Genocide in Gaza
Two peoples, Arab Palestinians and Jewish Israelis have been suffering from an ongoing dispute at the heart of the Arab and Israeli conflict. The Land of Israel or Palestine is the source and cause of the abovementioned dispute, whose right of sovereignty has been claimed by these two entities for a long period.
Throughout history, this area has witnessed many conflicts among the people, who have inhabited it for centuries. In the late 19th century, the genocide of Gaza started in the Arab region. The desire, in which, the creation of a modern state in the ancient homeland of Zionist Jews was expressed by the inhabitants. In this regard, the land witnessed their settlement, and subsequently, the Ottoman Empire controlled it. This is noted as the beginning of the Gaza conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Both sides have been involved in a number of controversies, as well as, the violence regarding the issue. Throughout the 20th century, negotiations concerning the peace in the region were also held between the two sides, which are continued in the present. However, the conflict on the right of sovereignty of the abovementioned land has been the same since its first day. In this regard, both Israelis, as well as, the Palestinians regarding the sacred piece of land of both the divisions have made nationalistic claims. (Gelvin, 2005)
History, culture, religion, ethnicity, and several similar grounds have been the base of both the sides in their claims. The sovereignty of most of the land is represented by the State of Israel, as surrounding Arab armies were defeated by their establishment. In this regard, two major wars have been the cause of the sovereignty of Israel over most of the land. The Arab-Israeli War in the year 1948 is one of the major wars, which was followed by a Six Day War in the year 1967.
On the other hand, sovereignty and control over some parts or all parts of the sacred land is being sought by the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as well as, the Palestinian Authority. In the point of view of the Palestinians, an independent and their own sovereign state should be established on the discussed land, which is in the control of Israelis.
In this regard, the Gaza Strip, as well as, the West Bank has been accepted by most of the Palestinians to be their territory, which will be surrounding their future state in the Arab region. Interestingly, this solution has also been accepted by the Israelis. The Oslo peace process can be seen as an attempt for the accomplishment of this solution. Negotiations were held between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Israel, during which, no mutual agreement could be made by both the parties.
In both communities, total removal, and sometimes, transfer of the other party and community is advocated by some individuals and groups. However, a one state solution has been advocated by a small minority, in which, a bi-national state would comprise of both Israelis, as well as, the Palestinians. In this case, equal citizenship of the land will be provided to the residents of both the parties. Unfortunately, successful and peaceful resolution could not be made in this small area of the world. In the result, the irritation of the conflict has been increased in the past decades. Several attempts have been made from the both sides in the past, and are being made in the present, but could not bring these two entities to one mutual solution. In the result, the entire Middle Eastern region is being impacted negatively by this genocide of the Gaza.
Historical Context and Origin of Conflict
After the World War II, a major international issue was considered the conflict that was festering between the Jewish and Arab peoples in the Middle Eastern region. A two-state solution was initiated with the determination of the United Nations, which was supported by the United States, as well as, the Soviet Union. In the year 1948, action was taken in the light of the United Nations mandated partition. However, a number of Arabian states and Palestinians rejected the proposal. (Rubin, 1981)
On May 14, 1948, independence was declared by the Israel. Subsequently, the nascent nation was confronted with the declaration of war from the Iraq, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and the Egypt. During the year, the Arab and Israel confronted during a war, and in the result, Israeli borders were greatly expanded by the conclusion of the war. In addition, ceasefire agreements were also signed by all the Arabian neighboring states.
During this time, Israel witnessed a momentous exodus that was done by the Palestinians. Similarly, Arab lands also witnessed an even significant migration of the Jewish population from their region. The long-term groundwork for the conflict of Israelis and Palestinians was supported by the changes that occurred in the demographics. Since, the size of the Jewish population was increased drastically, and a problem for the refugees of Palestine was created in the region. (Rubin, 1981)
By the end of the year 1949, Israel was remained with only 150,000 Palestinians. During this time, a back seat was taken by the conflict between the two entities, which was taken as a conflict of Arab states and the Israel in the broader terms. During the conflict between the Egypt and the Israel, a crucial role was played by the Palestinians.
In the year 1955, Israeli targets were raided by the Egyptian guerillas, which was near the border of Egypt and Israel at the Gaza. In this way, a war of proxy was conducted by the Egypt against the Israel. However, the Egypt was defeated by the Israel, and in the result, lost its Gaza Strip at the hands of Israel. Similarly, Jordan lost the West Bank after the Six-Day War, which took place between the Israel and the Arabian states in the Middle Eastern region. (Rubin, 1981)
In the year 1993, endeavors were made by Palestine Liberation Organization, which was comprised of both Israeli, as well as, the Palestinian leaders. The conflict of the Israel and Palestinian was discussed, in order to achieve a peaceful and mutual solution by the leaders. The Oslo peace process has been referred to this endeavor of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Perhaps, the letter that was made by the Yasser Arafat, which recognized the right of Israel to exist in the region, was the most important milestone of that period. The control of the Palestinian territories would be give up by the Israel, in order to attain peace in the region, was one of the cruxes of the Oslo agreement between the two parties. However, agreement was failed when the leaders were not mutual on its grounds. Particularly, the status of Jerusalem appeared to be the main obstacle that caused its failure. (Finkelstein, 2003)
On September 17, 2002, the Road map proposal for the peace in the region was proposed by the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, and the Russia. In the reply, fourteen reservations were made in the proposal, and then were accepted by the Israel. However, the proposal was rejected by the Palestinian government on the grounds of these fourteen Israeli reservations. (Finkelstein, 2003)
In the year 2005, former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon proposed a disengagement plan, which was meant for the creation of controversy. In this regard, Gaza Strip witnessed the removal of the entire civilian, as well as, the military population of the Israel from its region. However, the external envelope was guarded and supervised by the Israel continuously. In addition, exclusive control in Gaza’s air space was also maintained by the Israel. (Gelvin, 2005)
It was argued by the Israeli government that the claim would not be made by the Palestinians due to no grounds that may prove the Gaza Strip as an occupied territory by the Israel. In addition, the situation in the West Bank was also maintained by the Israel, and the Israeli West Bank Barrier was permitted to be completed by the Israel.
After that, the Operation Summer Rains was launched by the Israel, as the Israeli civil population was confronting repeated rocket attacks of the Qassam. In addition, a 19-year old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was also kidnapped by the Palestinians, which forced the Israelis to launch the abovementioned operation against them. In the result, the Gaza Strip was once again dominated by the reinstituted Israel effectively. (Gelvin, 2005)
The peace process was intricate by the acts of terrorism and disengagement of the parties. The peace agreement was further complicated by the post of Prime Minister that was ascended by Ismail Haniyeh. In the elections for Palestinian Legislative Council, which occurred in the year 2006, the Hamas won that also provided problematic issues for the continuity of peace in the region. One of the reasons of complication was that the Israel’s right of existence in the region was openly rejected by the Hamas, and opposition was declared politically. (Tal, 2004)
In early 2007, the Saudi Arabia witnessed the formation of a new unity government that was reached by an agreement between the two leaders, Fatah and Hamas. Later, resignation was given by Haniyeh, and in the month of March 2007, both Fatah and Hamas took their office in a new unity coalition government. In this regard, the role of the Palestinian National Authority as a credible negotiating authority was argued and discussed among a number of foreign governments, as well as, the organizations. Lifting of diplomatic and economic sanctions was also argued and debated among these countries and organizations. On April 25, 2007, a final peace solution was expected, as obstacles regarding the Israel and Palestinian conflict were discussed by the officials of Israel and Palestinian.
Legal Perspective and the International Law
In many important respects, the domestic law is different from the International law. However, a formal structure similar to the domestic law has been relied for the application and interpretation of the International law. Moral, religious, and historical arguments have also been distinct from the legal arguments. However, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been surrounded by all the abovementioned arguments.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been debated by the arguments regarding the application and interpretation of the various elements that have been governed by the International law. Some of the arguments of the observers have been discussed in this regard. The legitimacy and the role that has been played by the Israeli settlements is one of the main characteristics of the conflict, which should be discussed and argued in detail. (Karsh, 2002)
Israeli settlements in the disputed territories of the Middle Eastern region were sometimes challenged, as well as, supported legitimately by various countries and organizations. However, these settlements have been done legally. In addition, the future status of the disputed territories, as well as, their populations centers of the Palestinian have not been impact by the placement, population, or size of the Israeli settlements in the region.
In recent months, nearly every ceasefire and efforts that have been made diplomatically, in order to achieve peace in the conflict, have failed due to the re-emerging or the Israeli settlements in the region. In the year 2001, the questions of these settlements have been raised by the Mitchell Report. In addition, illegal Israeli settlements were condemned in the United Nations General Assembly session in the year 2002. (Gelvin, 2005)
In fact, these settlements have confronted a number of criticisms, in which, the persistence of the Israel and Palestinian conflict was attributed to the Israeli policy and its settlements in the region. These claims were made legally and it was reported that international law and norms were violated by these illegitimate actions of the Israel.
In this regard, it is very important to evaluate these settlements, in order to understand the role of the Israeli settlements that whether they are fueling the conflict or solving it for the attainment of the peace. It has been noted that less than two percent of the West Bank has been covered by these settlements. In the year 2000, the Peace Now organization reported that only 1.36 percent of the West Bank was held by the Israeli settlements. In truth, any political or geographic eventuality has not been confronted with these settlements, as not enough land is covered by these settlements. (Finkelstein, 2003)
Secondly, the eventual establishment of a contiguous entity of the Palestinian was not blocked by these settlements. In the West Bank, it has been argued by some critics that the potential for a contiguous state of the Palestinian was blocked by the settlements, and in the result, peace was prevented by it. However, certain basic realities were ignored by this claim of the critics. Therefore, in the light of these facts and realities, we cannot say that Israeli settlements in the region are obstacles for the peace in the region.
In order to understand the legality of the conflict in detail, we should discuss the legitimacy of these Israeli settlements on legal perspective. It has been noted that the said occupied territory is not comprise of the Israeli settlements. In addition, the League of Nations Mandate divided the occupied territory in the West Bank, the Gaza, and the region of Israel, which was the last binding international legal instrument. In the context of the British mandate, the Jewish national home was allocated with the right of the Jewish settlements explicitly. Under the Article 49 of the United Nations Charter, the successor organization to the League of Nations preserved these rights of the Jewish entity under the British mandate.
In addition, legitimate historical claims have been exercising by both Israel and Palestinians, who have been disputing over the Gaza and the West Bank. Prior to 1967, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was not having any sovereignty of the Palestinians. However, a deep and historical attachment has been of the Jews with the land, and therefore, equal legal claims are being made by the Jews, as compared to the Palestinians. In other words, these areas can be used to build homes by the Jews, as communities of the Palestinians have built their homes in this land. (Finkelstein, 2003)
In order to discuss more legally, it has been noted that a defensive war was used by the Israel, in order to capture the territory of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Therefore, under the International law, the territory was acquired by legal means. In fact, the only legal acquisition of the territory was done by the seizing of this land by the Israel in the year 1967.
It has been argued that a full Israeli withdrawal is required from the land according to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which is very incorrect. In this case, unlawful means were aimed by many observers to do the misinterpretation of the Resolution 242, which would be done, in order to deprive the legal rights of the Israel in the disputed areas of the Middle Eastern region. (Karsh, 2002)
In this regard, a significant flaw has been founded in the assumption, as well as, the conclusion of this incorrect argument. An undefined withdrawal from a portion of the land is called by the Resolution 242, and secure and recognized boundaries are required to its extent. In this regard, the majority of the land that was captured by the Israel has already been withdrawn. Over the last 30 years, the Israel’s Ministry of Defense performed the determination of the Israeli settlements and its specific locations by itself during the negotiations that were held between the two parties with relation to the conflict. (Gilbert, 2002)
In other legal perspectives, the Fourth Geneva Convention of the year 1949 was also violated by the Israeli settlements with the relation to the Genocide of Gaza according to the three emergency special sessions of the United National General Assembly, which were held recently. During the year 1998, in Jerusalem, the case of condominium construction invoked these international humanitarian bodies for the prevention of genocidal oppression in the region. However, this settlement construction of the Israel was not a violation of the Geneva Convention. (Finkelstein, 2003)
The transferring population is prohibited of any occupying power in the occupied territory according to the relevant clause of the Geneva Convention, Article 49. The forcible transfer of large populations was referred by the clause, according to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. By contrast, the voluntary movement of civilians was involved in these settlements. For this reason, the legitimacy of the Israeli settlements has been supported by the United States, even though criticism has been noted by successive administrations on different political grounds. (Karsh, 2002)
Another important legitimate aspect of the conflict of the Israel and Palestinian is the Oslo agreement, which is often considered as violated by the settlements of the Israel. However, the legal scope of the Oslo Agreements was remained intact with the growth of these settlements. In Area A, planning and zoning rights were acquired by the Palestinians. Similarly, planning and zoning rights of the Area C were acquired by the Jewish populations. Indeed, the final status negotiations had to decide and address the legal status of the settlements of both Palestinians, as well as, the Israel in the region. Unfortunately, the negotiations were not able to hold between the two parties, which could prove the legitimacy in the region. (Gilbert, 2002)
On October 5, 1995, commitment was made by the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin during the ratification of the Interim Agreement at the session of Knesset. In this regard, no single settlement would be uprooted in the interim agreement’s framework. In addition, it was also committed by the late Prime Minister that building of natural growth would not be hindered by the state. On this understand, the Agreement was approved by the Knesset. (Gilbert, 2002)
In these disputed territories of the Middle Eastern region, the Israeli settlements can be supported or challenged legitimately. However, illegal means cannot be provided by these challenges. In other words, the future status of these disputed territories will be in impact by the placement, the size, and the population of the Israeli settlements, which is one of the main aspects of the Genocide of the Gaza. (Karsh, 2002)
We have tried to define, understand, discuss, and analyze different perspectives of the conflict that is going on between the Israel and the Palestinians for several decades. The peace of the Middle Eastern region has also been impact due to this historical conflict of the region. In this regard, we hope that our study will help the future studies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict of the Middle Eastern region, which has also been referred as the Genocide in the Gaza.
Barry M. Rubin. (1981) the Arab States and the Palestine Conflict. Syracuse University Press.
David Tal. (2004) War and Palestine, 1948: Strategy and Diplomacy. Routledge.
Efraim Karsh. (2002) the Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Palestine War 1948. Osprey Publishing.
James L. Gelvin. (2005) the Israel-Palestine Conflict: One Hundred Years of War. Cambridge University Press.
Norman G. Finkelstein. (2003) Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. Verso.
Sir Martin Gilbert. (2002) the Routledge Atlas of Arab-Israeli Conflict. Routledge.