Genocide, Holocaust – these are words that we hope never to mention”.
Genocide – this word went down to the history of the world as a horrible reminder of the world’s ongoing mass killings and crimes against humanity. All around the world, different people experience hardships, their human rights are neglected and they are treated like slaves. Armies kill innocent civilians without any reason, committing awful crimes. And this is only the top of the iceberg called – Genocide or the Holocaust The history already had bright examples of this tragedy. The greatest Holocaust against Jews in Poland, France and Germany and implementation of the concentration camps’ programs of Nazi Germany shook the world and touched the hearts of thousands of people. The mass murder of Indians in the history of the United States of America and many other facts will never leave us indifferent to this acute global problem.
The Middle East today is not an impeccable part of the world. It’s a part that virtually bleeds hoping for the long awaiting peace to be established. Every Day innocent people lose their lives, regardless of the fact that policymakers and officials try to find compromise in order to come to a peace deal.
The conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, based on the disputes over “promised land” has an immense impact on the stability of the whole Middle East region. The world became aware of the seriousness of this conflict and the world’s leading countries try to initiate the peace talks and provide solutions on how to move the peace process ahead. I guess it’s important to underline that Palestinians experience serious violations of their human rights, endless tortures in Israeli prisons and thus we can assume that the Hidden Genocide against Palestinian nation is actually happening these days.
Israeli Forces do commit hundreds of unjustified crimes against humanity, humiliating Palestinian nation.
One of specific features of this conflict is the use of the religious beliefs by both parties. But only Israel seeks justification for the acts of violence and injustice in such biblical sources. Israelis believe that Abraham, the alleged father of Jews, promised his children a “sacred land” in the past times. Israelis also say that the land he promised was actually conquered by Roman Empire and they want it Notwithstanding this fact there’s one more religious belief which states that Palestinians are the Abraham’s children as well and that’s why this land was also promised to Palestinians. But no country should justify the violence and inhuman crimes regarding the religious beliefs. The importance of this issue explains why the Palestinians do consider religious factor to be a minor reason for the development of this conflict.
Though, in 1947 religious background had major impact on the development of the conflict. The British government called off their troops and, taking such brilliant opportunity, Israel proclaimed the formation of Israeli state. I think this was actually the apple of discord between both sides and the start for the escalation of the conflict, because Palestinians were promised their rights for the creation of their own unique state too but as we know, in the mazes of history some crucial things happen too rarely.
Another horrible fact shows that in 1948, when the outbreak of the war created genocide against people of Palestine, more then 750 thousand Palestinian had to leave their motherland and actually turned into refugees. They fled the neighboring countries and experienced unbelievable hardships. Israelis captured their land and annihilated their homes hoping they would never come back. Palestinians personal things and property were in the hand of Israelis who actively used it.
The history of the Middle East witnessed the desperation of Palestinian people, cause they couldn’t find protection for their families from Israeli Army assaults and when the European TV media revealed the fact that “… people of Palestine threw stones at Israeli soldiers, because they had no weapons to defend their lives”, the entire world got to know the fear of genocide and the extent of the ongoing conflict.
Taking into consideration the radicals from Hamas and Islamic Jihad (the extreme groups) it’s important to draw attention to the fact that the reasons for their active actions (terror) were the anger and the outrage kept inside their hearts for too many years. They tried to justify their terrorist actions by emotions caused from sufferings and hardships. Palestinians were desperate because of their defeat in the Six-Day War, empty promises of the British Forces and the oppression of the Israelis.
Frustration, unjustified crimes and mass murder committed by Israel was a real dead-end for Palestinians. Thus, having no way out in such situation, the extreme groups and insurgents took desperate measures starting the wave of terror. Israeli Authorities answered with prompt military actions for the sake of preventing the killings of civilians in Israel. The policies of Israel are based on the counter attacks (or simply state terrorism). It seems that, according to these policies, every attack on the Jewish settlers or the Jewish community should be opposed with the counter strikes, killing at least 50 or up to 100 Arabs. There’s no need to say that this considered to be a normal state of things, and the security measures, which were actually created by the Israelis, have a considerable impact on the lives of the ordinary Palestinians.
It’s necessary to point out that the curfews are one of the main concerns in the Israeli control over the Palestinians. According to “The Washington Post” report, “… in July of 2002, 600,000 Palestinians in the West Bank were confined to day curfews. These curfews were so harsh that housewives could be killed for merely going outside and hanging up wet laundry. These curfews do more than place more anger and fear in the hearts of Palestinians They are also clear signs of another Holocaust.”
Another serious problem is the theft of Palestinian land during the times of war and the demolition of their property. A fact even more disturbing is that Israel presently rules Palestinian land illegally in accordance with Resolution 242, passed by the United Nations Security Council on November 26, 1967. Resolution 242 states that during time of war a country cannot claim the territory of another; they must return any captured land after the war. An undeniable fact remains that Israel still occupies Palestinian land.
The growth of Jewish settlements is another important issue. The policy of “double standards” distorts the true facts, ongoing in the sacred land. Though realization of the disengagement plan brought considerable changes in the current state of affairs with Israel and immense hope to the Palestinians, some settlements remain in the Western bank and they are still growing. According to “The New York Times” report, Palestinians experience frustration as the Jewish settlers capture new land. This quotation in “The New York Times” clearly shows the situation – “their land is disappearing the villagers say, and only the settlers have the army on their side.” This today’s Genocide may well be an annihilation of Palestinian people, simply, practicing the theft of the Palestinian land and pushing innocent people into the darkness of the refugee camps, in order to create reservations. This case is worst than the genocide because it’s a mere slow death.
This situation becomes even worse as the Israel builds the defense wall, separating the West Bank (Palestinian territory) from the rest of Israel. The wall will run the entire length of the West Bank border making exceptions on Israeli settlements. This wall is merely a more confining way, other than checkpoints, that will even further prevent the development of a strong Palestinian nation. Today, the construction of the wall is moving towards completion, bringing people frustration and despair. The Idea to build the wall reminds us about a great number of the unjustified facts of violence in the past, because according to the information available in the United Nations – over 237,000 Palestinians will be “captured” between the barrier and the Green Line. One more terrifying fact shocks the world community, as another 160,000 people, remaining on the Palestinian side will suffer, because they will be cut off from their native land.
Even the Israeli media expressed the concern about the construction of the barrier – for example, Meron Rappaport, Yediot Aharonot; Akiva Eldar, Ha’aretz – “The new line of the barrier as approved by the Israeli cabinet on 20 February 2005 reduces the size of Palestinian land to be annexed by the barrier by 2.5%, mainly in the Southern Hebron area, where work is only starting (so the barrier route can still change many times as the work progresses)”.
Another fact that shows the complete characteristics of the injustice is the mass killings under the order of the government or the so-called “targeted killings”. Under Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, these mass killings and the acts of outrage upon humanity became evident and that’s why The United Nations condemned the inhuman treatment of Palestinians and these outrages committed by the Israeli forces. On April 15, 2002 U.N. demanded the end of acts of mass killings committed by the Israelis authorities. In the month of April 2002 there was a terrible bloodshed, as the Israeli army killed men, exterminated women and annihilated children in most of Palestinian villages. In the refugee camps Israeli armed Forces also committed mass killings. The notorious refugee camp of Jenin claimed the lives of thousand Palestinians. 2 weeks of the Israel’s fiercest assault on the West Bank resulted systematic destruction and random death of Palestinians. The Israelis also fired on unarmed civilians. These signs speak to themselves, showing that Israel doesn’t care about the security of their citizens, it cares more about the annihilation of the entire Palestinian race. One of the Palestinian governmental organizations – Palestinemonitor showed the world an true conflict situation in the interview with Shlomi Segall, an Israeli reservist who refused to serve in Palestinian Territories. He explained, “Any suicide attack within Israel, deplorable as it is, is used by the government as a pretext for inflicting ever-increasing misery on the 3.5 million inhabitants of Palestine. And if suicide attacks are not forthcoming, you can count on Sharon to provoke them with his so-called “targeted killings”, which usually leave alleged terrorists unharmed but often leave women and children dead In this so-called war, any pretext is used to inflict a second Nakba (the catastrophe of 1948) on the Palestinians” Though Shlomi loves Israel with all his heart. He pointed to the injustices committed to Palestinians. “Just look at the destruction of the Palestinian ministry of culture, the bureau of statistics, the ministry of education; look at the destruction of such national symbols as the Palestinian international airport and the Voice of Palestine radio station All this is aimed not at some terrorist infrastructure, but at the basic foundations of a society struggling to attain independence and develop its future from under the Israeli army boot. This is something conscientious Israelis are no longer willing to take part in.” These words are shocking and at I guess this is the best proof that the so-called Arabs’ anti-Semitism it’s merely the cause of fear of the dispossession, oppression, degradation, and humiliation of the Palestinian people that continues today on the occupied territories.
The recent helicopter air strikes, demolition of houses and the death of the civilians in order to fight extremism is a lame excuse for the justification of the inhuman treatment of the entire Palestinian nation. According to the statistics, in May of 2005 at least 60 Palestinians were killed, almost 300 Palestinian homes demolished, and close to 4,000 people made homeless.
According to the facts of Palestine News every day people witness the death or casualties of Palestinians. The reports reveals the truth that “the Israeli forces also increased their offensive as the recent ten air strikes left four Palestinians dead and five others injured. The Israeli forces also isolated parts of the Gaza Strip by closing Salah Ad-Din Road in the south and the Beach Road, the only passageway connecting Gaza City with the middle governate of the Gaza Strip. As a result, thousands of people are left stranded, unable to travel to their homes and work”.
One more horrible thing of the genocide is that for a period of more than 10 years, Israeli soldiers and the intelligence do practice the “use of force” while the interrogation of Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinians, detained in Israeli prisons for many months without the official charges or any trial, and they are tortured by the Shin Bet (General Security services) and it’s necessary to underline, that they are accused of such offences as the membership in the unlawful organizations or at throwing stones. Thus one can not agree that the committed tortures considered to be the outrageous large-scale crimes against humanity.
An amazingly disturbing feature of this conflict remains listening to and watching the immense distortions in the media coverage. The media keeps on reinforcing the false values of this conflict. It has continuously shifted the biases in favor of the Israelis to a vast majority of their listeners and readers. (i.e. Israelis are all innocent victims but all Palestinian kids considered to be terrorists. Civilians are innocent in the state of Israel, but in Palestine they are “uninvolved” never innocent, they hate Israelis so much they kill them for no reason at all. They do not want the state of Israel to exist.) in order to underline the importance of this issue, Edward Said, one of the analysts in politics states that “It is simply extraordinary and without precedent that Israel’s history, its record- from the fact that it… is a state built on conquest, that it has invaded surrounding countries, bombed and destroyed them, to the fact that it currently occupies Lebanese, Syrian, and Palestinian territory against international law – is simply never cited, never subjected to scrutiny in the world’s media or in official discourse…never addressed as playing any role at all in provoking ‘Islamic Terror’.”
Though the media draws attention of the world community and U.N. Council to the current state of things in the conflict, the influence of the media in the coverage of ongoing events could have more significant role, providing the true analysis of the disputes However, partly because of the age of the Arab-Israeli conflict and partly because the media expresses little interest in providing the people with in-depth information in the news coverage, civilians at both sides are simply unaware of why people are fighting, what are their goals and objectives.
I think it’s obvious that traditional ways to resolve this conflict, using mechanistic, engineering, or isolated approaches are not applicable for such nonmaterial identity based conflicts. Everything is at stake including religious beliefs, moral and cultural values and the behavior of both conflicting sides. Thus only a transformed political and psychological environment could be the real key for peace and stability. Israeli-Palestinian peace is a reality but to reach the desired consent, both sides should undergo a change of mind. The principles of apology and forgiveness between Israelis and Palestinians should begin the process of reconciliation now, the rights of people not the states should be protected and the mutual tolerance should lead the peace process.
Iraq is another country where a terrible genocide of Kurds took place in 1987-1989 up to the year of 2003 and still happens today as the car bombs kill innocent Kurds in Northern Iraq. The regime of Saddam Hussein is responsible for a great deal of war crimes, including the crimes against humans, Kurds’ genocide and the current blasts in the country that have significant impact on Iraq’s democratic society. The Kurdish genocide of 1987-1989, during the Anfal campaign was a real horror. It is by now a well-established fact that on March 16, 1988 chemical weapons took the lives of over 5,000 Kurds in the town of Halabja in Northern Iraq It is equally well-established that responsibility for this atrocity lies with Saddam Hussein. According to “The New York Times” reports “the first frightful act of Saddam’s Anfal campaign was a genocide that consumed almost 100,000 Kurds”. The interviews, conducted by the international human rights groups with the survivors of Halabja revealed terrible facts: Kurds who were outside their houses during afternoon the terrifying chemical attack and they “could see clearly that these were Iraqi, not Iranian aircraft, since they flew low enough for their markings to be legible…” The people were gassed and the survivors remember these moments as terrible nightmares. Just before the sunrise on March 18, 1988 innocent civilians of Halabja had never suspected that their lives were at risk and the lives of their children were also in danger. The Iraqi regime committed its most tragic and horrible crime from the beginning of the imposed war until now against the civilian people on Friday, 18th of March. On that day, Halabja was bombarded more than twenty times by Iraqi regime’s warplanes with chemical and cluster bombs. According to the fact discovered by the international human rights groups That Friday afternoon, the extent of Iraqi crimes became obvious. Cyanide gases killed thousands of children, playing in front of their houses in the morning. The innocent children didn’t have time to run back home and survive. The deployment of the chemical weapons by the Iraq Armed forces caused devastation and death to peaceful civilians, leaving behind the cries that can touch the hearts of every cruel human being. The crimes were enormous and their results were shocking to the mankind. The uncovered facts are horrifying: in a Simorgh Van, experts found the dead bodies of 20 women and the little ones who wanted to leave the small town but the chemical attack claimed the lives of everyone, making any human stop and ponder about the depth of the catastrophe. Fatal wounds on the corpses of these innocent people were the evidence of the atrocities committed by the Saddam Hussein.
The media reports show the truth of the genocide and uncover the evidence, for the world community to know the terrible actions of inhuman treatment and crimes. According to the CNN reports in October of 2004 – “U.S. forces have exhumed a mass grave in northwestern Iraq and uncovered the remains of hundreds of people. Many of the bodies found at the site near al-Hatra are believed to be the bodies of Kurdish women and children thought slaughtered by the Saddam Hussein regime. Crews have excavated two grave trenches, and officials say there could be as many as 12 in the general area. Experts said the bodies were apparently bulldozed into the graves. The first trench contained the remains of women and children, and the second contained the remains of men only. More than 100 bodies have been found from the first location and a similar number from the other. The victims appear to be Kurds, based on the dress and the personal belongings found. Many of the victims wore multiple layers of clothing and carried small personal items like jewelry and medication. One child was found with a ball in his hand. The women – four or five of whom were pregnant – and children appear to have been killed with a single small-caliber gunshot to the head.” In late April 1987, twenty four villages of Iraq’s Kurdistan were targeted by the chemical bombardment. These villages were chemically bombarded twice in less than 48 hours. Saber Ahmad Khoshnam, a real survivor and the inhabitant of the villages, which were hit by the air strikes, on 28th of April 1987 at the Hospital of Loqmanodulleh( in the Iran’s capital Tehran), told reporters that the Iraqi warplanes dropped 18 chemical bombs at Pasian, Sheikh Dassan, Tuteman and Kani Bard villages.
He stated that great deal of villagers (more than one hundred) were injured during the attacks. He told the reporters that he had seen how the whole family in one of the Parsian villages lost the eye sight. In the course of the chemical bombardment of the late April 1987 of the Iraqi villages, more than 130 innocent civilians were martyred and nearly 500 of them were wounded. Since 1975, over 4,000 Kurdish villages had been destroyed; by a conservative estimate more than 100,000 rural Kurds had died in Anfal alone. The other figures show that more than a half of Iraq’s farmlands had been wasted. The mass killings of men are the most shocking facts of the genocide. Only six people, all from the Third and the bloodies Anfal – aged between 12 and 38, were lucky to run away in order to tell us the real story about thousands of Kurds who were captured and taken away by the army’s sealed trucks from the refugee camps to southern Iraq. The history revealed its secrets as the captured Iraqi documents demonstrate “in astonishing detail” how the Iraqi governmental bureaucracy prepared the Kurdish genocide.
The Kurds are obviously a different and unique nationality. And as we know genocide – is the way to eliminate, annihilate, limit or exterminate a religious, ethnic, national or racial group of people Human rights groups believe that about 300,000 people were exterminated during Saddam’s 24-year rule, which ended when U.S. forces and their allies crashed his regime in 2003. But even nowadays, the genocide against Kurds exists mainly because of the political views of insurgents as a new and qualitatively effective offensive tactics of the resistance. According to U.S. military officials, Iraq witnessed more than 25 car bombings last year and since March 1 to October of 2005 there have been 126 cases.
The struggle for Iraq is only starting. The Shia wants elections and full power. The Sunni do want the United States to move the armed forces out of the country and will not accept total isolation. The Kurds want to obtain a greater extent of their autonomy. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his insurgents in “Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia” killed thousands of Kurds in a series of regular blasts in order to create a terrible fear among the Kurds minority. Zarqawi is attempting to use attacks on civilians to intimidate the unique Kurds community from backing up the new government and the country’s occupation by the U.S. armed forces that actually supports it.
The Kurds have long seen by the United States as a possible ally in their tough neighborhood, where Turkey, Iran and Iraq continually seek to keep the Kurds weak and divided. The major Kurdish parties have largely shed their Soviet-era socialist policies, and now speak the language of freedom, individual rights, democracy and a pro-Western orientation. No one has suffered more at the hands of the Ba’th regime in Baghdad than the Kurds, an ethnic minority of five million people who constitute nearly 20 percent of Iraq’s population. But they have not yet committed to supporting US efforts to change the Iraqi government. At the heart of Kurdish hesitation to join the US in any “regime change” is fear. This fear comes from the atrocities committed by the insurgents. By committing such atrocities the insurgents clearly continue the genocide against the Kurdish minority. Terrorists use the suicide bombers to execute their crimes. And the experts say that a suicide attack kills six times as many people as regular terrorist tactics. It wounds twelve times as many people as a regular terrorist act The CNN journalists note that the suicide bombers create the pressure that actually influences people’s lives. Vivid examples can be seen in the headlines and the reports of the media. According to “The New York Times” in November 2005 the current situation became even worse – “A pair of suicide bombers detonated explosive belts inside two mosques in the northern Kurdish town of Khanaqin, collapsing the buildings, killing at least 70 people and wounding scores more. The attack came as worshipers were gathering for Friday prayers. It was the deadliest coordinated bombing in Iraq in nearly three months, and came hours after two suicide truck bombs exploded outside a hotel in central Baghdad that houses many foreign journalists. The blasts, which killed at least six Iraqis and wounded at least 60, completely reduced a neighboring apartment building to rubble”. This report is a clear example that the struggle for power result the terrific death toll that is clearly a sign of genocide. A fight for the power in the new country has turned into massive killings of the Shiites and Kurds and as the country struggles for peace and stability, the rebels crash people’s hopes for a better future. The fact that the deaths of innocent people won’t bring the desired power and can seriously escalate the situation between the sects remains an acute problem in the new Iraqi society.
But as the way of God’s will, people of Iraq proclaimed their rights in a very important document – the Constitution of Iraq, showing the whole world that the way for peace and prosperity lies in mutual understanding and protection of human rights. The current constitution of Iraq was approved on October 15, 2005 by the ratification vote. The process of drafting and adoption of the new country’s Constitution wasn’t without controversial issues, however, the tensions over sect issues in Iraq turned out to be hard in their process. The deadline for the conclusion of the draft constitution was postponed four times because the parties couldn’t come to compromise, regarding serious religious problems To crown it all, 3 representatives of the Sunni members (out of 15), who participated in the work of the drafting committee were present at the singing ceremony, but they actually refused to sign it. Sunni leaders were generally telling the voters to reject the draft constitution in the 15 October referendum, but people didn’t listen to their words. On Sunday, 28 August 2005 – the full text of the country’s constitution was read to the Assembly National. In the text, the Constitution describes Iraq as a “democratic, federal, representative republic” (art. 1), and a “multiethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect country” (art. 3). This constitution gave people of Iraq a brand new hope for the end of violence and a safer, peaceful future for Shia, Sunni and Kurds.
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Sources: 1. Anderson, John Ward. New Israeli Curfews Confine 600,000 in West Bank. “The Washington Post”, A11). 2. Golden, Tom. Dreams of Land Collide As Israel Settlers Grow. “The New York Times” p. 19. 3. IRAQ: Suicide Attacks, Lionel Beehner, CNN reports. 4. Edward Wong, The victims, The New York Times. 5. Middle East Watch, Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds. New York: Human Rights Watch, p. 11- 29. 6. al-Khalil (pseudonym for Kanan Makiya), Republic of Fear. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, p. 20-26