Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Justice for Israel 2

My last post on Israel generated some debate. Let me put down a few reasons in favour of a bias towards the Palestinians.

1. The Palestinian territories are occupied by a foreign power. They are not part of the original borders of Israel and resolution 242 from the UN condemns their occupation.

2. The territories have been colonized by Jewish settlers and dismembered into different zones, making any Palestinian state a collection of fragmented islands - a parody of what they should have. Colonization of territory occupied in war is against international law. The building of the separation wall is further de-humanizing Palestinians by forcing them into ghettos and unilaterally annexing territory (

3. The difference between the suffering of the Israelis and the Palestinians is totally disproportionate. For example, according to B'Tselem (Israeli human rights watchdog), there have been approx 4000 Palestinian deaths since the beginning of the recent intifada and approx 500 Israeli deaths. All the power lays with Israel (backed by the US).

4. Israel does not follow standards of international law/justice in its treatment of the Palestinians. For example, one can look at its treatment of 'terrorists' (i.e. revenge executions, bulldozing of houses, civilians as 'collateral damage', use of torture). In what sense can Israelis call Hamas 'terrorists', when it treats them in the same way you might treat a foreign army?

5. Israel uses the violence and targetting of Israeli civilians by Paletinian groups as a justification for its actions. Yet, this is a separate issue. Justice for the Palestinians is not an optional extra but an ethical imperative. While such violence is evil and unjustifiable, it does not justify Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, nor their occupation of the territories. The same goes for the corruption/misuse of power associated with the Palestinian authority.

Lots more could be said, but this is a taster.