Wednesday 23 July 2014

The Blame Game

  The 'who's to blame' argument gets brought up continuously in the discussion of Israel and Palestine. I see posts on Facebook and Twitter, articles in newspapers and online, blogs and general discussion every day as to which side is more culpable. It seems that there is very little hope of finding a consensus on the subject of who is more to blame for the situation as it is today. Supporters of each side have their version of what atrocities occurred and who was the aggressor during the formation of Israel. What is more important is what is actually happening on the ground now. Are human rights being abused? Are acts being committed in violation of international law? The answer to both of these questions is yes.

  Palestinians have been living under occupation for over 40 years with systematic human rights abuses committed against them. A separation wall has been built and continued settlement construction occurs, both illegal under international law. No one denies that rockets are being fired at Israel by Hamas but the severity of response due to the concept of ‘needing to defend oneself’ is wholly disproportionate. The Israeli government is continuing to occupy the West Bank and maintaining the blockade on Gaza. That is not self-protection, it is collective punishment of all Palestinians and is just unfathomable and unjust in whatever context you think of.

   Myself and the other volunteers meet people every day that have been arrested and put in jail with no charge, who have been shot or injured by the army, or know someone that has been killed. These events aren't isolated incidents, they happen almost daily and have been for over 40 years. The wall cuts through the middle of the town and people have told me their friends are on the other side and they haven't seen since the wall was erected, or they cannot visit the mosque in Jerusalem during Ramadan or even that the checkpoints refuse to let ambulances through.

  This is not some historical contextual argument to decide who is better or worse, that discussion will be argued by the different sides indefinitely. Yet that argument is a moot discussion when faced with the reality as it is for Palestine right now. A reality that millions of Palestinians are living in which is now into its 2nd and 3rd generation with people dying every day. The ‘blame game’ of past events can be played but it pales in comparison to the continued human rights abuses, transgressions of international law and the deaths of innocent people that currently occur. 

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