Israel’s unlawfully prolonged occupation

The Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territory, which has lasted for over 55 years, has been widely criticized as an unlawful and prolonged occupation. The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over the land dates back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the establishment of modern Israel in 1948 and the subsequent displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

In June 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike against neighboring Arab states, leading to the conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, territories that had been under Jordanian and Egyptian control, respectively. The Occupation, which has been a major source of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, has been widely criticized for its devastating impact on the lives of Palestinians and the prospects for peace in the region.

One of the key aspects of the Occupation that has drawn international criticism is the restriction of Palestinian movement through the use of checkpoints, roadblocks, and a separation wall. Palestinians are frequently subjected to long wait times, searches, and arbitrary detention, with movement restricted not only between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also within the occupied territories themselves. This has resulted in the fragmentation of Palestinian communities and the restriction of access to resources, including healthcare and education.

Another major concern is the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which the United Nations has declared to be illegal under international law. The settlements are home to hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens and are built on land that was seized during the conflict. The presence of the settlements, and the accompanying military presence, has resulted in the displacement of Palestinians and the confiscation of their land and resources, including water.

The Israeli military operates a separate and unequal system of laws in the occupied territories, with Palestinians subjected to military courts while Israelis living in settlements are subject to Israeli civil law. This has resulted in widespread human rights abuses, including the use of arbitrary detention, torture, and extrajudicial killings.

In addition to the illegal settlement construction and human rights abuses, the Occupation has also been criticized for its devastating impact on the economy and infrastructure of the occupied territories, including the destruction of homes, schools, and hospitals. The situation has also been exacerbated by periodic outbreaks of violence, including the Second Intifada and Operation Protective Edge, which have resulted in widespread death and destruction.

The international community, including the United Nations and various human rights organizations, has repeatedly called for an end to the Occupation and for a two-state solution, in which Israelis and Palestinians would live side by side in two separate, sovereign states. Despite numerous attempts at peace negotiations, a lasting solution to the conflict remains elusive, and the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.

In conclusion, the ongoing Israeli Occupation of Palestinian territory has been widely criticized as an unlawful and prolonged occupation, characterized by widespread human rights abuses, the restriction of Palestinian movement, and the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The international community must continue to work towards a just and lasting solution that respects the rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians, and upholds the principles of international law.