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Palestine Research Essay Research Paper In the

Palestine Research Essay, Research Paper In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful Palestine’s Islamic Homepage Other Palestine Sites on the Web

Palestine Research Essay, Research Paper

In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful

Palestine’s Islamic Homepage

Other Palestine Sites on the Web

The Islamic Association for Palestine

Palestine Homepage: University of Oregon

The General Union of Palestine Students

The Story of the Zionist Occupation of Palestine

Muslim Students Association at the University of Texas at Austin

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Preface

The following pages tell the story of the occupation of Palestine. It tells about the history of the occupation and about the suffering of a nation and a people. Those people who had their whole lives changed by the foreign inhumane and brutal invaders but are still fighting back.

We feel that we owe it the thousands of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Palestine, to tell the story of Palestine and its people.

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The Occupation Begins

Life Under Occupation: Land

Life Under Occupation: Water

International Law and Occupation

The Economy

Medical Care

Collective Punishment

Schools and Education

Civil Liberties

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The Occupation Begins

After illegally depriving the people of Palestine from their right to live peacefully on their full land by giving most of it to the zionist Israelis in 1947-8, the international community again looked away as Israel took over the rest of Palestine and Jerusalem in 1967.

On June 7, 1967, during the third Arab-Israeli war, the Israeli army entered the Jordan-administered Palestinian territory known as the West Bank. It forced large numbers of civilians to flee by bombing and napalming their villages and refugee camps. Within days the Arab armies had agreed to a cease-fire.

Israeli journalist Amos Kenan described what happened two days after the cease-fir was declared when his platoon was ordered to `straighten out’ its `sector’- that is, to destroy the three Palestinian villages of Yalu, Beit Nuba and Emmaus. The Israelis ordered the villagers to abandon their houses and go to a village in a different “sector”. Later They learned that that village too was being bulldozed: “It was not in our sector alone that areas were being `straightened out’.”

Many of the villagers who were driven out without food and water perished on the road; those who survived became refugees. Kenan’s platoon then proceeded to demolish the beautiful stone houses that stood in orchards of carefully-tended olive trees, apricots and grapevines: “Non one could understand how Jews could do such a thing. Even those who justified the action said that it should have been possible to provide shelter for the population, that a final decision should have been taken as to their fate, as to where they were to go….The chickens and pigeons were buried under the rubble. The fields were turned to desolation before our eyes, and the children who dragged themselves along the road that day, weeping bitterly, will be the Fedayeen (fighters) of 19 years hence. This is how, that day, we lost the victory.”

The children expelled by Amos Kenan’s platoon were among 300,000 Palestinians driven out of the West Bank and Gaza when Israel “lost the victory” in June 1967. Left behind under Israeli rule were one million Palestinians, parents to the generation of the Intifada (uprising).

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Life Under Occupation

What have twenty-eight years of Israeli occupation meant for the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza, who numbered one million after the forced expulsions of 1967 and approach one and a half million today?

Land

What have twenty-eight years of Israeli occupation meant for the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza, who numbered one million after the forced expulsions of 1967 and approach one and a half million today?

From 1967 on powerful forces within Israel have argued for the permanent retention of the territories: this was not the `temporary’ occupation recognized by international law. In October 1967 Israel’s chief rabbi talked about the West Bank in the following way:

“The land was promised to us by the Almighty and all the prophets foretold its return to us. Therefore, it is forbidden for any Jew ever to consider returning any part whatsoever of the land of our forefathers.”

Twenty-two years later, Israeli Prime Minister Shamir proclaims the same message, calling the people of Palestine, who had inhabited the land centuries before the first Hebrew tribes migrated to the region, “alien invaders in the land of Israel that belongs to the people of Israel, and only to them.”

In violation of international law and defiance of the United Nations, the Israeli government in June 1967 annexed Arab East Jerusalem. The following year the ruling Labor Party began to colonize the West Bank with Jewish settlements.

When the Likud Party took power in 1977, it intensified colonization, pouring some $1 billion into settlement building over the next seven years. Likud gave free rein to the aggressive religious nationalism of the Gush Emunim (the `Bloc of the Faithful’), who believe that Israel’s inheritance of the whole land of Greater Israel will usher in the coming of the Messiah, and that only Jews have rights to the land. Gush Emunim settlers in the Hebron area, many of them American-born, have terrorized the Palestinian population for more than a decade, throwing bombs at their houses and bulldozing their citrus and olive trees.

Since the uprising began, settlers have kidnapped and tortured Palestinian children and have staged hundreds of vigilante raids on Palestinian villages. In June 1989 Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg excused the murder of a fourteen year old Palestinian girl by religious students on the grounds that spilling “non Jewish blood was not, in God’s eyes, the same thing as spilling the blood of Jews.”

Today, land taken from the Palestinians and earmarked for military purposes or Jewish settlements amounts to more than 52% of the most fertile areas of the West Bank and 40% of the Gaza Strip. Only a very small percentage of this land was sold willingly by Palestinians. Most of it was confiscated, and is held to be for Jews only-not just Jews from Israel, but Jews from anywhere in the world. Many newly-arrived immigrants from the United States and Russia are given heavily subsidized housing in the settlements built on expropriated Palestinian land.

In a pattern of creeping annexation, some 120 Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza are linked to Israel by a road and communications system which bypasses Palestinian villages and isolates them from each other. Secretary of State James Baker’s call in May 1989 fro Israel to give up “the unrealistic vision of a Greater Israel” and to “stop settlement activity” has hone unheeded. Six thousand new settlers moved to the West Bank during the first year of the Intifada and several new settlements are currently under construction.

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Life Under Occupation

Water Issues

Jewish settlers have not only taken the best Palestinian land. They have also, with Israel proper, quite literally drained precious water resources from Palestinian farmers.

Since the occupation began, Palestinians have needed special permits to drill new wells for drinking water and irrigation. Until today, not a single permit has been granted Palestinians to dig deep wells for irrigation purposes. Meanwhile, settlers have permission to use as much water as they like, at one-fourth the cost paid by their Palestinian neighbors.

According to official Israeli statistics, by the autumn of 1987 60,000 West Bank settlers were using more water than the 650,000 West Bank Palestinians. In the Gaza Strip, 2500 Jewish settlers, who have exclusive use of nearly 40% of the land, use 19 times more water per capita than the densely-crowded Gazans. The deep settler wells have caused sea water to seep into shallow Palestinian wells, poisoning citrus trees and making their drinking water taste of salt.

By 1990, according to Israeli estimates, 83% of the water from the West Bank will be diverted to Jewish settlements and Israel. The indigenous Palestinians will get only 17% of their own water.

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International Law and Occupation

Israel is a signatory to the 1907 Hague Regulations and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention. These treaties regard occupation as a temporary condition. The occupying power cannot expropriate land and must preserve existing local laws and administrative structures.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are considered `protected persons’ under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 3 of the Convention bars violence against such `protected persons’; Article 33 prohibits “all means of intimidation or of terrorism” and expressly forbids collective punishment; Article 47 seeks to deter the occupying power from “willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body and health” of protected persons and Article 50 states that the occupier must “facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.”

Several other provisions ensure certain standards of treatment of the sick and wounded, while Article 49 forbids “individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory” and bars the occupying power from transferring “parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Other articles give accused persons the right to a lawyer who can visit them freely and right to present evidence necessary to their defense. Articles 146 and 147 establish personal liability for such “grave breaches” as killing, inhuman treatment and torture, expulsion and lack of due process.

Israel has repeatedly violated every one of these articles as the occupying power of the West Bank and Gaza.

When Israel first entered the West Bank it issued proclamations stating its intention to observe the Fourth Geneva Convention. But within months, it had dropped all references to international law. Before long, Israel was arguing that the Fourth Geneva Convention did not, after all, apply to the West Bank and Gaza since a legitimate sovereign was not displaced and since it had a better title to the territories than any other nation.

Israel stand alone in the world in its refusal to recognize the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza as `protected persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Even the United States disputes the Israeli interpretation and maintains that Israel as occupier is bound by international law.

As early as 1972 and as recently as 1989 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemned Israel’s breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, calling its practices `war crimes.’

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The Economy

The occupation is a story of deepening economic dependence and ruin. It is also the story of a system of control which extends to every aspect of Palestinian life. Palestinians have to get a permit from the Israel Civil Administration to plant a tomato or replace an old citrus tree, to harvest wild thyme or whitewash a house.

Occupation has been good business, earning Israel and annual net income of $50,000,000 from the West Bank before the uprising began. In the first twenty years of occupation, Palestinians’ taxes and other deductions provided Israel with revenues 2.5 times its total investment in the territories. During this time the West Bank and Gaza have served as a “captive market” for Israel, unencumbered by tariffs, customs barriers and competition.

In 1965, before the occupation began, the West Bank exported one-third more produce than it imported. But after a decade of Israeli occupation, West Bank agricultural imports exceeded exports by 11%, and 90% of the goods imported into the territories came from Israel.

Palestinians are prohibited from exporting to other countries anything which might compete with Israeli products, and are only permitted to export to Israel when Israel experiences a shortage of a particular item.

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Medical Care

In twenty-two years of occupation, Israel has failed to build a single hospital in the territories. Today, the ratio of hospital beds to population in Gaza is half what it was in 1967. The government spends ten times more per person on health care for its citizens than it does for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (even though it collects much more taxes per capita from the Palestinians).

Israel has used medical care as a weapon in its war against the intifada. Early in 1989 the government canceled medical insurance for Palestinians, which has meant that treatment has been withheld from critically ill patients, including children, who used to be transferred to Israeli hospitals for specialized surgery.

With serious injuries during the intifada calculated at 70,000- the per capita equivalent of some six million American casualties- Palestinians are now required to pay as much as $200 per day for in-patient care (consider that the ANNUAL income for many families is about $500) in filthy undersupplied government hospitals. Even these hospitals have been fired upon by Israeli soldiers, and Palestinian patients risk being beaten and arrested as they lie in hospital beds.

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Collective Punishment

The intifada has made the world aware of forms of collective punishment barred by the Fourth Geneva Convention but long practiced by the Israelis. Army-imposed curfews (of which there were 1600 during the uprising’s first year) sometimes last for more than a month, with the residents of towns and refugee camps and on occasion the entire Gaza Strip being confined indoors nearly all that time (you can’t even look through your window or open your door), with no water, no electricity and little food.

Palestinians- more than 2000 since the occupation began- have been permanently expelled from their homeland. Well over 1000 house have been demolished since 1967 as punishment for ’security offenses’ committed by any family member. Over 300 houses have been demolished or sealed during the intifada, fifteen of them in the West Bank village of Beita after an Israeli girl was accidentally killed in the village by her armed Israeli escort.

Entire villages like Quissan near Bethlehem are targeted for destruction if residents do not have ‘proper licenses’ or if authorities want their land for the expansion of Israeli settlements. In June 1989 fifteen people from Uthnah near Hebron were fined the equivalent of $1800 each to cover the cost of bulldozing their ‘illegal homes’. Israelis, with their worldwide reputation of “making the desert bloom,” have uprooted an estimated 60,000 mature olive and citrus trees belonging to Palestinians during the course of the intifada. Whole crops have perished during curfews, when villagers were imprisoned in their houses. Israel has instituted a wide range of economic reprisals during the intifada, ranging from seizing the property of Palestinians who refuse to pay taxes to bans on gasoline shipments to the West Bank and fishing off the Gaza Strip.

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Schools and Education

Israel as occupier took over many existing schools but declined to build new ones in spite of the rapidly growing Palestinian population. In the 1980’s, school closures became Israel’s preferred method of administration (you close schools so children become illiterate and thus less of a danger in the future and the source of cheap labor for Israeli industries): during the seven years ending in 1986, Palestinian universities were officially closed for more than four years.

The universities have remained shut during the intifada. Elementary and high schools in the West Bank were closed for nearly two academic years, depriving 320,000 West Bank children of schooling. A further 180,000 children in the Gaza Strip have had at best sporadic teaching, with closures, curfews and army attacks making sustained learning almost impossible. (It was illegal for parent to even gather a few neighborhood children in a home and teach them anything).

During the intifada Israel has used school closures as collective punishment, preventing school principals and the United Nations Works and Relief Agency from distributing educational materials for home use and arresting teachers in ‘alternative (home) schools’.

In response to considerable domestic and international pressure, Israel announced in July 1989 that West Bank schools would be gradually re-opened.

But no sooner had schools been opened than several were shut again for ’security reasons’ (including kindergartens). Since August a number of schools have been raided by the army, and students are frequently harassed (at random) by soldiers (including female students).

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Civil Liberties

Palestinians have virtually no due process rights. They can be arrested-and never told why- by any soldier or policeman, and incarcerated for a year or more without trial. Since the intifada, prisoners have been denied access to lawyers and tried on ’security offenses’ in batches. The conviction rate is nearly 100%. During the intifada fifty-eight Palestinians have been expelled from the West Bank and Gaza for undisclosed ’security reasons’.

Even before the uprising, holding the finders in a “V” sign was viewed as ‘incitement’ (”V” for victory). A four-year-old appeared in a Jerusalem court for this ‘crime’ in July 1989. Now children can be arrested for having dirty hands -’proof ‘ that they had thrown a stone, and shot for keeping their faces covered or running away when ordered to stop by soldiers.

The army censors art by destroying paintings which include the colors of the Palestinian flag, and newspapers by reviewing copy on a daily basis and frequently imprisoning journalists. More than 1800 books are explicitly banned, including all works that “address, instill or foster Palestinian-Arab national feelings and national heritage.”

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