Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reflection 5 - Arab-Israeli conflict

The Israeli-Palestine conflict has been referred as the "Forgotten" conflict because it has been buried under the many issues that have emerged into global politics today, such as terrorist groups like ISIS or the European Migration crisis. While many of these problems are important, the prolonged conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians still needs the world's attention.
Although history has shown past wars and the progression of loss of land from Palestine, but no one seems to talk about the realities of living under Israeli occupation in Palestine and what the people have to experience.

Since 1967, the Palestinians have been living under the occupation of the Israeli military and endured much suffering under their power. Living under military occupation meant random checkpoints and military tanks along roadsides and would be interrogated by Israeli soldiers, even though it would to just to to the supermarket. There would curfews for the Palestinians, which forced people to stay in their homes without being able to used the lights until the Israelis would lift the curfew. People would often be approached by Israeli soldiers for random checks to see IDs and papers. They would especially discriminate towards men, and could subject them to military detention where they would be detained and be held for an unknown period of time. There would be no court date for the detained and would not be offered a lawyer. Power outages happened frequently and was a method of collective punishment, which would punish a whole area if someone from that area was at fault. Peoples' homes could be blown up by the Israeli military for absolute no reason, and Palestinians had to live in constant fear for their lives. Moving around and visiting other cities are inconvenient for Palestinians as they are not allowed to step in Israel as Palestinian citizens. They forced to take back roads that make trips longer, even though it could half the time if they were allowed to cross Israeli border lines. Even mobility is limited and it does not help when much of Palestine's territories are segregated, such that Palestinians from the West Bank want to go to the Gaza strip. Palestinians are also restricted of resources because the shipping ports are controlled by the Israelis, who can deny the imports or exports for the Palestinians. These limitations and restrictions carried out by the Israelis keeps a constant reminder to the Palestinians that they are under occupation.
However, situations became even worse during the First and Second Intifada. The arabic word "intifada" means to "shake", which represents the Palestinians view of unable to tolerate anymore of Israeli occupation and demanded change. They did so by initiating a revolution and resisted against the Israeli military.  During these violent times of revolution, there more frequent curfews and the stricter rules placed on the Palestinians. Stores and businesses were forced to close at 1pm and people were faced with water shortages.
But there some hope for the Palestinians when the Oslo Accords were passed, which allowed the Palestinian Liberation Organization to return and established the Palestinian Authority. While things seem to look up for the Palestinians, the possibility of achieving liberation for them was still far from reality. The Palestinian Authority only held jurisdiction over 3% of Area A that the West Bank. In Area B, 25% of the West Bank territory is shared control of the land between the Palestinians and the Israelis. For Area C, 75% of Palestinian land is given full control to the Israelis. While the majority of Palestinian territory lives under Israeli occupation, Palestinians still have to live as if the Oslo Accords were not passed.

While the root of this conflict dates back to the beginning of the 20th century (and probably even earlier than that), the road to finding a solution has not been easy. There have been many peace talks and resolutions in attempt to resolve the conflict but they have not succeeded the way it was intended or did not succeed at all. There are many factors that feed into this conflict, but one main decision to resolve the conflict would be to provide to states for the two peoples. To confine both people in one state would probably not be an efficient resolution because that is the current situation and both sides are not happy with other. The people need two states just so they have a land that is there own, and this is the ultimate problem that the cause of the whole conflict.

Dr. Zaru's lecture was very interesting and eye opening because there is little to no coverage about the Palestinians that live under Israeli occupation in the media. It is disappointing to listen to the horrible experiences that Palestinians have to endure today and thinking that there people who support the Israelis and their actions in Palestine. But it is important to expose the truths and reality of what is happening in that part of the world and come up with a solution to end this prolonged conflict.

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