By Taraf Jaro and Maryam Al Sada
25 years have passed since Arabs and Israeli’s established the Oslo Accords in 1993 that renounced terrorism and violence with the misguided hope to achieve peace in this troubled area of the world. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) recognized Israel’s right to exist, and Israel allowed self-governance for the Palestinians. Nevertheless, Palestinians still continue to suffer from constant human rights violations under the Isreali occupation. Bloodshed and violence persist, with those living in the diaspora denied the right to return to their ancestral homes.
Despite the attempt at a peace establishment, the occupation continues. With increasingly stricter border control it’s difficult for civilian entry, exit, and resource delivery. During 2000, over 24,000 people crossed the Erez border daily however by 2018, that number was reduced to 274 people on average. Regarding the transport of necessary goods to the West Bank, 1,064 truckloads would enter in 2007. As of 2018, only 201 truckloads were recorded. Summarized, these numbers mean that in just 12 years the whole West Bank has been running on less than 20% of the resources they had prior to tightening the borders. Gaza has suffered the most with severe shortages in water, electricity, and healthcare
Violence also continues according to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2019, in 2018 over 250 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and over 25,500 injured at the hands of Israeli forces. Most of these acts of violence were committed against innocent civilian victims. Further yet, many of those injured are children facing lifelong injuries such as limb amputations.
Further violations of the rights of the Palestinian people include the unjust detention of over 5,400 Palestinians in 2018. Many were detained without the right to a trial by Israeli military courts regardless of the fact that most of the convictions were non-violent. How can we stay silent when our Palestinian brothers and sisters live under an illegal occupation force without their basic human rights?
THE WORLD’S LARGEST OPEN-AIR PRISON
The West Bank Barrier has been constructed as a 700 kilometer separation wall on the border of the West Bank of Palestine, that further segregates Palestinians from each other and the world. People suffering in Gaza have been described as living in the world’s largest open-air prison. Ongoing injustices occurring in this region have resulted in the people of Palestine being prisoners in their own country, lacking the human rights and freedom deserved by all, based on the United Nations Human Rights Declaration (UNDHR).
WHAT IS THE UDHR?
As a result of the events of the second world war, the United Nations adopted one of the most monumental declarations written to date on December 10, 1948. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (UDHR), is comprised of 30 articles that constitute a set of fundamental rights that everyone must receive. The UDHR aimed to establish equality and ensure that everyone would be provided with the rights required for a dignified living.
VICTIM TO A VIOLATION OF OVER HALF OF THE UDHR ARTICLES
The occupation of Palestine has resulted in the severe violation of over half of the articles that compose the UDHR. Since 1948, Israeli forces have demolished hundreds of homes, thereby violating Article 17. In addition, they have forcefully evicted people from their homes; an infringement on the rights stated in Article 12. Retaliatory arrests violate Articles 10 and 11. That’s not all! The torture of those detained as well as those involved in nonviolent demonstrations– Article 5. It’s acts such as these that fueled the creation of the UDHR, yet it’s evident that without reinforcement they persist. These severe transgressions are only glimpses into the reality of the ongoing human rights situation for so many Palestinians today.
YOUTH FIGHTING FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE
Imagine traveling halfway across the world, leaving the safety of your hometown to go defend your beliefs. Putting yourself at risk for the security of others. Sounds heroic right? Sadly, this is why Rachel Corrie became a victim of the Israeli occupation that took her life. She was a senior in college who traveled from her hometown in Washington, U.S.A. to Palestine, where she worked with the International Solidarity Movement. To carry forth her legacy, her parents Craig and Cindy Corrie established the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. Rachel Corrie is one of many who fell victim to the Israeli occupation.
Ahed Tamimi is also a young activist affected by the occupation, yet her story is very different from Corrie’s. When she was 16 years old, Tamimi slapped an Israeli soldier who had trespassed into the yard of her house. Her video of the slap shattered the perspective of the Palestinian Females as “oppressed” and “vulnerable”. Ahed faced a trial under an Israeli military court which resulted in eight-month imprisonment. She is a symbol of youth resistance and she plans on studying law to further serve her people. How will you, as a member of the youth of the WORLD, make your impact?
We, the youth, can increase awareness on the human rights violations within Palestine by sharing credible articles and trustworthy donation pages across our social media platforms. Creating our own videos and writing our own articles highlighting the occupation from our personal point of view, is also an effective method to spread awareness. A study published in The Journal of Development Communication, 2016 found that 33.3% of Palestinians use Facebook for cultural topics, and 25.8% for the discussion of political opinions. For the first time, social media has provided Palestinian youth a platform ensuring their voices are heard beyond their borders.
It is also essential to recognize Israel as a racist state and boycotting any pro-Israel businesses. For example, a movement that has been gaining attention on social media recently is the Boycott Eurovision 2019 campaign, a song contest show with mainly European contestants and viewers being brought to Tel Aviv later in 2019. Bringing a Eurocentric form of entertainment is part of the Brand Israel strategy aimed at improving their appearance internationally by disassociating with the image of injustice and violence. The boycott campaign has spread across social media through a petition signed by thousands across Europe.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow; therefore cultivating the skills necessary to implement change is crucial. This can be done by attending conferences such as the Qatar Leadership Conference and World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), engage in debates in THIMUN and Qatar Debate, or view Doha Debates. Increase your global awareness and decision making skills. Inspire and be inspired by other youth taking a stance on the injustices in Palestine. The future of policymaking, which will one day ensure Palestine the security of its human rights, starts with OUR actions today.