29 January 2015
Israeli Collective Punishment Against Palestinians
The conflict between Israel and Palestine has dominated news headlines and lead to much conflict and debate over the last sixty years. On both sides of the conflict, many soldiers, militants, and civilians have lost their lives and suffered great injustices from formal governments and militant/terrorist organizations, such as Hamas and Fatah. Most western countries, especially the United States, are important allies to Israel, and have supported Israel in its defence campaigns and actions taken to keep “peace” within Israel. These actions taken to keep “peace” typically involve actions of injustice taken against Palestinians, who to this day continue to have land taken away from them by the Israeli government to be used as housing for
Israeli settlers. Israel has had a history of acts of injustice against Palestinians, but as a result of the United States being a close ally to Israel, US media typically portrays Israel as the victim of the conflict and does not shed light on the injustices taken on Palestinians.
In my opinion, one of the Israeli government’s most barbaric practices is their collective punishment for the families of terrorists. In Israel, if a Palestinian commits a terrorist attack on the civilian population and is detained, suspected, or convicted for crimes against Israelis
, the family home of the terrorist will be demolished by the government, possessions and all.
Collective punishment is looked down upon by the international community and is illegal under the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions. In this form of collective punishment, the family of
a Palestinian terrorists or suspected terrorists must suffer for actions done by a family member.
Families do not have the ability to pick their family members, and an entire family should not have to lose everything they have as a result of actions done by a relative. Another form of collective punishment is the Israeli blockade on Gaza. As a result of the blockade, Palestinians in
Gaza live in poverty, not being able to import sufficient food and goods in order to build a healthy society and and build an economy. As Israel carries out these collective punishments, the
United States has stood by their ally, in full support of Israel’s actions, unwilling to stand up for the civilians that are suffering as a result of these practices. Another major injustice on the
Palestinians came this summer as rockets began to be fired from Gaza into civilian areas of
Israel. As a result, the Israeli government carried out a full invasion of the Gaza strip, destroying the homes of many families and resulting in the death of many civilians. During the invasion,
Israel bombed suspected militant hideouts, as well as UN run schools that were being used as hospitals. By the end of the conflict, Israel had lost 66 soldiers and 6 civilians, while Gaza lost
2,192 civilians. Once again, some members of the international community condemned these actions while the US stood in full support.
Many groups and organizations have condemned Israel’s collective punishment practices.
The International Red Cross and United Nations have criticised the blockade on Gaza, calling it a collective punishment on the entire Palestinian population in Gaza, all as a result of a small
Islamist faction. One member of the Catholic Church, Bishop Richard Pates, chairman of the US
Bishop’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to John Kerry asking him to have the
US “do all it can to bring about an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and provide