Posted by on July 06, 2011 in Blog

For those who are busy focused on the diplomatic front of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the occupation can seem like the kind of problem that could be placed on hold indefinitely until the right actors are in place and the deadlock is eventually broken. But for those living the occupation, waiting indefinitely for Israeli intransigence to eventually break is not a reasonable thing to ask. There is an urgency to ending the occupation that can only be seen when one takes a moment to look at what life under occupation is really like.

The news service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published an article yesterday highlighting the intolerability of the occupation. It said,

Apart from the tedious and humiliating searches at checkpoints, residents never know for sure how long their journeys will take, or whether, indeed, they can be made at all. But in a medical emergency these restrictions can be a matter of life or death. 

The article quotes a study by Ann Arbor University professor Halla Shoaibi which found that, between 2000 and 2007, Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement have forced 69 babies to be born at checkpoints, of whom 35 babies and 5 mothers died due to lack of access to medical care. This is but one tiny frame of an extensive web of abuses, severe violations, and frustrations imposed on the daily lives of Palestinians, a loose sense of which could be captured by reading any of the recent annual reports of major human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch on life in occupied Palestine.

The Palestinian territories have already been under 44 years of illegal occupation, the longest foreign military occupation in modern history. Our political establishment should not waste another moment without dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the urgency it requires from us morally and strategically. We must work on this like we’re trying to end the occupation yesterday.  Nothing less than people's lives is at stake.


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