Since entering this world here in Australia 16 years ago, I have watched as my family's homeland, Palestine, has slowly slipped out of grasp.
My dream of visiting it has gradually become replaced with the dream of saving it.
The blood that flows throughout my body comes from the seas and land of my precious country; our vessels forever interlinked.
The roots of the olive tree growing in my grandmother's backyard in Canberra can be traced back to those that cover the grounds of Palestine; the beauty of our land, now seemingly out of reach, is forever cut into us like a knife.
With every breath I take, I am hearing the call for prayer that echoes throughout Palestine from Al-Aqsa mosque. I am spreading my arms and reaching for the children, holding them in a warm embrace. Yet when I open my eyes, I am struck by the harsh reality that I am here and they are there.
Under siege and under occupation, they are fighting an unfair battle, enduring loss and pain that one could never possibly imagine, and I am sitting in front of my television feeling hopeless, rocking back and forth, praying that they will live to see another day.
We want to save our homeland for the Palestinians that have endured decades of occupation and remained strong with an unwavering faith. Their strength is a potent source for survival.
We are forever committed to saving Palestine for future generations so that we all become accustomed to its beauty and enter the endless realms it possesses.
And we are committed to saving Palestine for my grandparents, who were born and raised among the olive trees and long once again to find comfort within those groves.
I often close my eyes and imagine a world where my people aren't undergoing ethnic cleansing, a world where Palestinians aren't experiencing genocide, a world where our leaders don't turn their backs to the oppressed and instead are brave and kind and offer their sympathy and a helping hand.
Oftentimes, this world feels out of reach, but the resolute determination and hope of the Palestinians that are suffering illegal occupation, a brutal siege and horrendous war crimes every minute of every day not only allows me to feel their faith, but overwhelms me with a sense of pride and gives me hope.
We all hope that the land that held my grandparents' first steps, the land that will forever live within my heart, will be released from the constraints that have been trapping its soul, and will finally be able to breathe freely.
We march in the streets, paste posters along walls and donate money, yet we will not be filled with contentment until Palestinian children can play freely on the streets without fear of being killed or stripped from their mothers chests; until Palestinian families can sleep comfortably in their homes every night without fear of being dragged out at any minute; until all Palestinians are able to reunite on our land and pray together.
So Gaza, don't you cry. No mountain is too high for us when we witness the strength and humanity that Palestinians possess. In spite of the propaganda filling our screens and the lack of Palestinian advocacy on the news, our cause will not waver and our words will not falter.
Our actions will remain a force of power, and we will not stop until Palestine has been freed.
Words begin to fail me when attempting to explain the atrocities that Palestinians have faced for decades and continue to face.
I ask as an Australian-Palestinian girl here in Sydney: end the genocide now before the blood on your hands can fill all the world's seas.
We call for a ceasefire, not from the fear of death, but from the fear of living without hope.
- Sara Hijazi is a 16-year-old Australian-Palestinian from Greenacre, NSW. November 29 is the UN Day for International Solidarity with the People of Palestine.