- Under international law, Israel's 44 year occupation
is oppressive and illegal for having:
- -- attacked a nonbelligerent state;
- -- annexed it forcefully;
- -- exploited its resources and people;
- -- stolen their land and property;
- -- violated their human rights by collective punishment,
war and numerous crimes against humanity; and
- -- failed to recognize Palestinian self-determination
under provisions of the December 1960 UN General Assembly Declaration on
the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and all
UN resolutions before and thereafter affirming Palestinian self-determination,
- -- the UN Partition Plan (GA Resolution 181, 1947) granting
Jews (with one-third of the population) 56% of historic Palestine, the
rest to Palestinians with Jerusalem designated an international city under
a UN Trusteeship Council;
- -- GA Resolution 2131 (1965): Declaration on the Inadmissibility
of Intervention in the Domestic Affairs of States and the Protection of
Their Independence and Sovereignty, "reaffirming the principle of
non-intervention," calling it "aggression;"
- -- SC Resolution 242 (1967) calling for an end of conflict
and withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from occupied territories;
- -- SC 338 (1973) repeated the same demand;
- -- the 1970 Declaration on Principles of International
Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance
with the Charter of the United Nations;
- -- SC Resolution 298 (1971) affirming "acquisition
of territory by military conquest is inadmissible," calling Israel's
failure to observe previous resolutions deplorable;
- -- GA Resolution 3236 (1974) recognizing Palestinian
self-determination and expressing "grave concern" that they've
been "prevented from enjoying (their) inalienable rights (to) self-determination....national
independence and sovereignty....without external interference....;"
- -- GA Resolution 3314 (1974) on the Definition of Aggression
in accordance with the UN Charter and Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal
and its judgment, calling it the supreme international crime against peace;
- -- numerous other SC and GA resolutions affirming the
principles of international law, including Geneva's Common Article 1 obliging
all nations to enforce them, stating specifically: "The High Contracting
Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention
in all circumstances;" and
- -- Lisbon Treaty (December 2009) principles affirming
fundamental freedoms, peace, democracy, human rights and dignity, justice,
equality, the rule of law, security, tolerance, solidarity, mutual respect
among peoples, the rights of the child, strict adherence to the UN Charter
and international law, environmental protection, and sustainable development,
and to prevent conflicts and combat social exclusion and discrimination.
- Failing also to:
- -- comply with the provisions of the Convention on the
Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (the Apartheid Convention),
defined by the Rome Statute to include murder, extermination, enslavement,
torture, arbitrary arrest, illegal imprisonment, denial of the right to
life and liberty, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and other abusive
acts imposed by one group on another, as well as:
- -- not observing international laws with regard to:
- -- illegal acts of aggression, including inflicting mass
deaths, injuries and destruction during Operation Cast Lead, mostly affecting
- -- free movement, expression and right of assembly;
- -- imprisoning Gazans under siege;
- -- denying the universally acknowledged right of return;
- -- refusing Palestinians the right to their own resources
"such as watercourses within their land;"
- -- annexing East Jerusalem in July 1980 despite SC Resolution
478 a month later declaring the Jerusalem Law null and void and requiring
its immediate rescinding;
- -- constructing the Separation Wall on expropriated Palestinian
land (ruled illegal by the International Court of Justice);
- -- denying Palestinians access to their own land, air
space and coastal waters and control of their borders;
- -- violating Fourth Geneva by building illegal settlements
on expropriated land, dispossessing protected persons, and transferring
its own civilian population to the territory it occupies;
- -- using torture, abuse and degrading treatment, illegal
at all times, under all conditions with no allowed exceptions;
- -- employing targeted assassinations and other willful
killings of non-combatant civilians and others; and
- -- numerous other systematic violations of fundamental
- Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) Responds
- PHR-Israel "promote(s) a more fair and inclusive
society in which the right to health is applied equally to all." It
opposes Israel's occupation, standing resolutely for human rights and social
justice "in (their) broadest sense," including:
- -- free movement;
- -- equal access to medical care;
- -- clean water;
- -- modern sanitation;
- -- proper nutrition;
- -- adequate housing;
- -- education;
- -- decent employment; and
- -- nonviolence.
- Several PHR-Israel members commented on life in Occupied
Palestine today, including Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Dr. Rafik
Masalha. After visiting Gaza, he wrote about:
- "standing in front of the concrete walls and the
enormous iron doors that exemplify the severe blockade policy" imposed
since June 2007. There two years earlier, it felt like time had stopped.
"The same grey houses, old black walls," many decorated with
inscriptions "praising and commemorating those who died" during
Cast Lead and other conflicts.
- In neglected gray streets, donkeys and horses substitute
for cars because of cost and scarce gas. People also "were wandering
in the streets without purpose, desperate, not in a hurry to get anywhere."
Israel prevents import of construction materials, and high unemployment
contributes to despair for many.
- At the Health Ministry, he heard about harsh blockade
conditions and unbearable problems for many. "We were left with a
strong feeling of uneasiness." Everything is in short supply or unavailable.
As a result, patients and staff both experience frustration, suffering
- Moreover, trained staff is lacking, "particularly
specialized doctors in various fields, such as neurology, neurosurgery,
nephrology, oncology, and other specialties because of the blockade policy
and the restrictions on medical personnel" going abroad for training.
- In Gaza City and Khan Yunes, "(w)e saw buildings
with partially destroyed walls and marks of shells (with) no way to repair
them." He heard many complaints. "We felt deep frustration and
- Many patients aren't properly treated for lack of equipment,
trained staff, or permission to travel elsewhere for what Gaza can't provide.
Many "could have been saved were it not for the severe and unbearable
conditions that the harsh blockade over the Strip causes. This is inconceivable
and does not suit the conditions of the free world in the 21st century."
- Gazans, however, live it daily, suffering because world
leaders won't intervene.
- Dr. Abdul Shafi, Jerusalem surgeon and vice president
of the Patient's Friends Society wrote about health care under occupation,
- Jerusalem has five major hospitals, including three general
ones, one maternity and an eye hospital. They "depend largely on referrals
from other Palestinian cities."
- Forty-four years of occupation "greatly affected
health care in East Jerusalem." Numerous obstacles exist, including
movement and security clearance requirements, resulting in many doctors
"leav(ing) the country (for) employment (and) careers abroad. This
has contributed to further impoverish the hospitals (and) community as
- A combination of understaffing, underfunding, and occupation
restrictions makes practicing medicine difficult to impossible for patients
needing specialized care. Many can't travel for security reasons. Others
can't afford treatment at Israeli hospitals. Palestinian ones do what they
can, but too often it's not enough.
- Dr. Skafi from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society
discussed Israeli human rights violations, including the right to health,
especially for Palestinians near settlements, isolated and vulnerable between
- Dr. Ruchama Marton, PHR-Israel's founder and president
called occupation a "violation of human rights," saying pressuring
Israel publicly is vital to exert pressure for change.
- A psychiatrist, she sees many PTSD patients, including
Israeli soldiers themselves occupation victims. "As for myself,"
she said, "my waking up was clearly in the army, both about the relations
between Jews and Arabs and about the 'other' Israel."
- At age 18, "it was really shocking, and that shock
was powerful." It shows "people are capable of doing many bad
things, and they adhere to authority" and indoctrination to commit
crimes, taught to believe they're doing the right thing when it's wrong.
- The struggle goes on, PHR-Israel allied with other human
rights groups, activists, and millions of Palestinians for justice long
- A Final Comment
- Although Egypt opened Gaza's Rafah border on May 28,
it was conditional for people only (not goods), excluding Palestinian men
under age 40, except students enrolled in Egyptian institutions of higher
learning with proper visas.
- Initial elation, however, now is dissatisfaction and
frustration after Egypt imposed new restrictions, Haaretz Service and Reuters
saying on June 1:
- "Hamas said on Wednesday that Egypt was limiting
the number of people allowed to enter the country from Gaza, undermining"
the Rafah opening announcement days earlier.
- As a result, crossings have "fallen dramatically
over the past two days." Egypt said only up to 350 a day could enter.
Hamas responded, saying:
- "Following the joy that has swept most of our people,
movement at the crossing yesterday was disappointing."
- On Saturday May 28, 565 entered Egypt (300 in the first
hour), 404 on Sunday, and 631 Monday. However, only 227 crossed Tuesday
and another 100 by late afternoon Wednesday.
- In fact, Egyptian security is refusing entry to many,
- "We have told them we cannot accept the reinstatement
of restrictions," including persons wanting to cross needing clearance
a day in advance.
- On June 1, however, Ma'an News said both sides agreed
to limit daily crossings to 400 maximum and release names a day in advance.
Students and persons needing medical care will be prioritized. However,
5,000 or more Gazans have been blacklisted for alleged security reasons,
an issue still unresolved.
- At the same time, Israel's siege remains, Egypt on its
side of the border enforcing it illegally. Lebanese authorities also acting
lawlessly, declaring a shared Israeli border a closed military zone, preventing
a planned June 5 Naksa Day mass march.
- As a result, organizers plan strikes across all 12 Lebanese
refugee camps, protesting their legal right to march and demonstrate against
Israel's illegal occupation on its border. "Our aim is to reach (it),
regardless of the date," said Yasser Azzam, an organizing committee
- They'll be back. So will others, including humanitarian
aid ships until Gaza's illegal siege is ended, 15 scheduled to arrive in
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
email@example.com. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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