Monday, 23 June 2014

The Collective Punishment of the Palestinian People must end.

On Thursday the 12th of this month, three settler youth disappeared while hitchhiking in the Hebron area of the West Bank. No Palestinian group or organisation has taken responsibility for their dissapearance. An unfortunate situation for the three missing individuals.
Since this incident Israels' response has been disproportionate, to say the least, with over 370 Palestinians having  been arrested since last Thursday. All over  the West Bank, in villages, towns and cities, Palestinian homes and offices have been raided, people  being held under siege, with many  being injured, with subsequently being  left for dead.
The Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 33, states  that : "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not  personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or  terrorism are prohibited.Pillage is prohibited.Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited."
At the time of  this posting, six Palestinians have been killed  in the massive military operations that have been  launched, and attempts  to cast the rising number  of unarmed Palestinian casualties as 'self defence' starts to ring hollow. As  former Israeli soldiers   have testified as recently as 2014, that their units used tactics known as 'Provocation and Reaction,' which has been described  as "the act of entering a village, making a lot of noise, waiting for their stones to be thrown at you, and then you arrest them saying : There, they're throwing stones!!!"
At the moment the Israelis  are using  three missing boys  as pawns in their political game, using  them, as they continue to oppress and to avoid avenues of peace. it is not that we have not witnessed  previously, time after time, that Israels' leaders  need no excuse  to  find reasons to continue their collective campaign of terror against the Palestinians. Their road to peace, seems to be displacing people, 750,000 of them, and continuing  to violate  UN resolutions and human rights, to try to disrupt the recently formed unity government. Yet in the world Israel is feeling  the heat too, as people see it as an apartheid state, and  join the many  successful  boycotts and campaign for disinvestment on Israeli products. In the last week we have seen Presbyterians voting to divest holdings in 3 companies supplying Israel with equipment being used in the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
At the end of the day, this collective Punishment of the Palestinian people must stop. Israel I am sure is obligated to carry out its serach for the missing boys, but it should also  be constantly be reminded of  obligations to International humanitarian law and International Human law and the respect to life of the Palestinians, that minimises damage and injury and protects and preserves human rights.


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