Human rights are being abused and perpetrated in many parts of the world especially in conflict zones (war and insurgency) like Yemen, Syria, Myanmar and countries where military dictates democratically elected civilian government, Myanmar for example, countries hostile and belligerent by nature, e.g. Israel, territories under political contest between two countries like Jammu and Kashmir on either side of Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan. In all human rights violations, the weaker part of the population becomes the victim of abuse. In some places human rights violations have turned into the crime of genocide.
While Rohingyas in Myanmar are described as the worst persecuted stateless human beings in the world, Palestinians have been mercilessly maltreated and being rendered stateless since 1947 through systematic destruction of their living and livelihood structures. The Palestine map is on the verge of complete obliteration. International human rights organisations acknowledge that the range of crimes committed against Palestinians and Rohingyas constitute ‘genocide’ which is also an international crime.
Palestine and the Rakhine state in Myanmar have a long saga of human rights violations. The allegations brought about by the US and its allies of human rights violations in Xinjiang, China, is flawed by their dubious standards of human rights for the Palestinians and Rohingyas. China has little concern for human rights and supports what Myanmar does in the Rakhine state.
Blockade is an illegal act by international law. It has prevented Palestinians from the right to live a decent life. Palestinians have been under 13 years of travel ban, restricted entry of goods, and limited access to electricity and water
According to the Human Rights Watch, Israel is “committing crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution” against the Palestinians. According to Amnesty International, Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians include series of internationally recognized unlawful actions like forcible transfers, forced evictions, forced disappearances, demolitions of living and livelihood structures, discrimination, killings, excessive use of force, obstructing freedom of movement, arbitrary detention, unfair trials, torture and ill treatment, denying rights of refugees, violence against children and women and so forth.
Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians began after the UN’s British Mandate with a criminal intent to give Jews a shelter on the land neither belonged to the UK nor the UN. During the early years of settlements between 1947 and 1950, Jews with Anglo-French support expelled 750,000 Palestinian and occupied 78 percent of Palestine land.
Presently 1.6 million Palestinians are living a life of discrimination within Israel, holding Israeli citizenship. According to Adalah -The Legal Center for the Arab Minority Rights in Israel, there are “over 65 Israeli laws that discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in Israel and/or Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on the basis of their national belonging.” The laws are drafted ostensibly in impartial tone but have discriminatory implementation to “limit the rights of Palestinians in all areas of life, from citizenship rights to the right to political participation, land and housing rights, education rights, cultural and language rights, religious rights, access to health care and due process rights during detention.”
Israel systematically evicting the Palestinians from their lands, have confined about 2 million Palestinians into an open air prison - the Gaza Strip, a piece of 365 sq km land bordered by Egypt and Israel. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli sea and air blockade since 2007. Blockade is an illegal act by international law. It has prevented Palestinians from the right to live a decent life. Palestinians have been under 13 years of travel ban, restricted entry of goods, and limited access to electricity and water. Egypt controls its border with Gaza providing limited travel access.
Israeli persecution has rendered millions of Palestinians homeless forcing them to take refuge in camps in Gaza, West Bank and in other countries. According to Al Jazeera approximately 1.5 million Palestinian refugees are living in 58 official UN camps in Palestine and neighbouring countries and additional five million registered Palestinian refugees live outside of these camps. About 70 per cent of 22 million Gazans are refugees and living in eight refugee camps in and around the Gaza Strip for decades.
Israel has established 560 road barricades and 140 check points across the West Bank to severely limit the freedom of movement and access to work. Palestinians has to wait for hours to pass checkpoints and travel along segregated road networks. About 70,000 Palestinians with Israeli work permits commute through these military checkpoints every day. The 700 km long, 8m high “Wall” running north-south bears the evidence of Israeli eviction and grabbing Palestine land.
The US and its partners in Europe do not seem to hold any standard of human rights when it comes to Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. However, the US and its European partners are apparently committed to redress human rights abuses against Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang, China
UK was the principal backer of Israel’s prejudices against Palestinians till the 1967 Arab-Israel War. After the war, the US was convinced that the Israel could serve its interests in the Arab World and shouldered the responsibility to protect Israel’s atrocious crimes and became Israel’s vanguard defending any backlash in the UN or in the Arab World or elsewhere in the world.
According to an Al Jazeera report, “US unwavering support for Israel is rooted in the aftermath of World War II, the Cold War, pro-Israeli political influence in the USA and PR heft.USA was quick to recognize Israel in 1948 when the Cold War between the US and the former Soviet Union was taking shape.The Middle East, with its oil resources and strategic waterways like the Suez Canal became a key battleground for superpower hegemonic influence. The US was taking over from severely weakened European powers as the primary western power broker in the Middle East. But even then, support for Israel was not unequivocal.That is partly rooted in the aftermath of 1967 war in which Israel defeated the poorly led armies of Egypt, Syria and Jordan and occupied the rest of historical Palestine – as well as some territory from Syria and Egypt.Since then, the US has acted unequivocally to support Israel’s military superiority in the region and to prevent hostile acts against it by Arab nations.” Since then Israel did not have to look back. It got the US, the ‘Flag Bearer of Human Rights’, to stand by its human rights violations and atrocities.
Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinians are so politically entrenched that even Palestinians’ big cousins in the OIC from the Arab world have remained surprisingly silent and do not offer even any words of consolation. The big players in the OIC are in the queue to embrace Israel like Egypt, Jordan, UAE and Oman. US’ political discrimination of human rights abuses is so notorious that it defends Israel’s crimes as “right to self defence”.
The UN Human Rights Council in between 2006 and 2020 recorded 88 resolutions on human rights violations against Israel. The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, going beyond any diplomatic etiquette called the council a "hypocritical and self-serving organisation" and left the Council in 2018. The US, Israel, UK, France and some other European countries think that the Council’s regular scrutiny of Israeli crimes in Gaza and Occupied Territories is unfair. In fact, none of the leading powers in the world ever condemned Israel’s persecution of Palestinians.
The US and its partners in Europe do not seem to hold any standard of human rights when it comes to Israel’s persecution of Palestinians. However, the US and its European partners are apparently committed to redress human rights abuses against Uyghur minorities in Xinjiang, China.
(To be continued)
* Mohammad Abdur Razzak is a retired Commodore of Bangladesh Navy. He can be reached at [email protected]