The treacheries of war are undoubtedly painful to all who experience them. In particular are the unacceptable pains that afflict the mothers and sisters of all warring parties, regardless of who they are. The grief of a Jewish mother is no greater than that of a Palestinian mother, both are offensive and intolerable. With the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the commanding Soviet Union officer uttered ďNever Again.Ē Since the condemnation of the horrors of the Holocaust, the phrase has been employed by politicians, theologians, and human rights activists alike as a stern cry to the moral abominations that have been exacted against the human race in the contemporary ďmodernĒ age following World War II. While the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be incomparable to the Holocaust in magnitude and scope, Israelís treatment of Palestinians is driven by the same overarching themes of oppression and dehumanization underpinning the Nazi philosophy. Regardless of the wanton killings of civilians during the Gaza War or the death of a single mother unable to reach a healthcare facility due to the mobility restrictions imposed on her under occupation, neither human suffering nor a single death can be quantified. And hence, there exists grave tension between Israeli policy governing the occupied Palestinian territories and its pride as a Jewish democracy ingraining the values of Judaism. The thread of common humanity imbedded within Judaism is of no consequence to Israelís execution of law over the territories, effectively demonstrating Israelís defection from Judaism. Israelís treatment of civiliansónot suspected terroristsóis irreconcilable with the tenets of equality and common humanity which Israel, as a Jewish State, purports to uphold. Women and children unjustly, and in breach of Judaism, share the brunt of the burdenóa burden that subjects them to health and life insecurity, leaving their livelihood not at the mercy of God, but Israeli lawmakers.
The plight of Palestinian women is unique to that of other political calamities attributing impoverishment a gendered face in that the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, ďFourth Geneva Convention,Ē binds Israel, the occupying power, under international law to provide unprejudiced health services to the occupied, un-naturalized Palestinians of the occupied Palestinian territories, including Palestinians holding Israeli residency in east Jerusalem. Furthermore, Article 38 of the convention even goes as far as to legally compel Israel to afford Palestinians ďif their state of health so requiresÖmedical attention and hospital treatment to the same extent as the nationals of the State concerned,Ē in this context, Israel. Consequently, the convention affords Palestinians health security irrespective of the occupation. William Shakespeare too offers a logical and applicable equivalence among individuals founded on the mere grounds of being human in his play the Merchant of Venice, in which Shylock, a Jewish merchant, pleas for recognition to his Christian rival, Antonio:
Jennifer Urgilez is a Writer for the Media and Information Program at the Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy (MIFTAH). She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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