International Affairs

Collective Punishment – A Global View

Introduction

The middle-east is the most volatile region of modern times which has claimed this title from Europe over the last six decades or so but the last ten years have seen bloodshed, violence, ethnic attacks, religious wars on a level not witnessed in the middle-east since the medieval times. Adding to that the Arab Spring revolution didn’t do any good to further the peace and stability in the region. Soon the biggest exporter of democracy – USA; and its brand ambassadors – NATO, EU and allies; started their standard procedure to capitalize further on those events to ‘democratize’ these nations (make them pro-American). Confusing as it is for everyone, the club of ‘US and friends’ is not still able to explain why they are arming and funding the same groups that went to Afghanistan and Iraq to kill around a decade ago. From all the comments made by American leaders on this issue, one can only conclude that the war that took place a decade ago was against terror and recent one is to ‘democratize’ and ‘for betterment of humanity’ for which you need the help of the same terror outfits to establish democracy who you tried to kill a decade ago because they are ‘enemies of liberty and democracy.’ So by that logic does democracy itself qualify as terror? We’ll have to wait for further ‘honest’ clarifications to the ‘international community’ by the Allies because for them democracy only means pro-American. This little piece of information is necessary to understand what we are about to discuss now.

Whose Land Is It?

Anyway, one of the most interesting pieces of land in the middle-east is the small area that lies to the north of Egypt, south of Lebanon, east of Jordan while the Mediterranean sea shore faces it from the western side, the creation of the West who has taken care of it, given it an upbringing, fed it with money and resources, protected it until it could do so for itself – The Land of Israel. Call it the land legitimately belonging to the State of Israel, or to Palestine, Greater Syria, Islamic Caliphate, Levant, etc. it’s all the same. What matters today is that there is Israel on that little piece of land as of now which is hard to even spot on a world map. But what is it that makes this ‘hard to spot’ region so volatile and influential on world politics? According to Israel it is the ‘Palestinian terrorist organisations’ that propagate violence – a view that is endorsed by the US. Whereas according to the Palestinians it’s the ‘Jewish superiority complex’, ‘Jewish invasions’ and the ‘Acts of the Great Satan’ (in supporting Israel, they prefer referring to the US that way).

The State of Palestine was recognized by the UN on 27th September, 2013 by voting 134 for out of 193 member states of UN. Palestine constitutes of West Bank and Gaza Strip though Israel continues its perpetual occupation of these areas even after the recognition of the State by UN  and the Allies aren’t much bothered about it or the state of democracy and human rights there. The area granted to the Palestinians under the partition of Mandatory Palestine consisted of larger areas than what is now governed by Palestine but nevertheless, they have a state now after struggling for 66 years against Israeli occupation and hegemony.

Who Is A Palestinian?

Nobody knows for sure. There is no proper definition that encompasses and defines a Palestinian throughout time that can be agreed by a majority atleast and when I say agreed by a majority I mean by freewill, not by western diplomacy and pacification. Infact many historians aren’t even ready to accept a universal definition of exactly ‘Who is a Palestinian?.’ Hundred years ago many used the term to refer to Jewish people in the area of Palestine. During the days of Mandatory Palestine the term came to be referred to the Muslims and Christians living there but somehow the term was no more used to refer to the Jews.

The partitioning brought more war than peace. A war which has been lasting for six decades, a war that doesn’t get enough of blood- Both sides have done their share of aggression but lately Israel has started taking things to a whole new level of aggression.

Back in the days of Mandatory Palestine, the Jews had to fight to survive. The Jews were severely persecuted in Europe during pre-WWII times and literally had no country to go to and be safe except for the land in control of the Allied powers. As Palestine was one of the British controlled territories and the origin of Jews too, many started going back to Palestine as it also served the cause of the international Zionist movement which caused the Jewish numbers to increase there. The Arabs saw this as an illegal migration supported by the British to establish Jewish communities in the region and take away Arab land. What started as buying lands from Arabs turned into setting up large illegal settlements of Jews and later developed into forceful eviction of Arabs by the Jews. Since, the British didn’t interfere much during these times their policies in the late 1930s dissatisfied the Arabs.

The tensions between the Jews and the British increased with the publication of MacDonald White Paper to put a limit to illegal Jewish immigration to the area and other problems like over-staying and fake marriages as the British were not interested in partition on the lines of the Balfour Declaration. But the Zionists around the world were determined to have a permanent Jewish homeland this time and dominating Jewish families in Britain and US did enough to pressure their governments to act accordingly. The White Paper publication gave birth to Jewish insurgency. The Arab and Jewish factions further had a conflict with each other following the declaration of partition of Mandatory Palestine. The Western powers proclaimed the land will be partitioned into Jewish areas, Arab areas and a Special International Regime governing Jerusalem. The proclamation had the Jews celebrating as the Zionists had succeeded in getting their own territory and left the Arabs seething in anger as they felt they had been cheated and their territory was being taken away due to illegal Jewish immigration supported by the West.

A civil war broke out. Soon the surrounding Arab nations were dragged into it as an uncalculated and mistimed war was declared unto the newly-born State of Israel by surrounding Arab nations in support of Arabs. Thus, this internal civil war escalated into an Inter-state war between Israel and Arab nations. It was one of the sad events the Jews had to face after they had been through the Holocaust just four years prior to it. With massive military aid from the Allied group Israel survived the onslaught. Israel lived.

After this survival of Israel following its astounding victory in the Six-Day war twenty years later, regular skirmishes with neighboring countries and its armed groups, Israel’s existence today is far different than what it used to be back then. What the Jews despised during WWII times, is what Israel is doing to the weak state of Palestine today. The holocaust and persecution of Jews on religious and racial lines was one of the saddest events ever but bombing Palestine without any mercy, rounding up 500 Palestinians causing 12 of them to die because of physical torture inflicted by Israeli police and IAF, 200 air-strikes in two days in that little territory by Israel or the shooting of Palestinian teens, by the Israeli Army, who were protesting and had no weapons which caught on camera is no less.

Merciless killings of Palestinian youth and going on a rampage attacking every Palestinian for any crime that takes place against Jews is a failure of law and is also racist. It is also quite similar to what the whites did a couple of centuries ago in the US when they went on a rampage killing all the blacks in sight at will because some white was murdered or raped without any evidence of who particularly committed the crime. Israel’s further attempts to justify it by claiming popular sanction of such atrocities by the Jewish population in the region doesn’t make the act sensible or legitimate. By that logic even the killing of Jews in Nazi Germany was supported by 97% of Germans but that act is one of the most heinous the world has ever witnessed. This system of collective punishment relies on racial supremacy and in modern times is much more insane.

Israel has to be held accountable for its actions just like the Arab nations were threatened and questioned during the weak days of Israel. The law must be equal for all.

About the Author

Vaibhav Joshi

920426_577924405577003_1511776993_oVaibhav is a law student with a passion for politics and international affairs. He is a voracious reader with a never ending desire to gain new perspectives, which makes him an enthusiastic and aggressive debater.

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