Since 1948, the identity of the Palestine society has been disappearing, from a multidimensional perspective. Within a short period of time, the Palestine nation has collapsed. The usual home is no longer a place for many Palestinians because most of them find themselves in foreign lands. Even those who were lucky enough to avoid or recover from the turmoil caused by decolonization lost the privilege to continue being Palestinians as some ended up becoming minor Arabs in Israel while others became Jordanians in the Eastern part of Palestine. Through the violation of human rights, the land and the country has stopped to exist and its citizens have been deprived the right to reclaim it as their own. Based on this context, this paper explores decolonization, how the current human rights in Palestine promotes decolonization as well as explains measures that can be used to address the Human right problem in Palestine.
One way the Palestinians use to influence decolonization is through the establishment of its first human rights NGO called Al-Haq’s Faith in Evidence. The organization was formed in 1979 by Shehadeh, Shamas, and Kuttab. One of their main reason for establishing this organization was to reframe the terms of the Israeli citizens’ occupation as mutual respect for and hope in, the power of principles, logic, and rationality. The co-founders believed that law would help reveal the inconsistencies a well as disrupt the perception of Israel as a law-abiding state. They also had a strong conviction that the organization would aid in challenging the unlawful occupation of foreigners through law enforcement (Allen 35). The organization was meant to protest against the human oppressive practices performed by the foreigners such as the institution of Israel and its territorial dispossession of the Palestine land. Such a logic promoted racial discrimination and imaging of the Palestinians as a weaker race, which did not deserve freedom over human rights. The inheritance of the fore-projected Eurocentric concept of racial segregation by western scientists, educators and religious leaders in Palestine resulted in a perception that racism was a morally right practice (Hesse 21-22). The approach used by Al-Haq was organized, logical, and methodical, which the co-founders believed was the right way to put the wrong and illogical foreign occupation notion and arbitrary rule in its right place. With detailed attention to finding methodological facts and an intensive faith in the language of logic and law, Al-Haq was able to give excellent documentation of human rights violations that helped change the existing Israeli narrative that they were the kind and chosen nation. These principles continued to support the institution’s work throughout the years that followed up to date. The Al-Haq organization enabled the Palestinians to underwrite their system of colonial domination and powers of dispossession using legal systems and military structures. Their human activists supported them in this by establishing a global language that they understood would influence neutral authority that would go beyond the national and political borders. In order to generate credible information concerning the violation of the human rights of the Palestinians, the cofounders of Al-Haq collected affidavits with eyewitness reporting, produced a database with human offenses, generated unsentimental testimonials and forensic pathology evidence (Allen 35-36).
Al-Haq produced its first publication, The West Bank and the Rule of Law, on human rights in 1980. The publication reflected a detailed analysis of how Israel formulated and applied their laws in the inhabited territory of the West Bank to promote Jewish occupation there. Al-Haq questioned the legitimacy in the actions of Israel and its claim that it was bound by international law such as the Fourth Geneva Convention. Essentially, by publishing the book, Al-Haq not only exposed the oppressive actions of Israel but also helped to neutralize re-colonization. In the publication, universal standards of humanitarian law were considered (Allen 38). The local and international credibility and documentation of Al-Haq were enhanced by Israel’s idolization of law, the organization’s unique political ideology and the urgent demand for the first intifada. The credible documentations enhanced the reduction in the Palestine occupation, which had already heightened to more than one hundred and fifty Israeli settlements and at least 40.0 % Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (Allen 42). An example of Al-Haq’s accomplishment was the shift in attitudes toward a consciousness about the Palestinian condition in the world. This achievement was brought about by Al-Haq’s efforts of recording various ongoing abuses such as foreign settler attacks, torture of the Palestinian political convicts, Palestine people’s limited access to water resources as a result of the foreign inhabitation, and the displaced persons’ unfulfilled right of return. Another achievement was the rise in the number of human right organizations to protect the Palestinians. In the entire sections of the first intifada, the newly established humanitarian organizations published several reports on Israel oppressive acts during the uprising, carried out studies on Israeli home demolitions, as well as documented legal analyses of Israeli destruction techniques. The firms also improved the contents of their websites, which are today broadly used as sources of information for research, where post select affidavits and reports are documented (Allen 62-63).
Other than through strengthening human right organizations, the Palestinians are neutralizing the impacts of colonization by constructing locales and places to accommodate refugees, migrants and other displaced people within the country. These locales act as refugee camps (although with more access to human services and resources) or as separated communities in many societies and nation states. The Palestinians in Al-ghurba, for instance, have established a society that resembles a virtual space and, which corresponds to the recognizable locales obtained from a collectively valued element of time-space distanciation. It would be right to assume that the current locales seek to reconstruct the previous refugee experience in camps where people were congested in limited spaces with minimal resources to areas with more social space and locales to enable people to enjoy cultural and political reproductions. For the Palestinians in the diaspora, the significance of distanciation is to enhance the experience of home memory and identity. Even though the locales represent the refugee camps, they act as communities of memory, where one is given birth to, connected to the present and to the past as well as also convert people within them towards the future of a community of hope. In a bid to help the communities in the locales forget about their painful pasts, a culture of storytelling is encouraged. The stories told entail narratives, which help in commemorating the men and women who played significant roles in the development of tradition and the fight for freedom for a particular community. The locales also promote reconstitution of identities of communities involved. The Palestinians refute any discourse that depicts refugees as helpless and dependent people by encouraging a discourse of rebellion where refugeehood is substituted with refugees’ call for their human rights and return to their motherlands. Based on the fact that Palestinian refugees are not identical with regard to generation, sex, social class affiliation or place of origin, various types of identity construction usually arise (Zureik 155-156).
Nationalization of human rights has greatly helped in the decolonization of Palestine. Since human rights are universal, the interaction of Hamas (Palestinian human rights organization) with the human rights systems converts them into political movements with religious intentions that are spread all over the world. Nationalization of human rights in Palestine occurs in various precincts such as between scholars, politicians, self-proclaimed professionals, and policy advisors. The Hamas is clear in its claim that human rights must be practiced within a vast combination of culture and political aspects that prioritizes on transparency, honesty and against the show. The Hamas has succeeded in putting laws of sincerity and honesty into action by serving the Palestinians and through the identification of their hopes, ambitions, and pains. Unlike before (the colonial era) where there was no freedom to public expression, the Hamas has helped convert Palestine into a public place where people lively share criticisms, where every development plan promised and services provided or neglected are noted and discussed with an appraisal. The Hamas has transformed from giving key considerations to religious observance and social welfare programs to advocating for militant rebellion to illegal occupation of the foreigners, especially the Israelis, during the first intifada. The Hamas movement responded to its 1993 defeat by the Israelis by moving away from political violence to social sector charity and educative interventions during the Oslo era. The Hamas operates on civism, which is a devotion to strengthening the community via enhancing societal life, order, and stability of people and their rights for the benefit of the public a whole. This indicates Hama’s self-identification as a reformist movement that confides in operating from the inside part of the society to convince its representatives of the justness of the organization. An example of the approach Hamas uses to boost nationalization of human rights in Palestine is by educating and activating women frameworks, who are given the mandate of attracting many female voters that support the principles of Hamas. Many women activists from Hamas organization have been elected to represent the public IN THE Palestinian Legislative Council. A good example was Mona Mansour. Mona revealed to the world the achievements and intentions of Hamas by reading a text (from Hamas) about human rights during her husband’s funeral. Lastly, the critiques of Hamas on human rights system with regard to the injustices that Palestine’s face showcases a vivid picture of Palestinian nationalism, as a key moral discourse of openness and sincerity (Allen 160-161).
Gender has also been a crucial element in the Palestinian struggle towards sovereign liberation. Ever since the 20th century began, the Palestinian women have been on the forefront in initiating feminist movements to help correct past injustices that women faced during colonization. Their movements challenge man-based imaginaries of national liberation and resistance, which mainly discriminate women’s role in the Palestinian liberation. An example of an action initiated by Palestinian women in a bid to challenge male chauvinism is the extension of the notion of decolonization to the private sector through problematization, unsettlement, and theorization of numerous ways in which sex and race were used by the colonial powers to forcefully execute intimate private lives. Their movement has shifted past their own national liberation through the connection it creates with other praxis across different geographies and by constructing feminist solidarities within a wider anti-imperialist and anti-racialist feminist framework. The popular first intifada rebellion and the Palestinian women’s activist movements were destroyed by the Oslo Accords. However, the Palestinian government has shifted from this liberatory approach to neoliberal capitalist governance. The popular resistance of the first intifada, including women’s activism, were dismantled by the Oslo Accords. Despite the hindrances from Oslo Accord and Palestinian Authority, the revolutionary movement of liberation has been promoted in various ways by the Palestinians through destroying the colonial racist structures, the Palestinian Authority and its neoliberal way of ruling such as forceful eviction from land (Tabar & Desai 11-12)
Human rights of the Palestinians have been ignored by the foreign bodies at the expense of land. As much as certain organizations like the Zion movement claim to focus on solving past injustices in Palestine, the organizations have led to the emergence of a trademark of the Israeli imagination of Palestine. What was once a Christian perspective in nature has soon been replaced by Zionism and presented a Jewish twist. The Zionist institution has of late become a fully-implemented movement in Palestine through conferences, representatives, and delegations. The organization presently has settlements in Palestine and its members are more mobilized and organized than the local Palestinians themselves. This has led to the adoption of the slogan “A land without a people for a people without a land” (Nassar 149). While the Palestinians have become exposed to more deplorable human living conditions, the foreign sets of images have been forcefully introduced into Palestine with the pretext of the Zionist imagining Palestine. In most occasions, the Palestinians have become part of the landscape yet they are the rightful owners of those pieces of land. Based on this, the Palestinians are seen mostly as the shepherds of animals may be as a prototype of the ancient fathers of the Israeli nation. However, on other occasions, the Palestinians are not seen in the landscape but instead represented as primitive people who do not deserve to be recognized or should be represented by other more modern people. As the religious conflicts between the Arabs and the Jews worsen over time, the essentialization aspect of the Palestinians has begun to take new dimensions, which are associated with lack of civilization or backwardness. These new dimensions are mostly images that are similar to the occupation of the white settlers in North America to represent the native Indians. These transformations have led to the representation of the images of the Palestinians as senseless and voiceless people (Nassar 150).
With regard to the Zionist movement, it is crucial to consider the settler colonialist nature of the project, because it affects the Palestinians’ human rights. Jewish migration to Palestine is not like any other migration witnessed in the world because it is intended to help in establishing a new Jewish society in areas where it is not found, hence infringes the Palestinians’ right to a religion of their choice. The Palestinians do not expect the foreigners to live within them in their communities as well as to freely mingle with them. Instead of living as immigrants, the foreigners become part of the already existing Jewish colonies, where in most cases the Palestinians are not seen or if seen, it is in form of shepherds. This implies that the Jewish migrants who go to Palestine as part of the Zionist movement are not likely to see the Palestinians and their suffering communities because they live in excluded and restricted Jewish communities in areas that are not in close proximity to the Palestinian presence. This explains why the Yeshuv immigrants carried on to nurture Palestinian ideas and images that dominated the western culture from which they (immigrants) came from. Additionally, when the Palestinians began to disappear from the Palestine landscape after the 1948 war, the representatives of the Jewish Yeshuv rarely discovered what was happening to their Palestinian neighbors. In a nutshell, forceful inhabitance of the members of the Zionist project in Palestine deprive the natives the right to own land (Nassar 149-150).
As a result of the extensive violation of the Palestine people’s human rights, it will take decades, or even centuries to put themselves on the map. Even though the path to Palestinian independence seems far away, a few things can be done to reconstruct this past. For example, the introduction of new national Palestinian human rights or its revision appears to be inevitable. A re-emergence in the Palestinian identity will help gain legitimacy internationally and will be treated as a certain degree of recognition by the foreigner propelling decolonization. Peace treaties should also be signed to help rectify the faults and deficiencies that have been witnessed in the Palestinian history. These moves will help in legitimizing the Palestinian national and political symbols that help a great deal in restoring and safeguarding human rights. These legitimations will be crucial in legalizing human rights as well as enhance the establishment of political and governmental organizations to help in enforcing and protecting those rights (Nassar 151).
The principles of human rights can also be implemented by incorporating the national government. This implies that the human right systems should be part of the central government, through which a country like Palestine can formulate and impose legal laws on human rights. The laws should be revised from time to time to allow the Palestinians to freely speak, report or discuss the violation of their rights (Allen 188). Another way of remapping the problem of human rights in Palestine is by introducing assertive access to basic services for citizens who are discriminately prevented from assessing those services. Furthermore, civil and political rights should be advanced, especially in closed or almost closing spaces, through DRG sector programming (Smith 85). To further promote human rights in Palestine, the Israel government should transfer authority to the Palestinian people as soon as possible. Also, the Palestine government must take all necessary measures to do all that is possible within its powers to ensure that there is a realization of self-administration by the citizens of Palestine, inclusive of an end to the occupation and the establishment of efficient organizations of self-governance where applicable. These adjustments require capacities that influence various impacts based on what has to be, in subsistence, done and not done, for a given situation. Human rights can only be safeguarded when there is self-determination for self-administration (Silingardi 14-15).
Withdrawing the use of firearms, penalizing countries that sell firearms and placing sanctions on countries found guilty of violating human rights is another way of solving the human rights problem in Palestine and its neighboring states. Most violations of human rights in the Middle East, especially in the countries that border Palestine are committed using military weapons. Some of these violations include torture, terrorism, illegal arrests, and land disputes. Withdrawing the use of these weapons can go a long way in protecting human rights.
The rights of the indigenous people in Palestine can also be enhanced by formulating and applying international indigenous laws in areas vulnerable to the violation of human rights. This can be essential in prohibiting foreign settlements in other countries, which ultimately lead to the erosion of indigenous people’s cultures, land injustices, and racial segregation. Nevertheless, in order to promote this mobilization, sympathetic critical scholars and civil society organizations should be given room to participate in such projects because they promote global recognition of the indigenous groups. The NGO’s, scholars and activist groups’ efforts play critical roles of protecting and preserving cultural human rights through the mobilization of the liberal multicultural notion of indigeneity (Tatour 20).
This essay has explored the current position of human rights in Palestine with regard to decolonization measures such as the construction of locales, nationalization of human rights, the roles played by the feminist movements, and the establishment of human right organizations. Measures for solving human rights problem in Palestine have also been discussed in great detail. However, to effectively minimize violation of human rights, all countries should collectively join hands to shun and act on activities that violate human rights irrespective of the victims and the geographical locations of the incidences.
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