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THE VIOLATION OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS BY ISRAEL AND THE ABHORRENT USE OF CHILDREN IN ISRAEL-PALESTINE

Author: Sanjana Srivastava, V year of BA LLB (Hons) from Amity Law School, Noida


MISUSE OF CHILDREN IN THE CONFLICT

One of the biggest myths about the Israel-Palestine conflict is that it has been going on for centuries over religious hatreds upon a claim of land. Truth be told it goes back to only a century to the 1900s. Israel and Palestine remain as far from a diplomatic settlement as ever, after more than 50 years of conflict, insurgency, bilateral talks and human misery. The whole area of the Middle East still prevails as an uprising ‘Armageddon’ and formidable contention of religious extremism. Moreover, the most important issues of this conflict are mutual recognition, border, security, water rights, Israeli settlements, control of Jerusalem, Palestinian freedom of movement and finding a resolution to the refugee question.[1]


The dispute is extensive, and the expression is often used about the historical times of the same rivalry between the Zionist Yishuvs and the Arab community living in Palestine under the Ottoman rule and then British rule. This conflict has raised the eyebrows of international human rights regimes and the United Nations as well. In 1947, as the sectarian violence among the Arabs and Jews grew the United Nations had then formulated a plan to divide British Palestine into two separate states: Jewish state (Israel) & Arab State (Palestine). The city of Jerusalem, where Jews, Muslims and Christians was to become a special international zone. The plan was to give Jews a state, establish Palestinian independence, and end the sectarian violence so that the British could no longer have control. The Zionist movement, the Jews, accepted the scheme, while Palestine (and other neighbouring Arab nations) perceived the scheme as exceedingly unjust and resented it. This initiated the first war and spawned forthcoming dissensions.


It is too often that the children are used as political pawns during wars. The involvement of children in the war came into play during the Six-Day War, also known as the Yom Kippur War.[2] It was here when the definition of 'childhood' had been discarded and omitted from Israeli military documents so that if a 10-year-old had been shot and killed, he would be referred to as 'a a young man of ten'.[3] Another major involvement of children was seen in the First Infitada (1987-1993), this came to be known as the "Children's Revolt" because the children "wielded a new spirit that defied the occupation" and prompted even adults to act.[4] All this has contributed to the surge of exploitation, violence against children, holding them as detainees, using them as human shields, suicide bombers, messengers, couriers and whatnot. The extraneous manipulation and their gullibility is the impetus behind their involvement. In 2009, a 14-year-old was caught by Israeli soldiers and told that he was given $23 and a suicide bomber's jacket. His family said he was deluded and quick to exploit. A clinical psychologist of Tel Aviv University also stated due to the ambience these children are bought up in, about 15% of children dream about growing up to be suicide bomber.


An estimated 10,000 children have trained in terrorist training camps in Gaza annually, and at least 160 have died digging underground tunnels into Israel.[5]According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, there are an estimated 300,000 child soldiers in 20 countries around the world, including any person under the age of 18 who is either recruited or used by an armed force or an armed group in some way. At the end of April 2015, Human Rights Watch urged the UN to put both Israel and Hamas on its "List of shame" over the extreme deprivation of children's rights in a confrontation. The 2014 study, covered the 2013 violations, citing almost a handful of cases of Palestinian children killed by Israeli security personnel; more than 1,200 Palestinian children injured; and 41 reports of damage to school buildings, disruption of classes and injuries to students accountable for Israeli security forces.[6]While the child soldiers in Africa have caught the eye of the international news, the scenario and plight of the children soldiers in Arab countries are ignored by the global community. These children face a life of trauma and their involvement has always been stigmatized as cynical, false and degrading. Yet various efforts have failed to stop their exploitation as war resources.


Groups like Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even the Fatah have exploited the children and have allowed anti-Semitic propaganda into the education system. Their school textbooks teach them to kill Israelis and become martyrs.

The internationally agreed definition of children, codified in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), describes children as persons under 18 years of age. Since 1991, Israel has signed the treaty of CRC, extending the definition to Israeli children.[7] However, they have failed to acknowledge this over the years and often children below16 years are minors and subject to Israeli military laws such as being systematically being tried by juvenile military courts.


VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAWS

International law governing issues of Arab–Israeli conflict, which has been a major source of regional and international instability since Israel's founding in 1948, resulting in several conflicts between Arab countries and Israel. Some of the states involved in the Arab–Israeli conflict's actions are thought to be in breach of international law, although some of the states involved disagree. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel invaded and occupied territories that had been invaded and occupied by neighbouring Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, which many Israeli leaders mistook for an impending Arab attack.[8]


The state of Israel has violated several international laws.[9] The creation of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories is deemed illegal by the international community for one of two reasons: they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention or they violate international declarations. The Fourth Geneva Convention applies to Israeli settlements, according to the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice, and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention. Israel has maintained that the settlements do not violate the Fourth Geneva Convention because no Israeli residents were evacuated or transported to the territories, and they cannot be considered "occupied territory" because there was no internationally recognized legal sovereign before the establishment of the settlements. All approved settlements, according to successive Israeli governments, are fully legal and compliant with international law. In practice, Israel does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies de jure, but it has indicated that it will be governed de facto by its provisions in humanitarian matters, without specifying which ones. Typically, the international community's consensus opinion is that Israeli settlements are illegal and violate international law, as shown by various UN resolutions citing Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. According to the BBC, until 2008, every country in the world found the settlements to be illegal, except for Israel. The US announced in November 2019 that it no longer considers them to violate international law.[10] Israel's settlement operation, according to UN Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016, is a "flagrant breach" of international law with "no legal validity." It demands that Israel ceases such activities and fulfils its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying force.


The settlements were also found to be illegal under international law by an advisory opinion issued by the UN's primary judicial agency, the International Court of Justice, in 2004. The Israeli settlements and associated practices have also been labelled as a breach of international law by the United Nations Human Rights Council.[11] In 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory opinion concluding that Israel had violated international law by building settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and that Israel could not depend on a right of self-defence or a state of necessity to avoid the illegality of enforcing a regime that violated international law. Article 49(6) "prohibits not only deportations or forced transfers of population," it states in paragraph 120 of its 2004 advisory opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.[12]The Israeli Apartheid System is illegal and has violated the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1976). The State of Israel has a formal system of legalized discrimination against Palestinian Arabs which technically fits the official UN definition of Apartheid. (ILRC article) Israel’s society-wide system of discrimination and isolation of the Palestinian people within Israel, and its system of exploitation, oppression and isolation in the occupied territories, fits exactly the official, legal UN definition of apartheid, which is considered to be a crime against humanity. The practice of passing laws that give special favour throughout Israeli society to the Jewish people over all other people, and especially the native Palestinian Arab people, embodies the UN definition of apartheid, which is giving special favour to one group of people above all other groups based on criteria like what religion they are.[13]


They have knowingly also violated Article 1 of the United Nations Charter (1945); Principle 5 of the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations (1970). Studies by the United Nations, the International Court of Justice, and international human rights organizations have found that Israel violates Palestinian human rights on a massive scale, including torture, arbitrary detention without charge or trial, land confiscation, checkpoint harassment, unjustified civilian shootings, failure to punish Israeli settlers for crimes against Palestinians, and unjustified disruption of medical care. Israel has violated 28 resolutions of the United Nations Security Council (which are legally binding on member-nations U.N. Charter, Article 25 (1945); a few sample resolutions - 54, 111, 233, 234, 236, 248, 250, 252, 256, 262, 267, 270, 280, 285, 298, 313, 316, 468, 476, etc.


According to a UN article, a Un chief said that the key to sustainable peace in the Middle East is resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. António Guterres told the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People in New York that the Organization supports an end to the decades-long dispute based on various "resolutions, international law, and bilateral agreements," with "recognized boundaries based on the pre-1967 lines." He expressed concern about the expansion and escalation of illegal settlement operations in the occupied West Bank, as well as ongoing demolitions, seizures of Palestinian-owned land, and evictions. According to the UN official, holding "long-overdue general elections" in Palestine, including East Jerusalem, would be "a critical step" toward restoring national legitimacy and "reuniting the Palestinian people under a single, legitimate, and democratic Palestinian national government." Breaking free from the faulty equation that more power over Palestinians means more protection for Israel is the first step toward significantly shrinking the conflict. The Palestinian occupation can be reduced without jeopardizing Israeli stability.


[1] https://www.ukessays.com/essays/politics/the-israeli-palestinian-conflict-politics-essay.php

[2]Rabinovich, Abraham (2004). The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. Schocken Books. p. 260. ISBN 0-8052-1124-1

[3]Lisa Hajjar, Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza, University of California Press, 2005 p.191

[4]Julie M. Norman, The Activist and the Olive Tree: Nonviolent Resistance in the Second Intifada, The American University, ProQuest, 2009, p. 69–70, ISBN 978-1-109-16669-9

[5] https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/ngos-call-for-public-support-in-ending-use-of-palestinian-child-soldiers-617332

[6] https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/06/04/un-ensure-integrity-childrens-list-shame

[7]Hanieh, Adam (2004). Stolen Youth: The Politics of Israel's Detention of Palestinian Children. Pluto Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-7453-2162-3.

[8] Mueller, Karl (2006). "Appendix B". Striking First: Preemptive and Preventive Attack in U.S. National Security Policy. RAND Corporation. p. 190. ISBN 9780833038814. JSTOR 10.7249/mg403af.13.

[9] http://itisapartheid.org/Documents_pdf_etc/IsraelViolationsInternationalLaw.pdf

[10]Jewish settlements no longer illegal - US". 18 November 2019.

[11]UNHRC 2007, p. 7.

[12]ICJ 2004, pp. 174–177/42–45, 183–184/51–52

[13]http://www.israellawresourcecenter.org/websitematerials/pdf/flyerinternationallaw1.pdf