"When we say it is enough, it will mean Palestine is free,” declared the world’s youngest card carrying journalist and Palestinian activist Janna Jihad, during a talk organised by public interest law centre Section27, in Johannesburg, on Monday.
Twelve-year-old Jihad is touring South Africa as an ambassador of Shamsaan, a project inspired by Durban community worker, Nadia Meer, which promotes arts and culture as a platform for dialogue and social change.
She is speaking out against the Israeli occupation in Palestine, and is promoting freedom, justice and peace, while garnering support for Palestinians living under oppressive conditions.
Jihad uses her cellphone as her camera to share with the world the daily struggles in her small village Nabi Salih in Palestine.
"I decided to become a journalist at the age of seven to share with the world how we are living under occupation in Palestine,” she said.
She revealed that she has been named in a secret report as a high security threat to the State of Israel because of her social media following.
"If you film a soldier doing its work, you can be arrested for five years. [But] they are not going to stop us," she said boldly.
She shared that living as a normal child in Palestine is not easy and described the hardships that children experienced, which include detention, home invasions, racism, violence, intimidation, and even death.
"Soldiers would stop us while we are trying to play in the streets,” she said, but added that, “the bullet that doesn’t shoot us gives us strength.”
She went on to share that medical care is poor in Gaza, adding that it is the biggest open air jail in the world.
Jihad has lost her loved ones, including her uncle, in the recent years but she is hopeful that one day her country will be free.
She went on to encourage everyone who can assist to join her in spreading the word about people living under occupation in Palestine.
"We need to look at the positive side. Our hopes and faith just give us strength for continuing. Palestine won't free itself," she said.
Jihad pointed out that Palestinian children were not the only victims of Israeli occupation.
"Israel children are made to carry guns. Why would a child carry a gun?” she asked.
She still feels that more can be done by activists from Israel to stop what is happening.
She went on to encourage everyone to rally behind the call to end the occupation in Palestine by even teaching children about what is going on in Palestine.
When asked about boycotting food from Woolworths, she said she was against people boycotting everything at Woolworths but she encouraged people to boycott Israeli products, the money from which, she says is used by Israel to buy more guns.