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The Era of Violence: Israeli-palestinian Conflict

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The political aspect and amount of acknowledgment of human rights of any country or part of the world is a crucial facet when considering violence, environmental issues, economic issues, education, and much more. The middle east is a very war-torn area which is very dangerous to live in which is demonstrated in the story Balcony on the Moon by Ibtisam Barakat. This book is a story told about her very own childhood and living in the middle east and the many issues that may lead to war or just issues in themselves. An era of violence began in 1967 during the Six-Day War when Israel occupied the Holy Land and Westbank, Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip. As Israeli settlements start on the Westbank, derogating the Palestinians from their home, the conflict continued and would not stop for decades. The conflict between Israel and Palestine has caused unnecessary violence and confusion not only in this area but also globally. The multiple intifadas has caused many issues and disagreements for not only the countries directly involved but also for spectators, trying to help with a solution. The loss of and oppression of human rights in this area is an extreme obstacle with many side effects.

An intifada is a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip. This first intifada occurred in the end of 1987 and with trial and error led to the Oslo agreement in which the White House set up a phased peace progress, progressively offering Palestinians more autonomy, ending the first intifada in 1991. This allowed the PLO to return to their homes but peace did not last for long. Due to self-doubt and uncertainty, more deaths became. For Israelis, this meant more deaths than before the Oslo agreement. The amount of violence abated in 1998-1999 for one year until the second intifada was generated by a visit from Ariel Sharon, a Likud party leader, to the Temple Mount as known by the Israelis, which in addition is also known to the Palestineans as Haram al-Sharif. In the old city of Jerusalem, this hill still stands after thousands of years as a known holy site that united Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in that this is a place for each religion and each difference one may have with another. The issue with the second intifada that made this one so much worse is that this time, they had suicide bombers. As shown through the image on the left, the suicide bombers created ample damage and death. Each side took the war on the civilians of the other side with justification from the opponent’s previous acts. This augmented the amount of disagreement from the observing countries about which country was in the wrong. The entirety of Balcony on the Moon is focused on raising awareness for the danger in this area. Ibtisam is forced to leave her home country and possibly never come back by her very own ambitions of one day having a life and being more than this war is suppressing her to be. Both countries have done harmful acts on the other that violate the idea of being good and the people of each side, or in the right. The question elevated by the unfortunate situation at hand is Israel or Palestine more in the wrong than the other.

The definition of human rights according to the United Nations is “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” The lack of human rights is chaos and inequality. The Israelis took away many things from the Palestineans including their home, family, and culture was also lost due to the separation of their population along with a restriction on their very own human rights. Gaza is much more Liberal in their ways as opposed to the West Bank. Although both countries do not have perfectly obliged to human rights, the West Bank does have a major lack of human rights. With the West Bank being Ibtisams home, the story Balcony on the Moon proves the absence of human rights in this area. Along with human rights are women’s rights and in the West Bank, their rights are exceptionally oppressed in their ability to have equal rights as men. Ibtisam leaves her home with the possibility of never being allowed to return. She wants to be better, do better. Education is deprived from women in this country and Ibtisam is not okay with the idea of being like her mother and any other female figure she has in life by becoming another housewife so instead, she decides to fight for what is rightfully hers and not allow the Israel and Palestine conflict affect her future endeavors.  

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