In 2008-2009, the Israeli military intervened in Gaza in order to stop Hamas from establishing its rule in Gaza. The war took 22 days. It was termed as Operation Cast Lead. In 2005, Israel had erected barriers around the Gaza region, which did not allow people to move freely. In the same year, Israel withdrew troops from the Gaza region after an improvement to its foreign policy. The then US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, assisted the two warring factions to strike a peace deal.
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The accord permitted Palestinians to move freely and participate in economic activities around the Gaza region. The accord provided further that the Rafah strip that connects with Egypt could be reopened. However, both Palestinian authorities and the European Union could monitor the movements of goods and persons around Rafah. This was a violation of human rights because the sovereignty of the state was not respected by foreign powers.
Palestine was not free to monitor the activities of its citizens because the EU could interfere with decision-making1. The representatives of both Israel and the EU agreed that only nationals with valid Palestinian identifications, as well as foreign nationals could be allowed to enter and leave the region. This did not favor the many groups found in the Gaza region because the majority was treated as a terrorist group. Israel was supposed to approve any transactions that were conducted within the region. Goods and people had to be inspected by the Israeli authorities before crossing at the Karem Shalom.
In mid-2008, Israel persisted in inspecting all humanitarian aid for Gaza. This was ensured by allowing goods to be delivered only at designated points. The Hamas on the other hand launched attacks on major border points guarded by the Israelis. Both Israel and the Hamas group violated human rights. For instance, Hamas committed a crime against humanity by attacking a terminal at Nahal Oz, which was utilized in transporting fuel to Gaza.
Two workers were killed and several others injured. Israel responded by attacking the militia group killing three innocent persons. Even after declaring a ceasefire in June 2008, Israel continued to control the flow of goods to the Gaza region. Few people were allowed to participate in economic activities within the region meaning that Israeli authorities infringed the right of self-fulfillment. The two groups accused each other of causing insecurity in the region although none of them obeyed international laws. Israel accused the Hamas group of smuggling weapons to Gaza through tunnels in Egypt. The weapons were claimed to cause insecurity in the region2.
The UN noted seven human rights violations committed by the Israeli soldiers. Palestinian groups committed three violations. Israel unleashed terror on innocent people who were not associated with the militant group. Due to conflicts, many people were forced to relinquish agriculture and concentrate on fighting. They further became insecure since they had no enough income, neither did they produce sufficient food.
People were compelled to rely on foreign aid, which was given with conditions and restrictions. This was a violation of the right to basic needs. Available food could not be obtained because of their prices. The conflicts led to inflation, which affected the right to access important commodities. Insufficient food supplies and rising prices of commodities led to increased rates of infant mortalities. Children were denied the right to life because they could not find anything to eat3.
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The rights of children have been violated in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Children find themselves between the crossfire yet they do have the power to compete and struggle with the enemy. According to the world agency in charge of children’s affairs, more than 974 children were killed in the conflict and many others were displaced by the war. Women find themselves in the same position as children because they are powerless.
Women are usually harassed sexually and left to head their families because men are required to participate in defending the territory. The Israeli air and ground strike instilled fear to majority of women and children because they never knew what to do. Such groups could spend their nights in the cold and sometimes forced to go without food. Even after the talks, children and women have continued to suffer because they are the soft sports. Defense of children international reported that more than 79 Palestinian children have been killed and others injured after the 2008 talks.
The two camps have been reported to contravene international standards and norms by arresting under-aged persons. Israel is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Human Rights of the child but this does not bar it from detaining children. This is a serious violation of human rights because the law does not permit state agencies to indict children. Children found guilty are usually referred to correctional departments for guiding and counseling.
This shows that the state of Israel decided to go against its own laws and the provisions of the United Nations by sentencing children who were less than twelve years of age. Israel does not provide juvenile courts for juvenile delinquents. The state tries juvenile delinquents in the same way as adults. Punishment for the youths turns out to be too much for them to bear. Young people end up dying while others contract diseases due to poor living conditions in cells.
The United Nations charter states that children must be separated from adults in case they are deprived of liberty. It is reported that over 6700 Palestinian youths were arrested and detained by the Israeli officials and treated in the same way as adults. This is a serious crime committed by Israel that should have been investigated by the International Court of Justice4.
The Gaza strip has been experiencing major problems since 2006 mainly because humanitarian assistance and foreign aid was blocked by Israel. The residents of Gaza have been forced to live without basic commodities such as fuel, food and Medicare. Families are not able to access quality services that would enhance their standards of living. Rarely do children access medication and balanced diets due to conflicts and sanctions imposed by the international regimes and organizations. World health Organization documents that at least 51 of people have passed on due to lack of proper medication.
There is no constant power supply due to shortages in fuel energy, which brings about blackouts in hospitals and other places that people receive medication. Citizens can no longer rely on the authorities to provide important services such as clean water due to insufficient resources. The Coastal Municipalities lack proper facilities for treating water and sewerage elements. This implies that citizens cannot enjoy their right of living in a safe and unpolluted environment. Citizens are vulnerable to diseases associated with poor atmosphere.
Since independence, Israel has been detaining Palestinians without trial. It is reported that Israeli authorities have detained nearly 20% of the total population. It is surprising because Palestinian detainees are not under the custody of their sovereign state. This implies that Palestinians are exposed to policies and laws that are not familiar to them. Recent data reveals that there are approximately 1500 Israeli soldiers in the West Bank.
The military is in charge of any activity that goes on in the area. This is against the wishes of the ruled because they are subjected to military rule without their consent. Military rules are usually not exposed to the residents of Gaza meaning that they only learn about them once they are broken. This is completely unconstitutional because the ruling authority must involve subjects in policy formulation and implementation.
Citizens of Gaza must be allowed to access the fundamentals the law. Furthermore, the authority should publish the law in order to be understood by the governed. The Israeli authorities go against the internationally recognized principles because the governed must always be powerful. The governor is supposed to be the sub-ordinate implying that people should summon their leaders in case the need arise. This is not the case since people have no choice but to follow the regulations of the military.
Israel itself is governed democratically since people are allowed to participate in political processes meaning that they can vote for leaders they prefer. Israel denies the citizens of Gaza their democratic right by imposing rules that are unfavorable to them. In the region, there is no freedom of press implying that whatever goes on in the region is not exposed to the international community. The fundamental freedom of press is not granted to citizens5.
The media plays an important role of controlling the executive from using coercive powers in leadership. The only available press in the region is controlled by Israel. In the region, Israeli authorities go against international laws because they arrest citizens without revealing specific reason for arrest. The arrests may happen at home, street or at checkpoints. To worsen the matter, Israeli security agencies conduct their arrests at night meaning that they are not legal.
The officers open fire to buildings before accessing them. In this process, citizens might be killed but no person is around to document what happens. Furthermore, citizens are forced to disclose non-existing information in front of their family members. In case suspects do not give relevant information, they are subjected to thorough beatings. Others are humiliated by being forced to strip in front of their family members. This is highly discouraged because it contravenes the internationally recognized criminal justice principles. Detainees are never told where they are being taken. Furthermore, their relatives are not updated on the progress of their relatives6.
In the West Bank region, the authorities exercise what is called administrative detention. This means that people are arrested and convicted without trial. In other words, there is no rule of law because administrators determine whom to arrest irrespective of whether the arrested is a criminal. The kind of arrest is only allowed in international law when state security is at risk. In this regard, Israel has never explained the type of threat posed by citizens of West Bank. In this respect, the law applied is unconstitutional. It violates the rights and freedoms of people.
Abouharb, Cingranelli. Human Rights and Structural Adjustment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
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Ankerl, Guy. “Relativity of human rights”, Sacha Journal of Human Rights, 2, 1, 2011.
Chauhan, Peterson. Human Rights: Promotion and Protection. New York: Anmol Publications, 2004.
Doswald-Beck, Louise. San Remo manual on international law applicable to armed conflicts at sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Forsythe, Frederick. Encyclopedia of Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Forsythe, Fredrick. Human Rights in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
- Chauhan, Peterson. Human Rights: Promotion and Protection. New York: Anmol Publications, 2004.
- Doswald-Beck, Louise. San Remo Manual on international law applicable to armed conflicts at sea. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
- Ankerl, Guy. “Relativity of human rights”, Sacha Journal of Human Rights, 2, 1, 2011.
- Abouharb, Cingranelli. Human Rights and Structural Adjustment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
- Forsythe, Frederick. Encyclopedia of Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
- Forsythe, Fredrick. Human Rights in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.