By Lilly Cohen
I get it a lot. As I’m sure you do. It comes in different forms and questions. Dressed up as a worthy cause or wrapped in a cloak of morality. I’m talking about the large-scale world perception that the Palestinian issue is a humanitarian, a human rights one.
It’s an easy case to plead. And a simple stage to set. All you need are the right props, a scripted cast and a few select frames. Context, background and experience are, however, not required. The result? A world audience captivated by the apparent human rights violations that Israel commits against the Palestinian people.
See, human rights, and naturally also, the violation thereof, emerged as a catchphrase in recent years. Because human rights fall in its own category. It’s those rights you have simply because you’re human. The right to life, security, health. And these rights are crucial, fundamental, undeniable.
But they also come with a responsibility. Logic tells me that you can’t demand your human rights to be respected while you’re in the very act of violating someone else’s. In short, I can’t expect you to uphold my human right to life and security if I’m busy killing you. Reason says that you’ll try to stop me, that you’ll defend yourself. Because as a human, you have the same human rights I do.
But what does that have to do with Israel? A lot really. See, I recently read an article about Israel’s so-called human rights violations against the Palestinian people. And specifically those Palestinian people living in Judea and Samaria (or as the media calls it, the West Bank). The article started where many such articles start: the security fence. Yes, that fence. Because with the fence came security checkpoints, searches and entry permits. No longer would there be a free flow for all. And the world was outraged. At Israel’s apparent violation of the Palestinians rights to freedom of movement and everything that comes with that.
But what those who lead the anti-Israel rallies, the humanitarian efforts and the pro-Palestinian causes forget so easily is that human rights come with a responsibility. Because yes, there is a human rights violation here. And it’s Israel’s rights being violated. Severely so.
The Second Intifada started in 2000. Over the course of four bloody years, more than 1,000 Israelis died. The majority of them civilians. 7,000 were injured. Suicide attacks became the weapon of choice. Terrorist infiltrated Israeli cities and towns from Judea and Samaria and launched a staggering 138 attacks on streets, restaurants and hotels across Israel. The suicide attackers didn’t target soldiers or security personnel. Their aim was mothers and children, Holocaust survivors, the elderly, the defenceless and the innocent.
The Israel Defence Force tried their best to curb the flood of terror. And large-scale surveillance, curfews and a strong military presence in towns like Hebron and Ramallah did work. But as soon as the IDF relaxed its hold, the terrorists would once again have free access to innocent Israeli citizens – Jews and Arabs alike.
Terrorists violated Israelis basic human rights to life and security. And it’s these acts of terror that gave birth to the security fence. Not as an attempt to separate, hassle or inflict harm. And most certainly not as a means of violating human rights. The security fence grew from a desperate cry for just that: security. It was built to keep suicide attackers out of Israel. To protect the people of Israel. And it works.
During the terrible Second Intifada years of 2000 – 2003, terrorists from Judea and Samaria launched 73 attacks on Israel. The security fence was built in 2003. The Intifada ended in 2004. Between 2003 – 2006 the attacks fell to 12. Startling decrease, wouldn’t you say?
Which brings me back to the issue of human rights. Because if the Palestinian issue was simply a humanitarian one… If it was… Well, then there would be a worldwide outcry against the Palestinian people violating Israel’s rights to life and security. Ironic that it’s just the other way around, don’t you think?Share this page with your friends
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