Writer: Vincent Lyn
Since the creation of modern Israel in 1948, this region has essentially been in a constant state of conflict. Morally sane people would not object to the rights of peaceful existence of this Jewish enclave in the Middle East, and recognition of the historic persecutions of Jews, especially during the mass genocidal murders committed by occupying Nazis in Europe during the holocaust of the Second World War. However, United Nations and human rights advocacy groups are critical of Israeli policies toward Palestinians relating to their control of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and some scholars have gone as far as describing it as an apartheid state similar to the past colonial regime in South Africa of the controlling European-descended White minorities over the native African Black majorities.
The blockade by land, air and sea imposed by Israel following Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007 continues to devastate the socioeconomic situation for the approximate 1.9 million Palestinians cramped into 362 square kilometers (3rd most densely populated place on earth). UN Secretary-General has stated the blockade contravenes international humanitarian laws as they target and imposed hardship on civilians, and penalizing them for acts that they have not committed. With an unemployment rate in excess of 55%, the continued restrictions which are further exacerbated by the continuing intra-Palestinian divisions, has forced 80% of the population to become dependent on international assistance. Clean water is unavailable to 95% of the inhabitants, and electricity is generally only supplied daily for 4-5 hours. Such hardship has impacted adversely on the physical and mental health of the populace.
In my capacity as founder of We Can Save Children, I have befriended many Palestinian families during my humanitarian missions to deliver aid supplies to this region. Below is the words from Lara, a mother of 5 children, who also has to care for her grandfather, and both her parents. I could have used the words of others, but the message of their collective suffering remains regrettably the same.
“We don't have a salary and we cannot meet the needs of our children. There is no change in our lives. Our lives have become a killer routine. Our lives are difficult. We just want to live a decent life like other people. Immigration has become the dream of everyone from Gaza. In Gaza, a man losses his status, and tears dig into the eyes of men who live here. Parents stand helpless in front of their children. What does it mean to cry in front of a man, when the supermarket owner refuses to give his wife some cheese. His children waits for lunch because he could not pay the debts. In Gaza, humanity has lost its content, and for a moment it seems as if the gates of heaven have been shut in the face of this miserable and impoverished city, and all but the blood we pay as tax for survival in Gaza. Are all the positions of the world sufficient to answer the question of hunger? Or the cry of a child who wakes at night so terrified to believe that he was in the grave because the electricity had been cut off and everything turned dark. Can we imagine the closure of this region to the world for decades, since its occupation in 1967, and Gaza isolated from the world. This misery that we are born into is cursed.”
Trump declared on 19th November this year that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian lands are legal, upending half a century of US policy. On the same day, Canada reversed course and voted in favor of a UN resolution condemning Israeli occupation, prompting angry backlash from Jewish groups and further driving foreign policy divisions between the North American neighbors. The fact remains that the Fourth Geneva Convention, of which the US is a signatory, states that occupying powers cannot move its own civilian population into territories it occupies.
Modern Israel was born in 1948, but it has yet to grow up in peace, and the bitter conflicts it generates is infested throughout the rest of the world.
Vincent Lyn, founder of We Can Save Children standing beside pre-1917 map of Palestine