadership and participation, took to the streets, boycotted, engaged in mass strikes and other civil disobedience to demand an end to the Israeli occupation. In response, Israeli troops killed approximately 1,500 people and injured thousands more. The first intifada ended in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Accords.

The Oslo Accords

Source: Al Jazeera English

Many experts saw the Oslo Accords as a tactic by the Israelis to continue their occupation of Palestine under the guise of negotiating a solution that would never come and that would never be in favour of the occupied Palestinian territories. Several unresolved issues remained about territory, the illegal settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The Oslo Accords process was contested by many Palestinians who still hoped for a one state solution where Palestinians could return to their historical homes and where all people could live side by side in peace. Others felt like the terms of the accords did nothing but cement Palestinian surrender and the Israeli occupation.

After the breakdown of the Oslo Accords process and a series of Israeli provocations, the second intifada, sometimes referred to as the Al-Aqsa intifada, erupted in September 2000. People across the Occupied Palestinian Territories again took to the streets to demand freedom. During the second intifada Israel inflicted unprecedented damage to Palestinian infrastructure and in 2002 Israel started building a separation wall that goes deep into the West Bank, annexing even more territory.

Today Israel controls the whole of historical Palestine.

Life under Israeli occupation looks like hundreds of military check-points that severely restrict how Palestinians move on their own land, constant demolitions of Palestinian homes and farmland, random arrests (including of children), administrative detention (being held without trial and for reasons that Israeli authorities keep secret), more settlements being built on Palestinian land, violent attacks by settlers and the blocking of food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity from entering Gaza unless Israel allows it.

African Solidarity with Palestine

Expressions of African solidarity with Palestine date as far back as 1955 at the Bandung conference and continued through recognition of Palestinian liberation and self-determination through the Pan-African Congresses, the Organization of African Unity and the African Union.

Over the last few decades, African leaders have cozied up to Israel and normalized diplomatic ties. Israeli governments and Israeli companies arm, equip and prop up illegitimate presidents of Africa with the ‘specialized techniques’ of violence practiced on Palestinians. Getting closer to African leaders is also an intentional tactic by the Israelis to increase support for the occupation in international spaces and because Israel can then also benefit from the exploitation of African land, resources and labour. Israel has also increased their narrative shaping in Africa. Among Israel’s new found advocates are Christian Zionists who attempt to persuade African people that Israel is the rightful home of Jewish people and that Muslim people are the enemy. This propaganda interestingly ignores that many Palestinians are themselves Christians.

Palestinian people are living under a settler colonial occupation. As African people on the continent of Africa and in the diaspora who continue to live under imperialism and forms of colonialism we must clearly, unapologetically and resoundingly support the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

We must clearly demand an end to the occupation of Palestine. We must refuse the attempted erasure of Palestinian history and futures and the colonial propaganda that tries to justify the murder of Palestinian people through the manipulated logic of self-defence.

We know the pain of apartheid, of forced displacement, of forced migration and we know that the end of imperialist and colonial exploitation is a necessary for freedom.

We will take action when and where we can, no matter how small or big. We will strike and refuse, we will boycott. Until Palestine is free, none of us are free.

We will take action when and where we can, no matter how small or big. We will strike and refuse, we will boycott. Until Palestine is free, none of us are free.

Resources & Actions

Buy an e-sim for a Palestinian in Gaza

Learn more and keep yourself informed about what is happening in Palestine:

1. Electronic Intafada (

2. Jadaliyaa (

3. Palestinian Youth Movement (

4. Middle East Eye (

5. The False Equivalence of the Colonized and Colonizer (

Curious to learn about the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism? Check out On Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and Dangerous Conflations ( by Jewish Voices for Peace and PARCEO.

Take part in the Palestinian led Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) ( campaign. BDS calls for us to boycott Israeli and international companies that perpetuate the violation of Palestinian people’s rights.

For the artists, art lovers and protesters check out this archive of posters ( that you can post in your communities, on your social media and anywhere else you want to express your support of the Palestinian fight for freedom.


The Palestine Question, Henry Cattan