Palestine Between the Nakba and the Current Israeli Aggressions in the Eye of International Law

Palestinians refer to it as “Al Nakba”, which literally translates as “The Catastrophe”. It refers to the mass exodus of at least 750,000 Arabs from Palestine.

The current Palestinian-Israeli conflict is an ongoing continuation of Nakba, 73 years ago, meaning “catastrophe” in Arabic. On 15 May 1948 Israel declared itself a state in Palestine. Israel started to practice ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, forcing expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, and confiscating their lands for Zionist settlers. Around 750,000 of two million Palestinians were forcibly expelled from their homes and made refugees, and forbidden to return to their homeland. These crimes were revived again by storming Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem last April 2021, by forcibly evicting Palestinian families from their own homes during the holy month of Ramadan. It targeted civilians, women, children, and residential sites in Gaza.

Israel continues to commit war crimes, genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity, against Palestinians, according to International Law and The Rome Statute.

UN Resolution 242 which demands the end of the Israeli occupation, states the following:

  • Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from the territories occupied in the recent conflict;
  • Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.

Israel does not respect this resolution and violates the  Palestinians’ right to self-determination, sovereignty and territorial integrity under Human Rights Council 7/17. It “Reaffirms the inalienable, permanent and unqualified right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including their right to live in freedom, justice and dignity and to establish their sovereign, independent, democratic and viable contiguous State.”

Israel, until this moment, refuses to solve the refugee problem and refuses to the right to return for Palestinians, violating the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 that “Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

The same resolution also calls for the protection of Jerusalem and its control under the UN, stating that “the Commission should call upon the political authorities of the areas concerned to give appropriate formal guarantees as to the protection of the Holy Places and access to them,”

It also added that Jerusalem “should be accorded special and separate treatment from the rest of Palestine and should be placed under effective United Nations control.”

Since the Nakba, Israel practices war crimes, ethnic cleansing against civilians, women and children which violates international law and the Rome Statute. The Fourth Geneva Convention article (15) called for “Any Party to the conflict may … propose to the adverse Party to establish, in the regions where fighting is taking place, neutralized zones intended to shelter from the effects of war the following persons, without distinction:

  1. wounded and sick combatants or non-combatants; and
  2. civilian persons who take no part in hostilities, and who, while they reside in the zones, perform no work of a military character.”

Last but not least, Israel practices discrimination and racism against Palestinians. It issued the Adalah’s Discriminatory Laws Database that includes over 65 Israeli laws that discriminate against the Palestinians because of their national belonging.

These laws deprive Palestinians of their rights as citizens, such as their right to housing, education, health care, political participation, religious rights, culture and language rights and others. This is a direct violation of The Rome Statute, being regarded as a ‘crime of Apartheid.’

In commemorating the Nakba, many rallies in different countries around the world were launched in solidarity with Palestine and condemning the Israeli aggression. Such events were in New Zealand, Brighton in the UKWaterloo Region in Canada, Berlin, Sydney, and others.

Action is needed to be taken by the international community and international organizations in order to protect helpless civilians, including women and children. Israel must be held accountable for breaching international obligations, not respecting world order and threatening regional peace and stability.

1 Comment
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