It's Time to Eliminate Weapons in the Israel-Palestine Conflict
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Israel is the world's only Jewish state, located in the east of the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians, the Arab population that hails from the land Israel now controls, refer to the territory as Palestine, and wants to establish a state by that name. The Israel-Palestine conflict is over who gets what land and how it is controlled.
To learn more about this conflict, we need to look at its history. After the Holocaust, six million Jewish people were killed, and more Jewish people wanted to establish their own country. They were given a large part of Palestine, which they considered their traditional home but the Arabs who already lived there and in neighbouring countries resisted, they felt it was unfair and they saw the land as rightfully theirs.
In 1948, the two sides went to war. The Arab states of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria declared war on Israel. When Israeli forces defeated the Palestinian militias and Arab armies, it turned 700,000 Palestinian civilians into refugees. The UN promised 56 percent of British Palestine for the Jewish state, by the end of the war, Israel possessed 77 percent, everything except the West Bank and the eastern quarter of Jerusalem (controlled by Jordan), as well as the Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt). Palestinians call this mass eviction the Nakba, in Arabic, it means catastrophe. The war left Israelis with a state, but not Palestinians.
The two sides went to war again in 1967. The 1967 war left Israel in control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, two territories home to large Palestinian populations. Today, the West Bank is under Israeli occupation. This comes in the form of Israeli troops, who enforce Israeli security restrictions on Palestinian movement and activities, and Israeli "settlers," Jews who build expanding communities in the West Bank that effectively deny the land to Palestinians.
Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees. Palestine refugees only want justice, they want to return to the homes their families abandoned in 1948. However, Israel refuses to even consider including the right to return in any final status deal, just because they don't want to loose their Jewish or democratic identity.
To all the refugees that try to claim back their land, Israel answers with violence. In 2008, Israel sent soldiers into Gaza. An estimated 1,300 people, many of them innocent civilians, were killed before a ceasefire was declared. In July 2014, authorities said over 2,200 people were killed - most of them Palestinians - and many more injured, during 50 days of violence. In May 2017, Palestinian health officials say more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and 10,000 injured by Israeli troops over a series of protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. All of these deaths have one thing in common, they were caused by weapons.
Throughout the years of conflict, Israel has used all kinds of conventional weapons to kill and injure Palestinians. It targets innocent people with tear gas grenades, rubber-coated bullets and live ammunition, and carries out mass arrests and extrajudicial killings. Israel has violated the Article 5 of the UDHR, which states “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” As torture has devastating consequences for its victims, the international prohibition against it is absolute. However, Israel continues to torture innocent Palestinians and worsening their physical, mental and emotional well-being, destroying their capacity to pursue fulfilment and happiness.
This violence and destruction is made possible by Israel’s extreme trade in arms with dozens of countries. According to Amnesty International, The US is by far Israel’s main supplier of military equipment and technology, with a commitment to provide $38 billion in military aid over the next 10 years. Last year, the United States allocated US$3.1 billion in military aid to Israel. But other countries, including EU member states such as France, Germany, the UK and Italy, have licensed large volumes of military equipment for Israel. In 2017 alone, the UK government granted more than £289 million worth of licenses for the export of arms and military technology to Israel.
If Israel wasn’t armed by other countries and didn’t have all of its high-tech weapons, their attacks on Palestine would decrease, less people would have to suffer and die and this conflict might soon have an end. This means the specific international law need to be enforced is the Arms Trade Treaty. ATT is a multilateral treaty that regulates the international trade in conventional weapons for the purpose of contributing to international and regional peace; reducing human suffering; and promoting cooperation, transparency, and responsible action by and among states.
Help us take action by signing this petition, and raising awareness to international organisations to stop countries from arming Israel and end the suffering of innocent Palestinians.
Beauchamp, Z. (2018, May 14). Everything you need to know about Israel-Palestine. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/cards/israel-palestine/intro
BBC. (2015, February 20). Guide: Why are Israel and the Palestinians fighting over Gaza? Retrieved from https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/20436092
War on Want (n.d.). Stop Arming Israel. Retrieved from https://waronwant.org/stop-arming-israel
The Palestine Chronicle (2018, April 26). NGO: Israel Could Be Using British Weapons to Kill Palestinian Protesters in Gaza. Retrieved from http://www.palestinechronicle.com/british-arms-feared-used-by-israel-against-gaza-protesters/
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