For English, please see below.

Der er flere måder, hvorpå Israel har gjort det besværligt eller direkte umuligt for palæstinenserne at bevæge sig frit rundt – i strid med artikel 13. af FN’s verdenserklæring om menneskerettighederne, hvori det stadfæstes, at enhver har ret til at bevæge sig frit og til frit at vælge opholdssted inden for hver stats grænser, samt at enhver har ret til at forlade et hvilket som helst land, herunder sit eget, og til at vende tilbage til sit eget land.

Vi sætter her fokus på de fysiske barrierer, som er synlige for det blotte øje.  Palæstinensernes bevægelsesfrihed på den besatte Vestbred er nemlig betydeligt indskrænket af flere hundrede permanente og såkaldte “flyvende” militære checkpoints, vejblokader, militærzoner og sidst men ikke mindst af separationsmuren, der har delt familier, byer og landmænd fra deres landarealer.

Den såkaldte separationsmur blev opført tilbage i 2002 og blev allerede to år efter dømt ulovlig af den internationale domstol i Haag, fordi 80-85 % af muren ikke ligger på 1967-grænsedragningen, men på hvad der af det internationale samfund betragtes som palæstinensisk land. Muren er ca. 5 gange så lang som Berlinmuren (over 700 km) og dobbelt så høj. Den officielle forklaring på muren fra Israel er, at den skulle sikre israelske byer mod selvmordsbombere fra Vestbredden. Mange af de permanente checkpoints er en integreret del af muren og er dermed også dækket af domstolens afgørelse – som dog er blevet ignoreret af Israel, som I 2018 ufortrødent fortsætter byggeriet af muren. Sikkerhedshegn eller apartheidmur – kært barn har mange navne, men én ting er sikkert – den over 700 km lange mur har haft og har fortsat stor indvirkning på palæstinensernes dagligdag.

Foruden muren har tilstedeværelsen og ekspansionen af ulovlige bosættelser på Vestbredden resulteret i, at Israel har valgt at opbygge et system, der sikrer, at bosættelserne både fysisk og administrativt er fuldt integreret i Israel gennem ét fælles vej-, elektricitets-, vand- og telefonnet. På Vestbredden er det således farven på din nummerplade, der dikterer, hvilke veje du må benytte. Der findes tre forskellige slags veje – den første er udelukkende for israelere, den anden benyttes både af israelere og palæstinensere, som dog har begrænset adgang, og den den sidste type kan benyttes af begge uden restriktioner. Hvad angår offentlig transport, er der ligeledes busser, der kun accepterer bosættere som passagerer.

I de senere år har flere og flere landmænd oplevet, at deres olivenlunde enten er blevet opslugt af bosættelser eller blevet omdannet til sikkerhedsbufferzoner – hvormed de er blevet konfiskeret. Dertil kommer, at det for mange er umuligt at tilgå deres landarealer med mindre de får tilladelse hertil fra de israelske myndigheder. Tag Bethlehem-distriktet som eksempel – efter forudgående koordinering fik landmændene i 2017 adgang til deres olivenlunde bestemte steder i begrænsede perioder – i gennemsnit fik de 5 dage til at høste deres oliven. Landmændene plejer som regel at arbejde på deres afgrøder dagligt, men med de mange restriktioner, bliver mange tvunget til at opgive deres land.

Situationen i Gaza er et kapitel for sig. Siden 2007 har Gazastriben via land, vand og luften været under blokade, hvilket helt konkret betyder, at Gaza mere eller mindre har været forseglet fra resten af verden. Med godt 2 millioner indbyggere på 360 km2 er det en af klodens tættest befolkede områder og omtales desuden som det største udendørs fængsel på jord.

Gazas indbyggere er nødsaget til at søge om tilladelse fra Israel til at forlade området – uanset hvad, deres udrejse drejer sig om. Ifølge flere rettighedsgrupper var Israel ansvarlig for mindst 54 palæstinensiske dødsfald alene i 2017, “efter at have afvist hundredvis af ansøgninger om medicinske tilladelser fra personer, der behøvede behandling på den israelske besatte Vestbred, i Israel eller i udlandet.”

Foruden at have begrænset territoriet for fiskere betydeligt siden 2009, kunne Oxfam i første halvdel af 2014 desuden rapportere mindst 177 tilfælde af deciderede beskydninger mod fiskere af Israelske soldater. Gaza’s engang blomstrende fiskeindustri har således lidt et alvorligt knæk.

Blokaden indebærer ydermere, at fartøjer, der ønsker at komme ind eller forlade Gaza standses. Tilbage i 2010 gik israelske myndigheder ombord på Mavi Marmara, der fragtede humanitær nødhjælp til Gaza. Ni tyrkiske borgere blev dræbt og en tiende døde senere af hans sår. I år blev yderligere to skibe med humanitær nødhjælp opsnappet og standset af israelske flådestyrker.

Ifølge den humanitære folkeret er en besættelsesmagt imidlertid forpligtet til at sikre mad og medicinske forsyninger til den besatte civilbefolkning, især hvis ressourcerne i det besatte område er utilstrækkelige.

I marts lancerede FN og Den Palæstinensiske Myndighed en humanitær appel til det internationale samfund på i alt $539 millioner. FN’s humanitære koordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, advarede, at “uden donor-finansieret nødhjælp fordelt på kritiske vand-, sanitets- og sundhedsfaciliteter, vil vi stå over for et samlet systemsammenbrud, hvor resultatet vil være en humanitær katastrofe”

Shir Hever, en økonomisk forsker og journalist, har kunnet dokumenteret, at Israel direkte profiterer økonomisk på at holde Gaza på randen af en humanitær krise. Eftersom internationale bistandsorganisationer er forpligtet til at levere humanitær bistand på den mest effektive måde, så flest muligt får gavn af den, bliver langt de fleste varer købt og fragtet af israelske virksomheder. Årsagen til dette er, at fødevareimporten fra henholdsvis Jordan og Egypten, som ellers producerer billigere varer, er beskattet.

Efter USA’s halvering af støtten til UNRWA, FN’s hjælpeorganisation for palæstinensiske flygtninge, advarede FN og andre organisationer allerede i begyndelsen af 2018 om et totalt sammenbrud i Gaza, som grundet blokaden vurderes til at være decideret ubeboelig i 2020.

Kilder:

  1. “Law on the separation wall”, Visualizing Palestine, tilgængelig her.
  2. “De israelske bosættelser og international ret”, Danwatch, tilgængelig her.
  3. “Trees uprooted: In the West Bank, a struggle to harvest”, International Committee of the Red Cross, 7 December 2017, tilgængelig her.
  4. “Det handler om jord”, Palæstina Initiativet, tilgængelig her.
  5. “Typologies of segregation”, Visualizing Palestine, tilgængelig her.
  6. “No ticket to ride”, Visualizing Palestine, tilgængelig her.
  7. “What everyone should know about Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip”, Middle East Monitor, 10 August 2018, tilgængelig her.
  8. “’54 Palestinians die’ as Israel refuses medical permits”, Al Jazeera, 3 February 2018, tilgængelig her.
  9. Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, tilgængelig her.
  10. “U.N. Opens $539M. Humanitarian Appeal To Help Prevent Gaza Catastrophe”, The Jerusalem Post, 15 March 2018, tilgængelig her.
  11. “Who profits from keeping Gaza on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe?“, +972 Magazine, 2 March 2018, tilgængelig her.
  12. “Gaza er i risiko for at nedsmelte”, Politiken, 23. januar 2018, tilgængelig her.

 

  

 

Even as they make it impossible to move around freely in my own country

 

There are several ways in which Israel has made it difficult if not impossible for Palestinians to move around freely – in contravention with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ Art. 13., which declares that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state and everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

For now, we focus first on the physical limitations, which are all visible to the eye. On the occupied West Bank, the freedom of movement is considerably limited by hundreds of permanent as well as “flying” checkpoints, by road blocks, military zones and last but not least by the so-called “separation wall” that has separated families, cities and farmers from their agricultural lands and hence their livelihoods.

Israel began the construction of the wall in 2002. Only two years later, it was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice, seeing that the 80-85% of the wall has been build not on the 1967 borderline but on Palestinian territory. The wall is approximately 5 times as long as the Berlin Wall (over 700 km) and twice as high. Many checkpoints are an integral part of the wall and are thus also covered by the decision of the court. Israel’s official explanation of the wall is that it should secure Israeli cities against suicide bombers from the West Bank. Security fence or apartheid wall – whatever one sees most fitting, one thing is certain – the 700 km long wall, which is still under construction, has had a tremendous impact on Palestinians’ daily lives.

In recent years, more and more farmers have witnessed their olive groves swallowed either by settlements or by security buffer zones surrounding them. This effectively means that farmers can only access their fields with permission from the Israeli authorities. Take Bethlehem district as an example – the farmers were in 2017 allowed to access their olive groves according to prior coordination to reach specified places during limited periods of time. On average, the farmers were given a total of five days to conduct the olive harvest. Usually, agricultural workers tend their lands daily, but with the many restrictions in place, many are forced to abandon their land.

The presence and expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank has also resulted in a system in which Israel has ensured that the settlements are both physically and administratively fully integrated with Israel through one common road, electricity, water and telephone network. On the West Bank, it is thus the color of your license plate that dictates which roads you may use. There are three different types of roads – the first is for Israelis only, the second is used by both Israelis and Palestinians, albeit the Palestinians have limited access to these, and the last type of road can be used by both Israelis and Palestinians without restrictions. As for public transportation, there are likewise busses, which may only be used by settlers.

The conditions on the Gaza strip is a chapter on its own. With severely restricted access in and out of the enclave — via land, air and sea — Gaza has effectively been sealed off from the rest of the world since 2007. With its 2 million people on 360 square kilometres, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world – leading some to dub Gaza “the world’s largest open-air prison.”

Under the siege, the Palestinian residents of Gaza are required to obtain a permit from the Israeli authorities if they wish to leave – for whichever reason. According to several rights groups, Israel was responsible for at least 54 Palestinian deaths in 2017, ”having rejected hundreds of medical permit applications by people needing treatment in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Israel itself or abroad.”

Since 2009, Israel has not only restricted fishermen’s territory significantly but according to Oxfam even targeted fishermen at sea – in the first half of 2014, at least 177 incidents of naval fire against fishermen were reported. This has all but destroyed Gaza’s once thriving fishing industry.

The naval siege also includes blockading vessels seeking to enter or leave Gaza  – back in 2010 Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara taking humanitarian aid to Gaza and killed nine Turkish citizens; a tenth died later of his wounds. This year, another two ships with humanitarian aid was intercepted by Israeli naval forces.

According to Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention however, “[t]o the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.”

In March this year, the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority launched a $539 million humanitarian appeal to the international community. UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, warned that “[w]ithout donor-funded emergency fuel distributed to critical water, sanitation and health facilities, we would face a total systems collapse, with the result, a humanitarian disaster.”

Shir Hever, an economic researcher and journalist, has documented that Israel actually benefits financially by keeping Gaza on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Seeing that international aid organizations are required to provide humanitarian aid in the most efficient way possible, they purchase most of the goods they distribute from Israeli companies. Though food is cheaper in Jordan and Egypt, food imports from these countries are taxed.

Following the US’ major cuts in support for UNRWA, the Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, the UN and other organizations warned already in the beginning of 2018 about a total breakdown in Gaza, which, due to the blockade, is estimated to be completely uninhabitable by 2020.

Sources:

  1. “Law on the separation wall”, Visualizing Palestine, available here.
  2. “De israelske bosættelser og international ret”, Danwatch, available only in Danish here.
  3. “Trees uprooted: In the West Bank, a struggle to harvest”, International Committee of the Red Cross, 7 December 2017, available here.
  4. “Det handler om jord”, Palæstina Initiativet, available only in Danish here.
  5. “Typologies of segregation”, Visualizing Palestine, available here.
  6. “No ticket to ride”, Visualizing Palestine, available here.
  7. “What everyone should know about Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip”, Middle East Monitor, 10 August 2018, available here.
  8. “’54 Palestinians die’ as Israel refuses medical permits”, Al Jazeera, 3 February 2018, available here.
  9. Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. Geneva, 12 August 1949, available here.
  10. “U.N. Opens $539M. Humanitarian Appeal To Help Prevent Gaza Catastrophe”, The Jerusalem Post, 15 March 2018, see here.
  11. “Who profits from keeping Gaza on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe?“, +972 Magazine, 2 March 2018, available here.
  12. “Gaza er i risiko for at nedsmelte”, Politiken, 23. januar 2018, available only in Danish here.