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This Is Not A Watermelon

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Cover Art by


With some help from you, reliable sources, and our editorial team we have put together a brief guide for learning about what is currently happening in Palestine, around the world, and what we can do to support people in the face of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Editors’ Note

Dear Reader,

With some help from you, reliable sources, and our editorial team we have put together a brief guide for learning about what is currently happening in Palestine, around the world, and what we can do to support people in the face of genocide and ethnic cleansing. While the New Absurdist is not a news source, it is a place for education, activism, and promoting positive growth in the world. It is both our privilege and our responsibility to elevate the voices of people who are being censored for speaking out for peace and basic human rights. 

At this time, we’d like to invite artists and writers who are passionate about anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, and Palestinian support to consider submitting their work to The New Absurdist, and as always we will do our best to elevate these underrepresented voices on our platform


In the Western world, and as we can see in the United States, many people, including students, are being doxxed for speaking out against the ongoing genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. And although there has been a slight shift after much public protest to offer a more ‘balanced’ perspective, much of mainstream media has been offering biased reports dehumanizing and downplaying the plight of suffering Palestinians.

In stark contrast, when Russia invaded Ukraine, international leaders applauded Ukrainian resistance against occupation, because they were people that “looked like us” — essentially people that didn’t look like brown skinned refugees — but blond and blue eyed people, “civilized people” that deserved our empathy. 

Gaza is currently, and has been, an open air prison where Palestians have no right to free movement, a situation made exponentially worse by the incessant and indiscriminate bombing by the IDF. Thousands of people have been killed in an extremely short amount of time, with 74% of them being women, children and the elderly. Around half of the Palestinian population are children. Public infrastructure such as hospitals are now practically nonexistent due to Israeli bombing and war crimes. Like many others around the world, we demand a permanent ceasefire, and an end to genocide, occupation and apartheid. 

This article is divided into three main sections which you can click on below to jump down.  

  1. The Occupation of Palestine
  2. The Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza
  3. About the Cover: The Watermelon
  4. What can we do to support Palestine

The Occupation of Palestine

For many people in the US and the western world, what is being called the “Israel-Hamas War” seems to have started in a horrifying attack on October 7, 2023 when Hamas killed around 1000 people and abducted around 200 people to the Gaza strip.  For many others, especially those in Palestine, the violence goes more than 75 years back, with Palestinians facing illegal occupation by the Israeli military. 


After the Partition Plan (Resolution 181) passed in 1947, Palestine was divided by the United Nations into 3 parts: a Jewish state, an Arab state, and the City of Jerusalem under UN administration. This plan was rejected by the Arab world, on the grounds that it was unfair and violated the UN Charter. Israeli militias launched attacks against Palestinian villages, destroying hundreds, killing thousands of people, and forcing a mass exodus of Palestinians to flee, never able to return to their homes. 

More than 1 million Palestinians were left living in Israeli occupied territories. This forced exodus became known as nakba, translated as “catastrophe” in English. It is considered to be a core part of the shared trauma, history and experience of being Palestinian. 75 years later, Palestinians continue to have their rights denied, whether it’s by dispossession and displacement by Israeli settlements, evictions, land confiscation or home demolitions.


The situation in Palestine has been aptly described by Amnesty International as apartheid. 

Apartheid may ring as a big buzz-word. There is a misconception at best, and a Zionist sentiment at worst, that the situation in Israel cannot be at all akin to apartheid, at least as people know it from South Africa.  After all, as the Jewish Virtual Library (published by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise) puts it, “Jews are the majority within Israel, but the non-Jewish minority…enjoy full citizenship with voting rights and representation in the government.” It’s giving ‘I’m not racist, I have a black friend,’ or ‘I don’t see color’ energy to justify systematic racism and oppression. The Palestinians in the Bank are considered to be in a ‘different situation’ because of what is called “incessant terrorism” and there is denial of any injustice done to civilians living in Palestinian territories illegally occupied and controlled by Israeli military and settler violence. 

Amnesty International describes apartheid as “territorial fragmentation; segregation and control; dispossession of land and property; and denial of economic and social rights,” Palestinians currently do not have the same rights as Israelis in the illegally-occupied territories of Palestine. Checkpoints, roadblocks, and settler-only roads make daily tasks almost impossible to complete. Getting to work, school, or even the hospital requires an extensive amount of bureaucracy and luck in the permite regime. For these reasons, Amnesty International has written extensively on Israeli war crimes and officially considered the treatment of Palestinian citizens in these occupied territories as apartheidHuman Rights Watch has also pointed out these injustices, without directly using the label.

In 2022 for the first time in history, the United Nations commemorated nakba, or The Catastrophe on its 75th anniversary, and proposed to make it officially recognized in 2023. Just months after this international recognition of Israel violence against Palestinians, we are once again witnessing Israeli militia indiscriminately bomb people and infrastructure, killing exponential numbers of Palestinian civilians. The Israeli response to the Hamas attack and subsequent kidnapping of hostages, has turned into an attempt at ethnic cleansing and further establishment of a Zionist and Nationalistic military state. 

It is very important to note that governments do not necessarily represent their people, and the Zionist movement does not represent all Jews. Zionism is a Jewish nationalist movement that calls for the creation of a Jewish state, which gathered much more support after the horrifying events of the Holocaust, and as a response to the rise of both nationalism and Anti-Semitism on a global scale. But in practice, Zionists are engaging in settler colonialism, including creating illegal settlements, driving out and ethnic cleansing of indigenous Palestinians with the justification of returning Jews to their ancestral homeland. Before 1948 and the formation of the Israeli ethnostate, Muslims, Jews, and Christians in various empires had coexisted in Palestine for generations. 

 In addition to recognizing that it is difficult to deprogram from philosophies and politics that we may have grown up with, it is also necessary to combat our own anxiety and fears and deprogram ourselves from Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Zionism. Ethnic connotations and stereotypes associated with religion are used as a tool to dehumanize people and ‘other’ them. With the power of the internet and spread of information, people are not only learning about the liberation movement for Palestine, but for the Congo, Sudan, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and many others. 

The Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Gaza is a small strip of land (28 by 6 miles) populated by 2.3 million Palestinians, making it one of the most densely populated places in the world. About 50% are children. The vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees who were uprooted from their ancestral homes in Israel occupied land. Most of them are unable to leave Gaza.

In response to the 240 hostages taken and 1,000 civilians killed by Hamas on October 7th, Israeli forces have killed 15,000 Palestinian civilians (more than 10 times the amount). 

While it’s difficult to compare tragedy, as a frame of reference, about 10,000 people were killed in the Ukraine War over 2 years, and 3,000 lives were lost on 9/11. Entire families have been killed as a result of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing, and it is estimated that a Palestinian child is killed every 10 minutes on average, since October 7, 2023. 

Palestinians in Gaza face dire conditions in Gaza due to Israeli occupation and international humanitarian war crimes. This includes:

About the Cover: The Watermelon as a symbol of Palestinian solidarity and resistance

We invite you to print this cover and use it freely at Pro-Palestinian protests. 

This cover is inspired by how in  2023, protesters in Tel Aviv used images of a watermelon captioned with “This is not a Palestinian flag” in response to a ban on the Palestinian flag and its colors, enforced by the Israeli military.   

This is not the first time the Palestinian flag and its colors have been banned by Israel. Israel banned the Palestinian Flag and national colors following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel captured Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem from Historic Palestine, displacing more than 500,000 Palestinians and effectively more than doubling Israeli territory. 

In the 1980s, artists in the Palestinian city Ramaallah were forbidden by Zionist forces to use the Palestinian national colors in any capacity. This meant that artworks containing red, green or black could be confiscated by the Israeli police. Not even a painting of a flower, or a watermelon could make it through. This idea lent itself for the watermelon to become a symbol of Palestinian solidarity.

This image, and others like it,  of “Not a Palestinian flag,” or “Not a Watermelon” (paired with an image of a watermelon) might remind you of Rene Magritte’es famous image of “This is not a Pipe.” Artists like Rene Magritte were part of the Dada movement in the early 20th century, who made surreal and nonsensical images in protest and reaction to World War 1, nationalism, violence, and modern capitalist society. 

To add another layer of cultural significance, watermelons were a world-renowned speciality of Palestine before the 1948 Nakba when Israeli Zionist forces destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages, killing and forcing out thousands of Palestinians to gain territory. As the IDF and Israeli settler authorities started occupying Palestinian neighborhoods, they also drove the large and remarkable Palestinian watermelons out of competition with Israeli seed companies. 

In 2021, after an Israeli court ruling allowed settlers to forcefully evict Palestinian families from their family homes, the watermelon resurfaced as a symbol of protest and resistance for Palestinian solidarity once again. 

Despite how the 1967 ban was officially lifted in 1993, Palestinian flags are still taken down and banned in Israeli occupied territories in the name of ‘keeping the peace’. And in recent crackdowns, Israel’s national security minister Ben-Gvir, has ordered police to ban Palestinian flags from public places. (Hence, the 2023 Tel-Aviv Bus Protests)  Ben Gvir belongs to the far right Otzma Yehudit/ Jewish Power political party (Described by Professor Eva Illouz as a Jewish fascist group)  and is known for his history of racism and pro-settler stance. The ban on Palestinian flags and colors is just one of Ben Gvir’s continued bids for power in government, including trying to make it his position to direct police policy.

As the saying goes, “where one burns books, one will soon burn people.”  When political powers begin to dictate what is appropriate and inappropriate for society in art, such as Nazis labeling art as “degenerate” it is only a matter of time before people start to be targeted and persecuted. The banning of Palestinian national colors and symbolism during protests in Western countries, even in a painting of a watermelon, is yet another example of how systems of oppression are imitated throughout history. Consider how the censorship of media such as arts and literature applies to the censorship of people’s right to exist, such as the Florida Book Bans, which have removed around 300 books in the last school year.

Now, we see these sentiments reborn once again in watermelon emojis and symbolism in a reaction to capitalism, fascism, nationalism, and violence. Absurdity and nonsense in art, writing, and media function to point out the absurdity of the injustices we face in the world. 

What can we do to support Palestine?

A special thank you to contributor and reader Rowan M. for her help with compiling research and writing out ways to help and protest. Read her article “5 Palestinian Films and Documentaries to Watch” on The New Absurdist. 

There is a place for all forms of protest in the face of oppression, and we’d like to emphasize our take on efficient or sustainable protest. For example, protesting in the streets may not be an option for disabled people. For People of Color, speaking out publicly may affect their livelihood much more than white counterparts.

We encourage you to ask yourself what is the way that I can help best: Is it a conversation with your peers? Is it monetary? Is it using your art? Your writing? Are you a good speaker? Do you have a platform? We have compiled some resources on ways that you can make a difference below. 

BDS! Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions 

  • BDS is a Palestinian led movement for freedom, justice and equality. This movement uses economic and cultural boycotts against companies that financially support Israel’s apartheid regime and violation of Palestinian human rights. 
  • The three main goals of BDS are to urge nonviolent pressure on Israel until it complies with international law by meeting 3 demands.
  1. End Israel occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the wall
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab- Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality
  3. Respecting, Protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194. 

Donate to Doctors Without Borders to provide much needed medical care to people in Gaza and the West Bank

  • Unlike Israel, which has strong emergency and health care systems, Gaza and the West Bank urgently lack medical personnel and supplies. As Doctors Without Borders puts it, “Medical facilities and personnel must be protected and respected, hospitals and ambulances are not targets”— not that that has stopped Israel militia from bombing hospitals and necessary public infrastructure. 
  • Doctors without Borders is completely funded by independent donors to mobilize and save lives when a crisis strikes. Click here to Donate to Doctors without Borders. 

Send an E-sim to Palestine

Buy from Palestinian Businesses

Contact your Representatives

For our US readers, Jewish Voices for Peace and US Campaign for Palestinian Rights both offer instructions and caller scripts for how to contact your representative and senator’s office for a permanent ceasefire and refusal to send American weapons and funding to the Israeli military. 

Consume, Elevate, and Support Palestinian voices and content. 

For example, consider these independent journalists in Gaza who are showing their experiences first hand, in a raw and powerful way on instagram:

You could also follow other influencers on social media who are sharing updated information on the ongoing genocide. Some examples of who you can follow on instagram are:


We invite you to print this cover and use it freely at Pro-Palestinian protests.

Resources and Useful Links

Thank you for reading. Once again, at this time, we’d like to invite artists and writers who are passionate about anti-fascism, anti-capitalism, anti-racism, and Palestinian support to submit their work to The New Absurdist, and as always we will do our best to elevate these underrepresented voices on our platform.

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