By Dimitris Kolias,
The crime of Apartheid as defined by the Rome International Criminal Court, in 2002 is the commission of acts similar in character to crimes against humanity, specifically “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systemic oppression by one racial group over any other group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
Today is designated by the UN as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people. In this article we will attempt a journey through one of history’s most bloody ongoing conflicts, and, as we do, the definition above should be kept by the reader firmly in mind, so that they can better contextualize and understand the predicament the Palestinian people find themselves in, daily.
We begin with a brief history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but first a disclaimer.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict extends over most of the 20th century and as previously mentioned is still ongoing to this day. No one can hope to fully and substantially disclose events that have been taking place for more than a hundred years in the span of a single article. Omissions and simplifications of events are bound to happen. The point of this historical summary is to give the reader a frame of reference.
Tensions first began in the area at the turn of the 20th century. At that time claims of a Jewish Homeland in the area of Palestine were first posed. In the subsequent decades especially after WW1 and the Mandate of Palestine, which gave administration pf the area to the British Empire, the tensions grew to armed conflicts. In 1948 the state of Israel declared its independence from the British, amidst the first “official” Palestine war (1947-1949). The current status quo, i.e., the military occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, was established in 1967 following the aftermath of the Six-Day War.
From 1967 to this day numerous solutions have been proposed, many times followed by escalation of violence by one or both sides, so its no wonder that non have been implemented as of yet.
This brings us to the current year. In 2022 the Israeli government has been accused of heavily discriminating against Palestinian citizens. These accusations have been made by multiple NGOs, the Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and of course the UN itself. They include but are not limited to refusing to let covid related medical supplies in the blockaded Gaza strip, restricting water access in the West bank and, the elephant in the room, killing civilians during indiscriminate bombings. It has to be mentioned that this year alone almost forty (40) children have died as a result of Israeli bombings in the occupied territories, as reported by the UN High Commander for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet. Most recently on August 6, 2022, another three children died as a result of a missile strike in Gaza, with the area’s hospitals reporting ever-dwindling medical supplies as was reported in Aljazeera.
At this point some might say that this cover of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one-sided, there is even a trend to denounce critics of Israel’s handling of the situation as antisemites. To this I say that there is no denying that the Jewish people have suffered more that most during the course of human history, but that does not mean that the modern state of Israel should remain criticism-free at all times. After all, no one should equate crimes of a government to the people it represents.
As told before, today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people and we should all use this day to educate ourselves regarding this seemingly endless conflict and hope that sometime in the not so far future peace will prevail in the area and that the suffering of Palestinians will come to an end.
- International Day in Solidarity with the Palestinian People. un.org. Available here
- World: Middle East. bbc.com. Available here
- UN chief says killing of Palestinian children “unconscionable”. aljazeera.com. Available here