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Category: Israel-Palestine conflict

THE ISRAELI-PALESTINE CONFLICT: “The Intifada”

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The Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which began in the early 20th century, is the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, which was in the earlier years, referred to the conflict between the Zionists and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman and then British rule. The key issues of the conflict include mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights and control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements,  and the Palestinian freedom movement. The violence resulting from the conflict has raised security and human rights concerns between both sides as well as internationally.

The form of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian conflict has seen many mutations and changes over the years- from its early stages since the Zionists first settled in Palestine in 1882, to the creation of the State of Israel in 1948; Arab Jewish tensions could be broadly defined as a dispute between two ethno-religious nationalisms competing for the same small stretch of land. This was, however, only until the first Intifada of 1987 and the Oslo peace agreement of 1993, which started a process that would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state, thus promising to turn the conflict from an existential struggle to a border conflict[1].

The “Intifada”

After living under much hardship and humiliation, the Palestinian population in the year 2000, began an uprising against Israeli rule called the “Intifada.” This term – rarely translated in the American media – is simply the Arabic word for ‘uprising or rebellion’.
This is the second such uprising. The first one began in 1986 and ended in 1993 when the peace negotiations offered hopes of justice but sadly, in the following years, these hopes were crushed after Israel, rather than withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza, as promised, actually doubled its expansion in these areas.
It is said that during this uprising, which consisted largely of Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli troops (as very few Palestinians had weapons), the people of Palestine were killed at a rate approximately 7-10 times that of Israelis.

Partial casualty figures for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict from the OCHAoPt
(numbers in parentheses represent casualties under age 18)

Year

Deaths

Injuries

Palestinians

Israelis

Palestinians

Israelis

2008–26.12.08

464 (87)

31 (4)

                 –

2007

396 (43)

13 (0)

1843 (265)

322 (3)

2006

678 (127)

25 (2)

3194 (470)

377 (7)

2005

216 (52)

48 (6)

1260 (129)

484 (4)

Total

1754 (309)

117 (12)

6297 (864)

1183 (14)

 

One of the many brutal ways Israeli forces attempted to put down this rebellion was through the “break the bones” policy, implemented by Yitzhak Rabin, where Palestinian people who had been throwing stones (majority of whom were youths), were held down and their arms broken. On the first day of this policy alone, on an average, one hospital in Gaza treated 200 People for fractures.[2]

Recent uprising which has been termed as the “Second Intifada” – was sparked when an Israeli general, Ariel Sharon, known for his infamous slaughter of Palestinian civilians throughout his career, visited a Jerusalem holy site, accompanied by over a thousand armed Israeli soldiers. When some Palestinian youths threw stones, Israeli soldiers responded with live gunfire, killing 5 the first day, and 10 the second.
This uprising has been going on ever since then, as Israel periodically mounts massive invasions into Palestinian communities, using tanks, helicopter gunships, and F-16 fighter jets; killing thousands. Palestinian fighters resisting these forces possess rifles and homemade mortars and rockets; had no choice but to strap explosives onto their own bodies and attempt to deliver their bombs in person; often killing only themselves. While the large majority of Palestinians oppose suicide bombings, many feel that armed resistance has become necessary. Nevertheless, only a small portion takes an active part in the resistance, despite the fact that virtually everyone supports its aim, which is to create a nation that is free from foreign oppression.

It has started becoming difficult for them to even live an approximation of a normal life, with Israel attempting to prevent them from doing so at every step of their lives; for instance, preventing them at checkpoints from traveling from town to town, preventing their children from travelling to schools, to work, to celebrate festivals, destroying their crops, and even not letting the sick and injured from getting to the hospitals!

Most Palestinians feel that the Israeli government’s intention is to drive them off the land, and there is a great deal of evidence that this is the goal of many Israeli leaders. However, at the same time, there is a small but determined and supportive minority of Israelis, joined by citizens from throughout the world, who are increasingly coming to the Palestinian Territories in order to show their support against Israeli occupation. These “internationals,” as they are often called, take part in peaceful marches, attempt to help Palestinian farmers harvest their crops despite Israeli military closures, live in refugee camps in the hope that their presence will prevent Israeli invasions and shelling, and walk children to school. The result? They are sometimes beaten, shot, and even killed.

Meanwhile, the semblance of Palestinian autonomy continues. There have been attempts to improve the situation such as the Elections that were held in January 2005, resulting in new Palestinian leadership that was hoped to be governed under occupation and that will eventually attempt to negotiate Palestinian liberation. Yet even this election demonstrated Israel’s power, as various Palestinian candidates were arrested, detained, and sometimes beaten by Israeli forces. This aspect, however, like so much else, was rarely reported by the American media.

Regardless of whether one considers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a border dispute, an ethnic conflict, a religious war, an anti-colonial struggle, or a combination of the above, what emerges from various studies is that without a fair and satisfactory- a mutually agreed upon settlement to the dispute, there can be no end to the conflict. And maybe the United Nations needs to step in and take control of the situation. A negotiated two-state solution with an administrative arrangement for a common capital of both states seems to be a reasonable possibility. It’s time that the Policy makers take responsibility and control of the situation and put this conflict to a rest.
–SAKSHI RAINA
TYBMM


WEBLIOGRAPHY:

Menachem Klein. The Shift: Israel-Palestine from Border Struggle to Ethnic Conflict. New York: Columbia University Press. 2010.

“Under orders from Defence Minister Yitzhak Rabin, ‘Soldiers armed with cudgels beat up those they could lay their hands on regardless of whether they were demonstrators, or not, breaking into homes by day and night, dragging men and women, young and old, from their beds to beat them. At Gaza’s Shifa Hospital 200 people were treated during the first five days of the new policy, most of them suffering from broken elbows and knees. Three had fractured skulls.’” (PALESTINE AND ISRAEL: THE UPRISING AND BEYOND, David McDowall, University of California Press, 1989, p. 7.)

 

 


[1] … argues senior lecturer in political science at Ben Gurion University, Menachem Klein, in his fittingly entitled The Shift: Israel-Palestine From Border Struggle to Ethnic Conflict (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010)

[2] “Under orders from Defence Minister Yitzhak Rabin, ‘Soldiers armed with cudgels beat up those they could lay their hands on regardless of whether they were demonstrators, or not, breaking into homes by day and night, dragging men and women, young and old, from their beds to beat them. At Gaza’s Shifa Hospital 200 people were treated during the first five days of the new policy, most of them suffering from broken elbows and knees. Three had fractured skulls.’” (PALESTINE AND ISRAEL: THE UPRISING AND BEYOND, David McDowall, University of California Press, 1989, p. 7.)

 

Gandhian Hunger Strike is the Way for Palestine

By Niyati Agrawal

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is dated back to the 20th Century. Palestinians have been fighting for a long time to attain independence. The struggle has been long and has used many means which have been both violent and non-violent. The recent being hunger strikes.

Many revolutionary hunger strikes trace their inspiration to the Indian freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi. Hunger strike for the longest time known is a non-violent way of protest, which will compel the authorities to succumb to your demands. After all which establishment wants their reputation to suffer? To add on to the seriousness of it, the World Medical Association has termed force-feeding as a degrading and inhumane practice during a hunger strike. While the hunger strikes of Palestinian prisoners may not be directly be instigated by Gandhi, the agenda and the driving force remains the same. Freedom.

The hunger strikes for the first time in Israel prison were recorded in the year 1998, when the protest was simultaneously carried out in nine different prisons of Israel. The month long strike was backed by a mass protest in areas of Palestine, where 7 Palestinians were killed, 1000 wounded and around 60 Israelis were also injured. The strike ended after the Israeli authorities agreed to review the complaints of the prisoners. In April 2012, a prisoner Khader Adnan was released from the Israeli prison after fasting for sixty six days.

February 2012 saw a huge mass hunger strike when approximately 1800 prisoners went on fast to protest against the “administrative detention”. Israel has been carrying out the atrocity of “administrative detention” for quite some time now. In this practice Palestinians are captured and detained without trial on the grounds of threat to security. The prisoner can also be sent into solitary confinement and restrictions can be put on family visits.

This fast was however ended in May 2012, when it was reported that the prisoners have reached a deal with the Israeli prison authorities. According to the deal, the detention can extend only up to tenure of six months. After which if evidence and crime not proven, the prisoner needs to be set free. Also the conditions of the inmates of the prisoners were to be improved.

The most recent example of the positive outcome of these non violent protests is when two prisoners called off their hunger strike on 27th February 2013. They were a part of a group four prisoners who were on strike. The other two prisoners are now admitted in medical care as their health was deteriorating. The hunger strike of these two prisoners had also given rise to a violent protest resulting in the death of six Palestinians. The Israeli authorities have promised to release these them by the 21st May 2013.

This brings us down to the observation that need freedom, need change – hunger strike is the way. But should that be the case? Is barring oneself from the human right to food the only path to attaining other human right of freedom from torture and the right to free trial? Or will there be a sustainable solution?

References:

The impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on Palestinian children

By- Ruchi Nandu

Living in war-torn areas is a reality that many people face throughout the world (Qouta & El-Sarraj, 2004). Hundreds of thousands are affected every year, including the victims of the conflicts, their relatives and friends, disaster workers and eye witnesses. Palestinians are the largest group of refugees in the world, one in three refugees worldwide is a Palestinian. It is estimated that there are about 6.5 million Palestinian refugees in the world (Ministry of Health, 2005).

Out of the 4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, around 53% are children. They are among the victims of the ongoing violence, not only by being killed or injured by Israeli forces or internal armed groups, but also by being psychologically affected by acts of violence hitting them or their relatives and friends. The conflict has a severe impact on children’s possibilities to live a safe and healthy life, and most of them see their right to education, health or an adequate standard of living violated on a daily basis.

In 1967, on the sixth day of war, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.  Since then, periods of conflict of various intensities followed up. During the 90’s, the economic and political situation had improved but after a decade, since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada, the situation worsened. In response to resurgence of the conflict by Palestine, Israel started imposing mobility restrictions through different security measures which are closing of borders (entry of Palestinians), curfews and sieges. All these restrictions, made it difficult for Palestinian workers who were employed in Israel to reach their workplaces, which affected the entire Palestinian economy.

The reason for which the conflict has an effect the children’s status is closing of borders (entry of Palestinians) is expected to effect children belonging to households whose father are employed in Israel. In addition, due to the closing of borders caused a drop in the household earnings. The reduction in the household income increased child labour and reduced school attendance.

In addition, due to low income, malnutrition problem is high in Palestinian territories. According to the World Bank, food consumption in the Palestinian Territories fell by more than 25 per cent per capita, and food shortages particularly of proteins, were reported. A 2007, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics poll of Palestinian children in the West Bank and Gaza found that as a result of poverty about 10 percent of Palestinian children suffer permanent effects from malnutrition, including especially stunted growth.

After the conflict, children still suffer through the post traumatic stress disorder. Gaza Community Health Programs carried out a study and found that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) rate for children in Gaza was that 54% suffered from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, 33.5% from moderate and 11% from mild and doubtful levels of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The psychological well-being future of Palestinian children is at risk of being compromised by on-going traumatic experiences. To avoid the risk, the support of family, friends, relatives, teachers, and spiritual leaders can be of great help to the children. In addition, governmental and NGO institutions can also help to ease the effects of the difficult living conditions and chronic trauma suffered by the Palestinian children.

References:

  1. http://www.warchild.org/projects/WC_Holland/Israel_Palestine/israel_palestine.html
  2. http://watchlist.org/the-impact-of-conflict-on-children-in-occupied-palestinian-territory-and-israel/
  3. http://en.ptcgaza.com/files/2011/05/Chapter-in-Book1-The-effects-of-Chronic-Trauma-in-Palestine.pdf
  4. http://www.pratiquesciencessociales.net/upload/thabet.pdf

 

 

Will there ever be an end to the this conflict?

Will there ever be an end to the this conflict?

The Israel – Palestine conflict is a deep-rooted conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians that dates back to the nineteenth century and turned violent in 1920. The struggle between  the two began when Jews started migrating in significant numbers to Palestine under Ottoman Turkish rule. A small, extremist group of religious fundamentalist Jews who believe in the Old Testament, that Israel and the occupied territories belongs, by right, to the Jews. And the only solution is for Palestinians to give up all claims of ownership. Israel however being a liberal democracy has been ruling by coalition government. And  the Middle East is currently fighting for liberal democracy.

The struggle between the two later led to  a number of issues like mutual recognition, borders, security, water rights, control of Jerusalem, Israeli settlements etc. The violence amounted from this conflict has lead to  international actions, as well as other security and human rights concerns, both within and between both sides, and internationally.

The Palestinian National Authority separated and split into two groups. Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza strip. Hamas a militant who is in control of the Gaza, aims at destroying Israel.  This rivalry in the Palestine territories between the two groups has basically formed to two administrations leaving Fatah party controlling the West Bank and Hamas controlling Gaza. Hamas has rejected to create peace with Israel and has renounced violence. The Palestinians occupy fifty percent in the West Bank and Gaza occupies 2.1 million of refuges who live in crowded camps. The socio-economic conditions in Gaza is getting worst and the increasing population is dependent on food aid.  Though the roadmap called for a stop to Israeli settlement activity, Israel continues to build within settlements in the West Bank and in Arab East Jerusalem.

Despite of a number of attempts there is no end to conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians and neither any settlement. Moreover, the Road Map for Peace, a peace proposal that was put forth by the United Nations, Europe, Russia and United States of America has not been achieved.

The agreement signed in May 2011 by the Fatah and Hamas to form a unity government failed since Israel acclaimed that it would reject the government that included Hamas.

The life in these territories is only deteriorating.

In the end of 2008, Israel initiated a major operation in Gaza which was one of the biggest in offensive, killing hundreds including several civilians in order to stop the Hamas militants from firing rockets in the Jewish state.

Both the sides merely get together to come to a conclusion. The rivalry by both the ends only increases violence and serves no purpose. Life in the both the territories is only getting worst.

What can be done to stop this conflict? Enough of bloodshed now. When will this war come to an end?

I think it’s time Israel and Palestine start working together rather than dwelling on the past.

NAKITA VADASSERY

TYBMM JOURNALISM 3760

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