TOK Essay


By Jude Batayneh

"This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!...  If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country 'Arab', what does?" (King Abdullah I)

List of facts:

  • Palestinians live their lives with no nation and no citizenship. Their power over their own lives is stripped from them.
  • The state of Israel, a product of European Jewish colonialism, came into existence through the 1947-49 war.
  • It was created on 78% of the land previously called Palestine, which had been populated by (10%) Christian, (4%) Jewish, and (86%) Muslim Arabs living in peace.
  • 750,000 Palestinian Arabs were violently pushed out in order to create this Jewish state.
  • They have never been allowed to return to their homes
  • In 1967, Israel simply conquered the final 22% of the set "Palestine". Since then, Palestinian lived under occupation.
  • Despite there being a Palestinian autonomous entity which was able to continue with public functions (i.e. health care, education, policing…), there is no doubt that Israel maintained overall power.
  • International law states that an occupying power has the responsibility of the civilians that are under its control. It seems that either Israel did not understand this requirement or simply preferred to ignore it.
  • In an effort to guarantee that civilians do not suffer as they did in World War II, several principles were instituted in what is known as the Geneva Conventions.
  • One of the world's leading violators of these set principles would be Israel which on a regular basis imprison possibly innocent civilians (children as well), confiscate privately owned land and abuse inhabitants in numerous ways.
  • Palestinians are not allowed to leave the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, nor enter it, without permission from Israel. It is not uncommon for Israel to refuse.
  • There is a small, but nevertheless determined minority of Israelis who happen to oppose the occupation.
  • They are known as "internationals" and often perform peaceful marches and try to help Palestinians with harvesting their crops and also live in refugee camps in an effort to prevent shelling with the hope that their presence will save Palestinians from the invasion.
  • These individuals are often beaten and sometimes shot to death.
  • Some Israeli soldiers are refusing to serve in the West Bank or Gaza, stating: “We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people.”
  • During the summer of 2005, Israel “disengaged” from the Gaza Strip,
  • In reality, though, Israel’s occupation of Gaza did not end.
  • Israel controlled all exits and entrances, its air space, and its sea ports.
  • In 2006, in what was universally hailed as a free, democratic election, members of Hamas, a Palestinian political party with a militant wing, were elected to a majority of the seats in the Palestinian legislature and a unity government was formed.
  • Israel was not happy with this result and worked to undermine it.
  • Western powers declared a boycott of the Palestinian Authority as long as Hamas was included in the government.
  • In 2007, this pressure caused the government to splinter, with Hamas in charge in Gaza, and Fatah (the party that had been in power for decades) in control in the West Bank.
  • During this time, Israel continued to invade Gaza, killing over 713 Gazans in 2007 and 2008 (prior to the launch of their major assault on Dec 27, 2008).
  • Resistance groups in Gaza attempted to violently resist these attacks, killing 8 of the invading soldiers.
  • Some Palestinian fighters also launched rockets. Often described in the media as a significant threat to Israeli security, most of these rockets are small, homemade projectiles that normally kill no one and only rarely cause damage. Since 2001 these have killed a total of 18 Israelis.
  • On June 19, 2008 a 6-month truce went into effect between Palestinian fighters in Gaza and Israel.
  • The terms of the truce were that Israel stop all invasions into Gaza, reduce its blockade on Gaza, and that the Palestinians stop all rocket attacks on Israel.
  • Israel never fulfilled its obligation to ease the siege of Gaza, which had created, according to numerous relief organizations, “catastrophic” humanitarian conditions.
  • Christian Aid stated that Israel was using food and medicine as weapons against Gaza's 1.5 million men, women, and children.
  • Five months later, on November 4th, the truce ended when Israel invaded Gaza, killing 6 Palestinians.
  • Only after this did Hamas resume rocket fire.
  • On December 27th, Israel began a premeditated air, land, and sea assault on Gaza.
  • In three weeks Israeli forces killed 1,380 Palestinians – 431 of them children – and injured 5,380.
  • Palestinians killed 9 Israelis during this time. Israeli strikes damaged and destroyed huge numbers of homes, causing a third of all Gazans to be displaced at some point during the assault.
  • 35-60% of the agriculture industry was damaged, electricity is still only intermittently available to most in Gaza, and the water network sustained major damage as well.
  • After ignoring calls for a ceasefire for 3 weeks, Israel finally declared what it called a “unilateral ceasefire” on January 18th.
  • Palestinian factions called a ceasefire as well a few hours later.
  • It was widely reported by the media that this ceasefire was first breached by Palestinians on Jan 27th.
  • In reality, however, Israel had already violated the ceasefire at least seven times, including killing two farmers – the first only a few hours after the ceasefire went into effect – and shooting a child.
  • American taxpayers give Israel $7 million per day – far more than to all the starving countries of Africa put together.
  • Americans are therefore considered by much of the world as responsible for Israeli violations of human rights, creating escalating enmity toward our country.
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Knowledge Issues:

The facts shown above show us a lot of important facts surrounding the Gaza/Israeli conflict. However, it is very important to question the possible biased approaches and limitations or uncertainties in the information that we have. First of all, the information gathered can be mostly backed up by other sources considering that they are mainly stating facts and not opinion. Some of them were gathered from a website directed to Americans. This website's aim is to help Americans understand the "truth", a very important point to take into consideration. Also, since it wants to keep them interested rather ...

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