Monday, 5 June 2017

50th Anniversary of Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Land

June 5th marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war between Israel and neighboring Arab States of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. In what was known as the Six Day War, Israel captured the Egyptian Sinai Peninsular, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Except for the Sinai, Israel still controls all of those territories. In fact, the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is the longest in modern times.
After this  War it marked the beginning of the ongoing oppression, misery and denial of human and political rights that is the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Israel’s bold territorial gains in 1967 have never been recognised by the Palestinians or the vast majority of the international community.
The first use of the term 'territories occupied' was in the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted unanimously by the UN Security Council in November, 1967. The International Court of Justice the UN General Assembly and the UN Secuity Council regard Israel as the 'Occupying Power.'  Even Israel's own High Court of Justice has ruled many times that the Palestinian  territories are under occupation.In a ruling in 2005 the Court stated that 'Judea and Samaria' ( West Bank) and the Gaza area are ' held by the State of Israel in belligerent occupation,' However, the Israeli government alone persists in calling the lands 'disputed territories.'
 Israelis and Palestinians now live a reality where, under a single regime, one group is privileged while the other is deprived of its basic human rights. For 50 years, Israel has administered a pervasive system of control over Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), while denying them their right to self-determination and controlling virtually all aspects of their life without giving them any say. For half a century now, Palestinian life has not been determined by Palestinians, rather their fate has been characterized by  apartheid which has been carried out by the illegitimate government in Tel Aviv. Israel's continuing violations include stolen indigenous land, established military checkpoints; racial profiling; mass incarceration; torture of children; jailing of children, some as young as 5 years old; separation of families; tear gassing, bombing of civilian targets by "israeli" war planes, environmental destruction; withholding water and electricity; unjustified restrictions of movement, the continual development of illegal settlements, along with accompanying discriminatory practices against Palestinians, in violation of international law. The list goes on and on and on.
Israeli authorities have since 1967 facilitated the transfer of its civilians to the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. In 1967, Israel established two settlements in the West Bank: Kfar Etzion and East Talpiot; by 2017, Israel had established 237 settlements there, housing approximately 580,000 settlers. Israel applies Israeli civil law to settlers, affording them legal protections, rights, and benefits that are not extended to Palestinians living in the same territory who are subjected to Israeli military law. Israel provides settlers with infrastructure, services, and subsidies that it denies to Palestinians, creating and sustaining a separate and unequal system of law, rules, and services.
Israeli authorities have expropriated thousands of acres of Palestinian land for settlements and their supporting infrastructure. Discriminatory burdens, including making it nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits in East Jerusalem and in the 60 percent of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control (Area C), have effectively forced Palestinians to leave their homes or to build at the risk of seeing their “unauthorized” structures bulldozed. For decades, Israeli authorities have demolished homes on the grounds that they lacked permits, even though the law of occupation prohibits destruction of property except for military necessity, or punitively as collective punishment against families of Palestinians suspected of attacking Israelis.

Israel has also arbitrarily excluded hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from its population registry, restricting their ability to live in and travel from the West Bank and Gaza. Israeli authorities have justified these actions by citing general security concerns, but they have not conducted individual screenings or claimed that those excluded posed a threat themselves. Israel also revoked the residency of over 130,000 Palestinians in the West Bank and 14,565 in East Jerusalem since 1967, largely on the basis that they had been away too long.
Although Israel has no permanent military presence within Gaza, it retains control over all border crossings except Rafah Crossing, which is under Egyptian control. The crossing is not suited for transporting goods and enables movement of people only; Egypt refuses to open it most of the time. Israel also controls Gaza’s sea and air space, and forbids Palestinians to build an airport or seaport. Consequently, Israel has virtually complete control of all movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza, administering this in consideration of Israeli interests.
Any entry into Gaza or exit from it – whether to Israel, the West Bank or third countries via Israel – requires receiving a permit from Israeli authorities. Israel has used its control over the crossings to impose a blockade on Gaza for almost nine years, since June 2007. It prohibits residents from leaving Gaza other than in exceptional circumstances.
For the last 25 years, Israel has tightened restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip in ways that far exceed any conceivable requirement of Israeli security. These restrictions affect nearly every aspect of everyday life, separating families, restricting access to medical care and educational and economic opportunities, and perpetuating unemployment and poverty. As of last year, Gaza’s GDP was 23 percent lower than in 1994. Seventy percent of Gaza’s 1.9 million people rely on humanitarian assistance.
Israel also has imposed onerous restrictions on freedom of movement in the West Bank, enforced at checkpoints within the West Bank and at its borders with Israel. Israel’s separation barrier, ostensibly solely built for security, in fact slices through the West Bank significantly more than it runs along the Green Line separating the West Bank from Israel, contrary to international humanitarian law, as confirmed by the International Court of Justice in July 2004.
Israeli authorities have also incarcerated hundreds of thousands of Palestinians since 1967, the majority after trials in military courts, which have a near-100 percent conviction rate. In addition, on average, hundreds every year have been placed in administrative detention based on secret evidence without charge or trial. Some were detained or imprisoned for engaging in nonviolent activism. Israel also jails West Bank and Gaza Palestinian detainees inside Israel, creating onerous restrictions on family visits and violating international law requiring that they be held within the occupied territory. Many detainees, including children, face harsh conditions and mistreatment.
Palestinians right to resist this occupation is  supported by a series of UN General Assembly resolutions beginning with UNGA 1154 of 1960 and other international organisations including the World Court. These demand an end to colonialism generally and recognise the right of all colonised peoples to resist foreign domination by any means necessary including armed struggle.
However armed struggle is not the choice of many Palestinians in the front line of todays resistance movement. Instead they are choosing non-violent actions and public demonstrations which are often met by brut force. The Palestinians are also reaching out for international support through increasingly effective and widespread digital communications. Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott , Divestment and Sanctions against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights:-
This year also marks; 69 years since the Nakba (catastrophe) 1948 and and 100 years this November since the Balfour Declaration  which set the stage for the Zionist movement to illegally colonize Palestine.
Following all these tragic anniversaries let's hope  2017 be a turning point long overdue for all those working for justice in Palestine..There has also been a long been a vocal Israeli community which says the occupation harms Israel’s claim to legitimate statehood, and damages the chances of reaching peace with Palestinians.On the 50th anniversary milestone, more than ever are beginning to question whether the struggle to control occupied Palestinian territory is worth it.
Israel must “cloak itself in sorrow also over what has happened to Israel since that terrible summer of 1967, the summer in which it won a war and lost nearly everything,” wrote Gideon Levy, a columnist in the Haaretz newspaper, in April. “Strong, armed and rich as it never was in 1967. Corrupt and rotten as only an occupying country can be.”
After decades of failure to rein in abuses associated with the occupation, the international community should take more active measures to hold Israeli and Palestinian authorities to their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law. The majority of Palestinians have never known life without occupation. They don't know the taste of freedom. We must keep the candle alight for them, we must keep on calling international government to act on  their moral principles and to make Israel accountable under international law for everything it does.

Sources :-

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