Israel Breaks Fragile Ceasefire in Yet Another Violation of Human Rights Law
By: MPAC Policy Interns, Maryam Alwan, Leela Cullity, Hesham Jarmakani, and Mohammad Qazwini
Israel Violates UN Human Rights Law
The United Nations classifies human rights as: “rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more.” When the world looks towards the abuses carried out by the Israeli state against the Palestinian people, we see the gross violation of many of those rights outlined by the UN. Palestinians were denied the right to life when they were brutally murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). They were denied the right to liberty when their citizenship was revoked and they could not flee from the terror through legal means. They were denied freedom from torture when little children had to watch their parents, siblings, uncles, and aunts be murdered before their eyes, leaving them alone in this world. These are just some examples, because if one were to list out all of Israel’s human rights abuses, the list would never end, as they continue these abuses every single day. Just this week, Israeli Zionists marched on Jerusalem chanting “Death to the Arabs” while their government continued to bombard the Palestinian people with missiles. Intent on completely eradicating the Palestinian people, the settler state has taken no heed to the supposed ceasefire and continu in ed their inhumane tirade. As the Washington Post reports, “several dozen youths jumping and waving their hands in the air chanted: “Death to Arabs!” In another anti-Arab chant, they yelled: “May your village burn.” Many have stopped advocating for the issue since the beginning of the supposed ceasefire, believing the fight to be over. This fight, however, is far from over. Now more than ever, we need the citizens of the world to speak up against Israel’s abhorrent human rights abuses so that we may put an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people once and for all.
Israel Violates The United States Human Rights Standards
On June 15th, 2021, Israel fired a barrage of missiles into Gaza. Reports claim the missiles were launched after “incendiary balloons” found their way into Israel. The response by the Israeli government was to launch an airstrike on Gaza and her people — an already struggling populace drained from Israel-imposed embargoes on basic supplies and constant attacks.
The U.S. constitution defines three unalienable rights; “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and says that all humans are granted these rights by the divine Creator. Nearly 250 lives in Gaza have been taken by a week of constant bombardments at the hands of the Israeli government. The lives of men, women, and children were violently and cruelly extinguished. Where was their unalienable right to life?
Approximately 97% of Gaza’s water is considered unfit for human consumption, and residents of Gaza are not permitted to leave their territory. Gazans are denied basic human rights and are stripped of their dignity by being forced to reside in an open air prison. Additionally, the Israeli government counts the number of calories that enter Gaza each day to limit the amount of food and nutrition they receive. Furthermore, Israel is the only country in the world that places children in military courts. Where is their unalienable right to liberty?
Children in Gaza are currently living through traumatic experiences. While Western psychologists are labelling this behavior as “post traumatic stress disorder,” children in Gaza are constantly reminded of the violence and chaos surrounding their existence — there is no period following the trauma to consider it a post-event. Children wake up screaming and are either extrajudicially slaughtered or left to recollect the murder of their classmates, their friends, and their families. Palestinian children who are only 14 years old have had to live through five conflicts; the First Intifada, the Second Intifada, the 2014 Gaza War, the March of Return, and the current bombardment of missiles from Israel in 2021. When will the children of Gaza be granted the opportunity to be children? Where is their unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness?
If we truly are a nation that prides itself on our commitment to upholding the dignity of human life, then we must collectively come together to bring about the end of this occupation. Palestinians are being evicted from their homes, killed in the hundreds, and are denied their basic human rights. Gaza is an open air prison that is uninhabitable, and Palestinians are stripped of their due process, their dignity, and their humanity. We strongly implore the United States of America as well as the international community to intervene and broker a true, long-lasting, sustainable peace to bring an end to this violence that continues to show our inhumanity as the chaos worsens.
IDF VS Hamas: An Unjust Comparison
On Tuesday June 15th, 2021, Israel held its annual provocative “Flag March,” providing military backing to settlers who paraded through Occupied East Jerusalem, injured over 30 Palestinians, and explicitly called for genocide. To make matters worse, it broke the 4-week ceasefire and bombed Gaza. If the events of last month — wherein nearly 300 Palestinians were killed as opposed to 12 Israelis — did not already make it clear, this week’s events are further evidence that this is not an equal “conflict.” Despite clear international law violations and a brutal apartheid system — as corroborated by human rights organizations — both the U.S. government and mainstream media perpetuate a harmful false narrative that contravenes our American values.
The fiscal and military strength of the Israeli apparatus is incomparable to that of Hamas, which is confined to a besieged strip of land lacking sufficient basic resources — let alone rivaling weaponry. Moreover, abhorrent as its attacks may be, Hamas acts out of resistance rather than incitement — key context that must not be ignored. For far too long, American leadership and media have been complicit in framing every blatant human rights abuse as “self-defense”. Continuing to do so now would grant impunity to state-sanctioned violent mobs and mass forced dispossession in East Jerusalem, an area over which Israel has no jurisdiction under international law.
Regarding last week’s situation, Hamas released incendiary balloons over the border, an ultimately harmless action that can only be characterized as a symbolic reaction to the attack on Jerusalem. Yet, per usual, most headlines have pointed the finger at Hamas, conveniently beginning the timeline of events with their response and not Israel’s escalation. We urge our government officials to refrain from doing the same.
The United States holds indisputable influence on the world stage; in the context of Israel-Palestine, we continually abuse this responsibility by siding with the oppressor — not just with our billion-dollar aid packages, but our mischaracterization of the situation. This is evident in everything from our distracting fixation on “Palestinian terrorism” to vague and misleading headlines such as “Rockets kill 2 Israelis; 28 die in Gaza as Israel hits Hamas.” Government speeches and TV interviews completely warp public perception and policy, and when we wield the power that we do, we have an especially pressing duty to tell the truth and to act. Billions of people look up to us for championing liberty and justice for all — who are we to let them down?
If we turn a blind eye yet again, this unsustainable cycle of aggression will continue to churn. A fragile ceasefire — which is so easily broken, as we see in recent events — is not enough; for Palestinians, the status quo under occupation is inherently violent. Even Israelis are less safe living in this unstable system where backlash is inevitable. Liberation and equality of Palestinian people goes hand-in-hand with Israeli Jewish and Christian security and well-being. Indeed, we cannot achieve enduring peace without advocating for justice, which first requires recognizing the oppressive situation for what it is. After all, a doctor cannot heal a patient if they misdiagnose their illness.