Kuwait Community

20 November 2023

Ongoing Crisis: The Cruelty and Lack of Rights Palestinians Live 

By Caleb Sanders

Introduction

The Israeli-Palestinian situation is an ongoing and deeply rooted issue with a long history, although it is not hard to see who needs our help. It has led to countless casualties, widespread suffering, and an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Palestine, where people have far fewer rights than the Israeli people who are occupying their land. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key concerns surrounding this situation, including civilian casualties, an illegal blockade on Gaza, actions that amount to apartheid, persecution, and other war crimes committed by Israel, like the use of white phosphorus, starvation as a method of war and collective punishment.

Civilian Killings by the Israeli Military

One of the most distressing aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian situation is the high number of civilian casualties. Tragically, civilians, including children, have lost their lives as a result. What makes this even more heartbreaking is the lack of ample warning before attacks from Israel and, sometimes, there is no warning at all. Evidence has emerged of Israel’s bombings even targeting civilian markets, residences, hospitals and schools, even when there are no signs of a military presence nearby, despite Israel’s reasoning for such actions. Since October 7, over 13,000 people have lost their lives, with over 5000 of them being children. Over 25,000 individuals have been seriously injured. These figures are confirmed by the Gaza Health Ministry and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These are only deaths after October 7, 2023.

Illegal and Inhumane Blockade on Gaza

Gaza has been under a blockade that has caused immense suffering to its population. The Israeli government has imposed severe restrictions on the flow of essential resources, including water and fuel, into Gaza. Additionally, they have been blocking humanitarian aid from entering the region. These actions are in response to Hamas’s actions, but it is crucial to remember that Palestinian civilians are bearing the brunt of these measures. Under international law, Israel, as an occupying power, is obligated to provide basic needs to Gaza. Failing to do so is considered a war crime, as it amounts to collective punishment and starvation as a method of war. This situation is exacerbating the already dire state of Gaza’s hospitals and causing more casualties.

The blockade on Gaza started in 2005, following Israeli settlers being evicted and sent out of Palestinian territory. It started as a temporary measure to combat the violence caused by Hamas by cutting off their fuel supply and ability to cross borders illegally. In 2007, the blockade became permanent, and tighter restrictions were placed. Israel and Egypt both enforced this blockade, with the reasoning being to cripple Hamas’s infrastructure. However, they were also restricting innocent civilians from accessing their basic needs like clean water, electricity and food. After Oct 8, 2023 restrictions became even harsher when most humanitarian aid was no longer allowed to enter Gaza despite the starving and dying civilian population. 

Apartheid and Persecution

The term “apartheid” has been used to describe the situation in Israel and occupied territories. Apartheid refers to inhumane acts committed to establish and maintain domination by one racial group over another, systematically oppressing the latter. Many rights have been taken away from Palestinians, leaving them impoverished, insecure, oppressed, and in a constant state of fear. This systemic discrimination and oppression can be seen as a means to privilege Israelis over Palestinians. 

Persecution is also evident in cases like the tragic death of Hajj Suleiman, an elderly Palestinian human rights activist in the occupied West Bank who was run over by a police toe truck while protesting Israel’s theft of Palestinian cars in his village of Umm al-Khair. The police didn’t stop to help Suleiman or call for medical help. On January 16, Suleiman died from his injuries. Police never questioned the tow truck driver.

Another example took place on December 25, 2021, when armed settlers attacked a 20-year-old Palestinian shepherd, Isma’il Awad, and his family using bats and fists in the northern Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank. When Israeli soldiers showed up, they arrested Awad and seven other members of his family rather than the settlers. At the military base where the soldiers took them, the family members were beaten by settlers again. Four of the eight were released the same day without charge, while the others were held for four more days before release.

The Use of White Phosphorus

A particularly concerning aspect of the situation is the alleged use of white phosphorus by the Israeli military. White phosphorus is a substance that ignites when in contact with air and is prohibited for use due to its severe health hazards. Israel is using white phosphorus in densely populated neighbourhoods, which is a profoundly troubling issue and constitutes a war crime.

5 Rights and Freedoms Palestinians Have Been Stripped of

1. Freedom of Movement:

Palestinians have been refused their right to movement by not allowing them to travel between the West Bank and Gaza, which has also created a life-threatening risk of entering occupied Palestine by allowing military and Israeli settlers to harass, harm and even kill civilian Palestinians. 

2. Right to Family Life:

The Ban on Family Unification prevents family unification when one spouse is Israeli, and the other is a resident of the occupied territories. This has affected thousands of families.

3. Right to Residency 

Israel enacted a law in March 2018 that empowers the interior minister to terminate the residency of Palestinians in Jerusalem. The reason for terminating the residency is the Palestinian civilian’s “disloyalty” to Israel. Israelis have employed this measure to revoke the status of Palestinians and their relatives as a form of collective punishment when they are suspected of attacking Israelis. These regulations do not extend to the Israeli community.

4. Right to Return

In 1950, Israel passed the Absentees’ Property Law. This law made it so Palestinian refugees from the Arab-Israel war had all of their property confiscated by the Israeli government. 

5. Right to Commemorate Nakba

Nakba, which means catastrophe, is what the Palestinian people refer to Israeli Independence Day as. This is because for this Independence to happen, Israel expelled 700,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948. In 2011, Israel released a law allowing the finance minister rights to reduce funding and support from institutions that hold activities that commemorate Israel’s Independence Day as a day of mourning. This causes harm to the rights of Palestinians to preserve their history and culture. 

Conclusion

Numerous alarming issues, including civilian casualties, an illegal blockade, apartheid, persecution, and other war crimes and crimes against humanity, mark the Israeli-Palestinian situation. The use of white phosphorus and many rights of Palestinian civilians stripped away and violated also call for immediate action against Israel and for the support of Palestinians. Addressing these concerns is crucial to finding a path toward a just and lasting solution that ensures peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians. The international community plays a significant role in advocating for a peaceful resolution to this ongoing crisis. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Canada Kuwait Aid Network.”

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