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The Mission Chronicle

The Mission Chronicle

Mission’s connections to the war in the Middle East

Art by Mingze (Hugo) Nie

On October 7th, 2023 Hamas, a Palestinian military group that resists Israel, launched a surprise attack on Israel and took around 240 people as hostages as a way of fighting back for the years of injustice they’ve had to go through. In return, Israel dropped several bombs on the Gaza Strip. Israel’s military force is about ten times stronger than Palestine’s. Since October 7th, Israel has dropped 45,000 bombs on the Gaza strip. They have bombed every hospital that was left standing since the first attack, leaving thousands of Palestinian people without medical help.The Israeli and Palestine conflict has been going on since 1947. There have been well over 33,899 people killed in Gaza. There are still over 100 Israeli hostages held by Hamas. This conflict didn’t just “randomly start” as some may believe, but has been going on for over 70 years. 



Tareq’s story

Tareq Elmuflihi, an 11th grader at Mission High School, was just watching the news at home when he saw that Israel had bombed a Palestinian hospital. 

He and his family are from Yemen, and came to the US in 2018, first to Oakland and eventually to San Francisco, to get a better education and learn English at a higher level. Tareq still has several family members in Yemen, particularly an area near the Red Sea, and he worries for them because the US and UK have been attacking Yemen. 

When Tareq first came to the US, he felt that the language barrier was something that was blocking him from furthering his knowledge and comfort in the US. San Francisco was a shock to him, like how many people from different backgrounds lived here, the boldness of the Castro district, and the various types of foods.

Tareq believes that the major news outlets in the United States favor the Israeli side more and paints Israeli’s as the victims. 

He said: “Western media makes it untrue. When the temporary ceasefire was established, an Israeli guard went from Gaza back to Israel where they interviewed her. She said Palestinians fed her and gave her shelter, but BBC news labeled it: ‘I went through hell.’” 

Tareq’s hopes for Palestine are that he wants peace and stop the genocide of the Palestinian people. Have it so they can live like regular people and have the rights that they deserve. He thinks and it’ll take time but hopes it can happen sooner. 


Adel’s Story

Adel Aldebash is an 11th grader at Mission. His family is Yemeni, although he was born here.

In Yemen, there is a group called the Houthis who are stopping ships from going into the Gaza Strip from Bab Al-manda. These ships are trying to aid Israel with weapons. The United States told the Houthis to not detain any ship but they refused. In return, the US and the UK have started to bomb Yemen. Despite being one of the poorest countries in the world, Yemen still chooses to defend the Palestinian people and try to stop as much killing as they can. He says that the people from Yemen shouldn’t be judged and criticized for trying to help their own people. 

 When Adel was growing up he would always hear his parents talking about how Israel was occupying Palestine. He never really understood what was going on until he was in 7th grade when he started to become more aware because of his family talking about it more and explaining the history. His family would explain to him the occupation of Palestine by the Israelis and how this conflict got started. 

On October 7th when news started spreading about Hamas bombing Israel, Adel was worried about how Israel would retaliate and the impact on Palestinian lives. Their lives could drastically change due to the constant bombing and never having a stable home. Their mental health could become severely damaged and have issues dealing with their traumas. The worry they have had to go through with not knowing when their next meal could be or if where they are currently taking shelter could be bombed at any moment. The lives of the Palestinian people will never be the same because of all the drastic changes they are being forced to go through. 

Even though his family in Yemen is okay at the moment, he worries about them possibly getting bombed. He says: 

“The U.S. government needs to wake up. Free Palestine, you know?” 

Mr. Herzallah

Mr. Herzallah’s Story

Monadel Herzallah is the Arabic teacher at Mission High School. He has Palestinian roots that go back to Gaza since before 1948, but his family has been displaced everywhere. Mr. Herzallah was born and raised in Jordan. He has several family members in Gaza and has lost eleven of them, including his four-year-old niece. The family that is still alive is being forced to live in horrid conditions in Rafah. They were told to leave Khan Yunis, a city in the south Gaza Strip, and go to Rafah, a city on the border of Egypt. 

When Mr. Herzallah woke up, he woke up to check to see if he got any texts from his family and saw texts telling about what was going on. His only thought was: 

“Here we go again.”

Mr. Herzallah has one cousin who is like a brother to him. In 2009, his cousin lost a son who was only 22 at the time. His name was Mohammed. During the last week of October 2023, he lost two daughters. The first week of November he lost a son who was a 20 year old college student. His ability to communicate with his family is difficult because Israeli forces have interrupted the internet connections.

Mr. Herzallah is glad that people have begun to open their eyes to the blight that is taking place in Palestine. He believes that the youth is very important when it comes to leading this movement. Mr. Herzallah says that a way for people to become more informed on what is happening without being fed lies is to look at the true facts. If we continue to believe what certain biased media tells us when there’s proof that what they’re saying is not 100% true and honest, we run the risk of repeating history. According to Mr. Herzallah, we need to realize and acknowledge that what is happening is an ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Palestinian people. If we wait too long to take serious action, it might be too late and the consequences of the war would be irreversible. Every person who was affected won’t be given the justice they deserve or be given any reparations for having their homes destroyed. 

 There has been evidence of the media and people telling people one thing, when the complete opposite was true. He says:

“Media was leading us to believe that people in South Africa were being led by Nelson Mandela and that he was an aggressor, but now in the present day, he’s seen and acknowledged as a leader.”

All of the walkouts, protests, and boycotts do help even by just making people more aware of the issue at hand. He is also hopeful for the future because people won’t trust what the government is feeding them as easily, especially after being fed several lies. The government and news outlets won’t be able to hide things as easily anymore thanks to social media. 

Mr. Herzallah does not use his class to advocate for this issue. He feels that the youth should be able to form their own opinions. If you have any questions or want to become more informed on the issue, feel free to look at Mr. Herzallahs instagram account: monadel_herzallah, where he posts frequent updates and information on the issue. 

Hannah (Chalida Anusasananan)

Hannah’s Story

Hannah Birch is an 11th grader at Mission who is Mexican-Jewish. Her father was born in the Polanco neighborhood in Mexico City, but maintained his Jewish religion and immigrated to the US. Her grandparents from her dad’s side are originally from Syria, and her grandparents from her mom’s side are from Austria and Russia. They eventually immigrated to Mexico. Hannah’s uncle immigrated to Israel from Mexico and served two years in the IDF, Israeli Defense Forces. He currently lives in Ra’anana which is around 20-30 minutes from Tel Aviv. 

Even though Hannah isn’t very religious, she can see herself in the future practicing Jewish traditions like Hanukkah with her family. While growing up Hannah wasn’t really told about the war and didn’t even know there was a war going on, but was told that Israel is a beautiful country and that people from all over (like Romani, Palestinians and Persians) were there before Jewish people. 

Hannah doesn’t really like reading current updates on what is going on because it makes her worry for her family and what could happen to them. In 2022, she went to Israel to go visit her family where she met some of her cousins for the first time. She had gone once before when she was around 6 for her uncle’s wedding but doesn’t remember much about what she saw and who she met, other than a goat eating her hair.  

When she watches the news, Hannah doesn’t always believe the news is truthful about what is happening. It isn’t what she’s heard from relatives in Israel. A few months go, there was an attack in Israel that wasn’t reported in the news where a group of people, allegedly Palestinians, were running people over at a bus stop. Hannah found out about this because one of her younger cousins was able to avoid this attack by going to her friend’s house instead on the day this attack occurred. Two of her cousin’s classmates were hospitalized. 

One of her concerns is how people will view and think of Jewish people after this war. She believes the public will start to see Jews as “bad” people and that anti-semitism could rise. Hannah doesn’t see a way that this attitude can be avoided “because of the world we live in. It’s a very hateful world with homophobia and racism” so she doesnt think the negative outlook on Jewish people can be stopped. 

Hannah wants people to understand that it isn’t the innocent civilians who are starting this conflict, but the Israeli government. She hopes people check whatever they repost and make sure that it’s correct instead of accidentally posting fake news. 


Norah’s Story

Norah Ibrahim is a 10th grader at Mission. Her family is from Nigeria, and she is Muslim. When she first heard of what was happening she was on Instagram and seeing all the news outlets talking about Hamas bombing Israel and that they were the ones to declare war, it made her feel sad. She started to do more research on what was happening and did more research on the history between Israel and Palestine.

Norah believes that since she is able to speak she had to take action. She thinks that the people who still choose to be ignorant and ignore the numerous posts being made of what is happening and the information on what companies are in support of a genocide are being selfish. Those who ignore the depravity of the situation don’t ever think that what is happening to the Palestinians, and to many many other peoples, could very much happen to them as well. They ignore it because they aren’t directly affected and whatever the U.S. government decides to do to the Palestinians won’t have an impact on their daily lives. 

“Israel is repeating history. They are continuing to do to Palestine what happened to them.” 

Norah organized a walkout/ protest and had students walk from Harry Bridge’s Plaza to Westfield Mall. There were enough people to fill up a whole block, says Norah. 


Caleb’s story

Caleb Sohn, a 12th grader at Mission High, is Jewish. In March 2023, he went to Israel and while he was staying there, a shooting occurred near the hotel he was staying at. The next night there was a big protest happening. While he was there he was able to go to the Gaza strip, where he saw the wall where there were bombs going off. That same area he went to has now been completely bombed.

            At the time, he wasn’t as aware of the issues between Israel and Palestine, but due to the shooting he chose to learn more about it. Now after October 7th, Caleb has become plenty more aware of the history and current events happening in the Gaza Strip and Israel. 

When he first heard about the conflict he was speechless. He couldn’t believe how this had been going on for so long and no one was doing anything to help the situation. Caleb believes that the media has been taking the side of Palstine, “mainly because of Gen Z.” While it’s good that Gen Z is bringing awareness to the problem, they aren’t the most educated on what’s really going on. He thinks that it’s great that so many young people care about the situation but many are saying, reposting, and sharing things that they can’t back up or stand behind. 

Another thing that Caleb has noticed more is that so many people are turning this conflict into a sort of “aesthetic”. He’s been seeing online how people are starting to wear clothing without really knowing what they’re wearing truly means. There’s a popular shirt going around with the words “anti-zionist club” and he doesn’t get why people are using it to sort of “show off” that they are on a certain side of the issue. 


Dylan’s Story

Dylan Senesy, a 12th grade Lebanese student at Mission, has family who has been directly linked to the genocide and occupation of Palestine. Dylan and their mom were in the car listening to the radio as they usually do to get information on what’s going on in the world, when they heard about the bombing and massacres that were occuring in the Gaza strip. Immediately after hearing the news they both started to talk about what was going on.

Dylan thinks that the media will always take the side they believe is “more white.” In this case, the Israeli side is what we perceive as the “white” side. They agree with the boycotting of the major companies in support of Israel and help fund the bombing of the Palestians. 

They say: “Money makes the world go round so it’s definitely affecting the companies.” 

A way that Dylan believes we should inform ourselves of what is going on without running the risk of getting fed false information is to look at the accounts of journalists who are there documenting what is really going on. An account they recommend is: wizard_bisan1 who is a Palestinian woman that gives updates on what they are going through in Gaza and where Palestinians are being displaced.

“It’s a human rights issue. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your religion is.” 

This war is still ongoing. People all over the world are getting more and more upset which has caused protests, like the one on the Golden Gate Bridge, Iran bombing Israel, world central aid workers getting killed, divided democratic support, and famine and starvation for the people in Gaza. The Israeli hostages have still not been released by Hamas. Please continue to inform yourselves on the latest updates and don’t turn a blind eye just because news on what’s going on isn’t being spread as much.

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About the Contributor
Chalida Anusasananan
Chalida Anusasananan, Teacher Adviser
she/her Ms. A loves working with young people in the school library and listening to their ideas in Journalism and American Literature. When not at school, you can find her walking around SF, scouring farmers markets or browsing at the public library.
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