Israeli Occupation: Endless Attacks and Threat to Human Rights

Israeli settlements near Bethlehem

The history of Palestine is a long and complex one, beginning in the 1517 the Ottoman empire ruled Palestine. During World War I, the British took control of the region and established the British Mandate of Palestine. During this period, Jewish immigration to Palestine increased. In the 1930s the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany caused the Jewish population of Palestine to swell even further as they escaped from Europe.  In 1947, the United Nations,  proposed a plan to divide Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish but the Arabs rejected the plan. 

Judaism has a long history of connection to the land of Palestine. According to Jews, God promises the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham, this promise is central to Jewish identity and has been a source of Jewish connection and attachment to the land of Israel.

This ideology gave rise to the Zionist movement. In 1896 Theodor Herzl an Austrian journalist published Der Judenstaat (The State of the Jews). The bill marked the groundwork for the modern Zionist movement, The Zionist movement gained strength in the 1920s and 1930s as Jews from Europe and elsewhere began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers. This wave of immigration was seen as a fulfillment of the Zionist dream.

The conflict in Palestine began when Israel declared independence, resulting in war that is known as the 1948 Arab Israeli War which ended with a ceasefire, but the underlying tensions between the two sides persisted. Since then, there have been several wars and numerous skirmishes. In which the 1956 Suez crisis, 1967 six-day war, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 Lebanon War, and the 2006 Lebanon war is included. Progress was made in the Israeli Palestinian conflict with the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and  the historic peace accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020. However, the conflict remains unresolved and continues to have an extensive impact on regional peace. 

The map of Israel from 1948 to 2020 reflects the Palestinian loss of land over the period of time. The composition of Palestinian land as compared to Israeli land has changed from (44%) to (15%) in 2020. Over the course of last 75 years, the Palestinian people have lost much of the land they had been allocated. The map from 1948 to 2020 paints a clear picture of the injustice and suffering that the Palestinian people have faced over this period of time This demographic shift is owed to establishment of illegal Israeli settlements, demolition of Palestinian homes and forcing the exodus of native Palestinians through violent means.

Injustice and attacks on Palestinians have been a longstanding issue. The Israeli government has launched numerous attacks. Such as in 2008-2009 a major strike on Gaza caused extensive damages and resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Palestinians. In 2014, the Israeli military launched another major assault on Gaza and killed over 2,160 Palestinians. In addition to the military assaults, there have been numerous human rights violations committed against Palestinians by Israeli government, which include restrictions on freedom of movement, no right for education, arrests and detentions, usage of illegal weapons that are prohibited under international law and destruction of homes.

However, religious persecution persists as attacks on holy sites such as the Masjid al Aqsa continue. In 2017, Israeli forces stormed the mosque injuring hundreds of worshippers. Recently on 5th April they attacked the worshipers in the Holy month of Ramadan. This is seen as clear violation of human rights. The Israeli government has also used illegal weapons such as white phosphorous in its attack on Gaza. The use of such weapons is prohibited under International Law and has resulted in numerous civilian casualties. The situation is critical with the Palestinian people facing injustices, attacks, and human rights violations. 

Now the question arises, what can be the probable solution? Many peace agreements have been signed and solutions have been proposed including Trumps’ so called middle east peace plan which was totally rejected by Palestinians. We must not forget that the current situation is a result of a long history of injustices and oppression, and that it can only be resolved by two state solution. Trumps’ suggested plan needs to be improved and the best probable solution is that 1947 map should be reverted. Both Arab and Jews should have their own land. The states should be divided according to population but not the small territories. As the former US President Donald Trump suggested, the East Jerusalem should be given to Palestinians as their capital city but the control should not be limited to only 15%. The illegal Israeli settlements should be removed. There should not remain any space for negotiation of land with Israel as it will again lead to wars. The UN Human rights regime should take the matter more seriously and protect the rights of Palestinians. The world media should also play its role and recognize the human rights violations of the Palestinians just like they recognize the implications of war in Ukraine. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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