Despite the start of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a month of peace within Muslim communities, the brutal treatment of Palestinians continues with full force. Known as the world’s most intractable conflict, numerous attempts have been made to resolve the decades-long issue between Israel and Palestine, yet so far all efforts have failed.
The conflict between the Palestinians and the Jews dates back hundreds of years, to a time where Jews were a minority with Arabs as the leading majority. Tensions between the two groups escalated when the Balfour Declaration was passed, where the British were assigned to establish a home for the Jewish people, which the Arab population greatly opposed. During that time, the Jewish population was increasing at a tremendously high rate, seeing as they were fleeing Europe due to their persecution after the Holocaust.
In 1947, things got progressively worse in terms of the relationship between the groups, with growing uneasiness and increased anxiety as for what the future held. The United Nations attempted to alleviate the tensions by voting for Palestine to be split into two states, yet the proposal was rejected by the Arabs, preventing its implementation. Eventually, in hopes of achieving absolute sovereignty, Jewish leaders officially declared the establishment of Israel, which Palestinian nationalists rejected, initiating the war. Supporters of Israel began forcing people out of their homes, but by switching the narrative, they defended themselves globally by saying the Arabs left voluntary. As time went on, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians left home, where even future generations of those Palestinian families are forced to live in refugee camps rather than the safe and nurturing environment of a home.
The war remains unresolved as Israel has gained control over all the disputed territory apart from the West Bank and Gaza strip. Eventually, through exerting more force and continued violence, Israel defeated Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian forces to control the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The UN refers to these areas as ‘occupied land,’ while Israel claims it to be ‘disputed territory’ and wants its status to be resolved through ‘peaceful negotiation,’ yet their current behaviour contradicts that statement seeing as they willfully kidnap, torture and imprison innocent Palestinians.
The Banana Stress Position is just one of many techniques used by Israeli interrogators torture the Palestinian detainees, which applies to all regardless of their age or gender. When put in the position, an individual hands and legs are tied to the legs of a chair, while interrogators exert pressure on their body from the top, which causes severe pain to the abdomen. Israeli people leave the Palestinian people in the excruciatingly painful position for hours, which brings about unimaginable pain and can lead to permanent effects on a victims mental and physical health. This just gives an outsider an idea of the horrifying situation.
The Israeli occupation forcefully arrests several young people every single day, placing them in detention centers for displaying even the slightest form of patriotism towards Palestine, including the waving of its flag. The Israeli forces see detention as way to enhance the Israeli-Palestinian Peace process even though they are responsible for the brutal assault of innocent people, including children. By specifically targeting journalists who are held in charge of documenting the truth they block the coverage and obstruct their attempts to record them violating human rights, in the hopes of eliminating awareness or intervention. They also actively prevent and consistently shut down all kinds of protests, confiscating possessions and detaining people or dispersing gatherings by spraying crowds with skunk water.
One of the most disheartening things when it comes to the conflict is knowing that one of the biggest supporters of the the Israeli forces is none other than the biggest economic superpower of the world, the United States. Many scholars contend that one of the main reasons the conflict is so incredibly difficult to resolve, is because of the support of the U.S. It has been reported that every year, approximately 3.8 billion USD is sent from the U.S. to Israel. It leads one to question: how can a country like the U.S., which has based its national identity on freedom, liberty, and democracy, be supportive of such a horrific agenda which slaughters and silences millions of innocent lives?
So far, the two most prominent methods of resolution have focused on either a one state solution, in which all the land either becomes one big Palestine or Israel, or a two-state solution, where Palestine becomes an independent state through taking over Gaza and the West Bank, leaving the rest of the land to Israel. However, by further assessing the current situation, two major things need to be done to achieve the grounds for negotiation: eliminating the involvement of the United States and forcing the United Nations to intervene through the Security Council while temporarily withholding the U.S.’ power to veto a resolution, given the conflict of interest. By removing the U.S. from the equation, the confidence of the Israeli forces will diminish since they will be cut off from their main supporter.
The reason some countries might favour being neutral in this conflict is the sheer amount of power the U.S. holds. A leader declaring support for Palestine is equivalent to the leader declaring their defiance to the hegemonic powers of the U.S., which is bound to not only sabotage their role in the global political economy, but also to blacklist them from countries which have strong relations with the U.S.
Imposing regulations which deny the transfer of money from the U.S. to Israel is bound to cut their funds and give Palestinian people the opportunity to put their foot through the door. It would be the first step in helping the Palestinian people who have suffered enough.
With regard to the United Nations, Palestine has been a non-member observer state of the UN General Assembly, which is a fairly passive and uninvolved position. The UN was fast when splitting up Palestine in the first place but has not been able to carry out meaningful change to help those suffering for decades. They should force their involvement in the dispute instead of remaining silent and allowing the mistreatment of millions. Intervening in such intense international conflicts is the foundation of the UN, which is why it’s so hard to believe they have done nothing to make things better. Although it is easy to connect the dots when being reminded that the U.S. is a permanent member of the Security Council, which is why there should be a proposal for the temporary removal of their veto power. This connects back to the idea of eliminating the role of the U.S. in establishing peace.
By adopting these two proposals there would be hope that the people of Palestine could find a home once again; one in which they don’t live in constant fear of being harassed, detained, or tortured at the hands of Israeli forces.