Occupation of Palestine and the Law

The 360 square kms of the 'Strip' represent 1.5% of 'mandate' Palestine. Another 3 million Palestinians live in the ineptly named 'West Bank', and in East Jerusalem. This represents about 11% of mandate Palestine.

Two thirds of the 1.4 million population in the Gaza Strip are refugees and their offspring. The former had fled southwards from their homes and land in 1948 before and during the Arab-Israeli war. The massacre of Deir Yassin on April 4th was a central cause of the panic that drove that mass migration, as well as overwhelming force of arms. The refugees were given materials for building concrete shelters in 'camps' throughout the Strip. They were cheek by jowl, and cold in winter. In spite of UN resolution 242 and others, they have remained trapped in an utterly oppressive environment. Since the start of the second intifada – 'shaking loose', in September 2000, the standard of living has dropped steadily. Unemployment has been over 50% and is rising quickly now. 78% of the population are living under the poverty line of less than US $ 2.1 per person per day, and 10% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. (1) A study in late 2002 found that 17.5% of children aged 6–59 months suffered from chronic malnutrition 53% of women of reproductive age and 44% of children were found to be anaemic (2 )

The following Public Statement was issued by Amnesty International on 23rd March 2005.

I like its lack of equivocation and its emphasis on law. I recall with anger that I wrote to my MP when we started bombing the poorest in Aghanistan. I said that the world's priority should be to insert a peace keeping force in Palestine composed of Scandinavian, South African troops etc given that UK troops were then compromised. A judicial response to 9/11 was the only lawful one. The support of the Security Council was neither here nor there. Instead, we have rained terror on the heads of countless innocent heads. All this has been done with the overwhelming support of MPs of the three main parties. They are complicit in these crimes against humanity and the peace (as per the Nuremberg rules).

The only bit which always makes me wince is "Occupation for 38 yrs". Many Palestinians and others do not see it like that of course.