Palestine Refugees and Humanitarian Crisis
Peace between Israel and the Palestinians remains both necessary and possible. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an urgent issue in the region. Day by day, the situation in both states has worsened, thus human rights and democratic values have been consistently violated. People in both Israelis and Palestine have lost faith in their political leaders and no longer have a framework or a vision for the future.
Europe Peace Foundation believes strongly in the need to address the situation of Palestinian people, through the support of European democracies and institutions, in order to mitigate the radicalisation of youth and the loss of sensibility towards human lives and futures. EPF is committed to human rights, democratic values and the improvement of the health sector in Palestine.
Violence and Displacement Threaten Palestinian Livelihood
Palestinians suffer from constant land seizure, displacement, military intimidation and violence perpetrated by the Israeli State and its Defense Forces. Though Israel purports to be a democracy extending rights to Palestinians, the reality on the ground proves the opposite. Religion and politics are used as ideologies to claim ownership and control of Palestinian land and resources. Over 75 years of the Israeli Colonial project have left a fractured landscape of impoverished communities struggling for survival under systematic abuse in an apartheid system.
Europe Peace Foundation advocates for the right of native people to live peacefully and securely in their ancestral lands, regardless of religious creed. We call on governments and institutions to respect the human and territorial liberty of Palestinians under the universal declaration of human rights and respect the right to self-determination and return of displaced Palestinians. We assert the need for a two-state solution that restores to Palestinians full control of their farm land, coast, water systems, aquifers, and heritage resources as well as freedom of movement and safe transit across their territories. We affirm the need for an immediate demilitarization and departure of occupying forces from Palestine as an urgent prerequisite for peace and stability.
Politics of Violent Segregation
Under Israeli military occupation, Palestinians suffer from violence, racism, humiliation and fear. Colonialism has no place in the 20th century, yet Israel´s state-sponsored project of expansion comes hand in hand with destroying Palestinian livelihood and erasing their past. This includes the continued crimes of demolishing homes and buildings, building illegal settlements and a wall across the land, segregating roads and schools, restricting movement, militarizing the landscape with checkpoints and soldiers, turning a blind-eye to the violent crimes of settlers, and a policy of mass arrests and incarceration (including minors) to name some of the most egregious and systematic violations. It is unthinkable that western powers accept and endorse this abuse against a native population. The Israeli project as it is played our today is a crime against Palestinians: a crime against humanity.
Destruction of Traditional Livelihoods
Under the guise of security, the Israeli military, government and settlers have systematically seized Palestinian agricultural land and destroyed crops, depriving farmers of their livelihood and threatening food security. Israel has designated most of the Palestinian lands in the Jordan Valley as military areas, nature reserves or buffers to secure illegal settlers, resulting in the overwhelmingly reduction of fertile soils for local farming and agricultural activities. The Israeli Apartheid Wall, for instance, is built on rich agricultural land that has historically sustained the life of traditional farmers. In addition to dividing families and community networks, the illegal barrier will annex over 9.5% of the West Bank, devastating the indigenous economy and demolishing homes in policies designed to impoverish and remove people from their ancestral lands.
Wildlife is also affected by the Wall that blocks transit, exposing the perversion of policies of displacement of rural farmers for the creation of nature reserves. Additionally, water is channeled exclusively to settlements, cutting off Palestinian from this vital life-source. Palestinians left with limited sources of livelihood within the West Bank and Gaza and are forced to work in Israel. A simple look at the grueling trajectory of checkpoints and abuse endured on a daily commute to work is indicative of the reality of life under occupation.
The on-going blockade of Gaza and the terror unleashed by Israel´s genocidal assault which killed 2,500 Palestinians in seven weeks during the summer of 2014, along with the inaction of the international community in the face of a calculated massacre, have advanced the project of Palestinian annihilation and made a mockery of the lessons learned from World War II. As with other attacks perpetrated by the Israeli Defense Forces, the failure of European governments to do more than condemn Israeli war crimes, namely the bombing of hospitals, the shelling of schools and the destruction of Gaza´s only power plant in a clear strategy intended to destroy civilian infrastructure and cause prolonged misery, tarnishes their credibility and opens the door to radicalization of people that have nothing else to loose.
Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, Lebanese and Syrians will continue because they have no checks or consequences. This sends the message to people of the Middle East that international law, international justice and the universal declaration of human rights do not apply to them. The media is also to blame when lauding the civility behind the Israeli´s army dropping of leaflets warning people to evacuate their homes because of imminent bombing, yet bombing within seconds and shattering human bodies into pieces, effectively leaving no safe place for civilians in Gaza. This level of cruelty is only matched by the so called ´Islamic State´. We call on European powers to uphold the international agreement on the declaration of human rights and hold Israel accountable for its war crimes.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child must be extended to Palestinian Children. Palestinian children are not spared the humiliations and violence of illegal settlers and the colonial occupying army. As of August 2017, 331 Palestinian minors were held in Israeli jails. The ingrained racism towards Palestinian children is learned early on by innocent Israeli children with negative and offensive portrayals of Palestinians in elementary school textbooks. These negative views are reinforced throughout school and reach the most horrific dimensions with the use of children as human shields and the outright murder of children by settlers who consider it their right to do so.
The needs of the Palestinian people are many. Europe Peace Foundation will work through diplomatic channels and its partners on the ground on strengthening the health services, especially in Gaza.