Human Rights Violations in Palestine

Independent Palestinian state is the only viable solution.


The occupation of the West Bank by Israeli forces has led to systematic and widespread violations of Palestinian human rights, including restrictions on movement, settlement expansion, and inequitable treatment under the law. Palestinians live in the West Bank as second-class citizens in an apartheid state.

Historical context

Palestine was Part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years. In 1917, the British defeated the Ottoman Empire and took control of Palestine. The Jews supported the British during WW1, and British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to British financial tycoon Lionel Walter Rothschild supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine in appreciation for their support.

Jews started realizing that no matter what their contribution to science (For Germany alone, Jews won 40 Nobel prizes before the war) and arts and literature, they were persecuted in Europe. When they tried to leave Germany and the other parts of Europe, no European country was willing to accept Jewish asylum seekers. It is also well known that before the Second World War, the U.S. declined the landing of a ship carrying Jews. The boat returned to Europe, where the Nazis killed most of them.

In 1897, Theodor Herzl called Jews to work towards establishing a Jewish homeland(Zionism). The U.S. and Europeans supported Jewish land in Palestine as they would not have to take any Jews as refugees.

Israel was also established in the Muslim land to work as the military outpost for the West to prevent Muslims from establishing a solid state. Jews supported the idea that friendly people like the Jews are necessary at the heart of the Middle East, Palestine, for disuniting the Muslim world. Since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948, Israel has served that purpose. U.S. and European states supported Israel with all the military needs and nuclear technology.

Israel prevents any resurgence of the Islamic civilizational state in that area. Israel destroyed the advanced atomic technology institute in Iraq and instigated the U.S. to attack Iraq for no good reason, change the regime, and control its assets. Now, Israel has similar plans to destroy Iran.

Israel had already killed several top generals of Iran in a clandestine operation.

Before the British occupation in 1917, the Jewish population in Palestine was less than 5 percent. However, their number increased significantly due to the planned migration of Jews from European countries. The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 created a significant disaster for Palestinians. Seven hundred fifty thousand people were expelled from their homeland (Nakaba), at first by Zionist paramilitaries through various violent means, and then, after the establishment of the State of Israel, by the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War led to the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Despite international calls for withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state, the occupation has continued, fueling tensions and human rights abuses. The Oslo Accords in the 1990s brought hope for peace but ultimately failed to resolve critical issues, leaving the West Bank under a contentious military occupation.

The occupation of the West Bank by Israeli forces has led to systematic and widespread violations of Palestinian human rights, including restrictions on movement, settlement expansion, and inequitable treatment under the law. This article explores these violations, their impact on the Palestinian population, and the international response to these issues.

In 1988, Yasir Arafat said that the Palestine Liberation Organization accepted the existence of 'the state of Israel'. The Palestinian leadership has been unequivocal that they recognize the right of Israel to exist and seek an equitable and fair two-state solution. Instead, in the last six decades, the illegal Israeli settlements have exploded across occupied Palestine from around 100,000 in 1988 to more than 600,000 now, and human rights violations in Palestine have reached their peak.

Palestinian's life in occupied territories

The vast majority of Palestinians are living without fundamental civil rights. Palestinians need to have a green I.D. or a blue I.D. Just like in Nazi Germany. If you have a blue I.D., you're allowed to enter Jerusalem. If you have a green I.D., Israelis restrict your entrance.

Palestinians can't drive on the same roads as the Jewish people. They have different colored license plates so Israeli police can stop them at checkpoints. A 2018 report by B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization, documented how pregnant women and critically ill patients have been delayed or denied access to hospitals, sometimes with fatal consequences.1B'Tselem. (2018). 'Restrictions on Movement'.

Most Jewish persons are armed with AK47 or AK 15 weapons and are persistently harassing the Arabs.

As of December 2023, Israel held 7,677 Palestinians(including 200 children) in the West Bank for 'security' offenses. More than 1,400 complaints of torture, including painful shackling, sleep deprivation, and exposure to extreme temperatures, committed by the Shabak (the Israel Security Agency) in Israel and the OPT have been filed with Israel's Justice Ministry, resulting in three criminal investigations and no indictments. 2

Illegal Settlements

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law, yet their expansion continues unabated. U.N. Security Council resolutions in 1979, 1980, and 2016. and prevailing international opinion holds that Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law.

These settlements encroach on Palestinian land, leading to forced evictions and the demolition of homes. The resulting displacement exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation in the region.

According to a 2020 report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 600 Palestinian dwellings were demolished, displacing nearly 1,000 people. 3Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP). (2019).
'Palestinian Children in Israeli Military Detention.'
For the construction of settlements, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention and undermines the prospects for a two-state solution. 4

Allotment of Palestinian land to settlers

The Israeli government allows settlers to exploit land and natural resources that belong to Palestinians. Israeli citizens receive entitlements, and Palestinians face restrictions on the grounds of nationality, ethnicity, and religion in contravention of international standards.

Since 1967, Israel has constructed tens of thousands of homes on Palestinian land to accommodate settlers while, at the same time, demolishing an estimated 50,000 Palestinian homes and other structures, such as farm buildings and water tanks. Israel also carries out demolitions as a form of collective punishment against the families of individuals accused of attacks on Israelis. Israel also confiscates houses inhabited by Palestinians in the city to allocate them to settlers.

High-profile incidents, such as the demolition of the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, have drawn significant international attention and condemnation. The planned demolition, which would displace over 180 residents, including children, has been criticized as a violation of international humanitarian law.5United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
(OCHA). (2020). 'West Bank Demolitions and Displacement'.
The village's case exemplifies the broader policy of home demolitions and forced displacement faced by many Palestinian communities in the West Bank. 6

Violations of water rights:

The Israeli government prevented Palestinians from connecting with water networks and from repairing or constructing wells or water cisterns that hold rainwater. The U.N. reported water consumption as 20% of the minimum recommended standard. Settlers use 80% of water in the West Bank. Israel's failure to ensure Palestinian residents have a sufficient supply of clean, safe water for drinking and other domestic uses constitutes a violation of its obligations to respect and fulfill the water rights. 7

Violence and Security Measures

The use of force by Israeli security forces in the West Bank often violates international norms. Military raids, arbitrary detentions, and excessive use of force during protests have been widely documented.

These actions not only breach human rights but also perpetuate a cycle of violence and resentment. For instance, during the 'Great March of Return' protests in 2018, Israeli forces used live ammunition against demonstrators, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries.

Israeli soldiers, police, and security guards have unlawfully killed and injured many Palestinian civilians in the OPT and confiscated their land—violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers aimed at intimidating Palestinian populations. Amnesty International has documented that the Israeli government routinely subjected Palestinians to arbitrary detention in the OPT. Invasions by the Israeli military into Palestinian homes in the West Bank are Part and parcel of the routine of occupation and the system of control over the Palestinian population.

Forced intrusion by Israeli forces into Palestinian homes is a severe violation of a person's dignity, liberty, and privacy. 8 law in the West Bank does not require a judicial warrant confirming the necessity of the intrusion to invade the private domain.9

According to U.N. figures, these invasions occur more than 200 times monthly. Beyond the harm suffered by individuals and families as a result of the intrusion into their homes, this practice effectively serves as a means to oppress and intimidate the Palestinian population and increase control over it. 10

The world's attention has been on the Israeli campaign in Gaza since Hamas reacted on October 7, 2023, to their pent-up anger at living in a prison-like situation for decades, resulting in human atrocities in Israel, killing 1200 men, women, and children and kidnapping 247 Israelis.

In retaliation, the Israeli forces attacked Gaza with an air force and army, which killed over 37,000 people, including 16,000 children, injured over 85,000, and buried alive countless people under the 220,000 collapsed buildings (dwellings, hospitals, educational institutions, and shelters), blocked supply of electricity, water, food and outside aid) in the tiny strip of land just 25 miles long and about five miles wide.

Israel regarded every Gazan as Hamas or a Hamas Sympathizer, giving them license to kill all Gazans, which ICJ views as genocide. Palestinians in Gaza have no military or air force and no help from any outside country to defend themselves.

After October 7, the pace of the airstrikes accelerated in the West Bank, hitting a peak of nearly 1,500 raids in December. Israeli airstrikes, drone strikes, and attacks by helicopter gunships have killed scores of Palestinians, including children. The Israeli military repeatedly stated on social media that the strikes were carried out to kill terrorists. Nearly half of the people killed in the strikes were children. Most attacks struck densely populated urban areas and refugee camps in Jenin, Tulkarem, and Nablus. 11

Violations of the rights of the child:

Israeli military prosecuted 500-700 Palestinian children every year in Israeli juvenile military courts from the occupied West Bank under Israeli military orders.12
They are often arrested in night raids and systematically ill-treated. The U.N. has also documented that many children have been killed or injured in settler attacks. One of Israel's most disturbing policing tactics used to control Palestinians is the targeting of children of politically active families.

Inequitable Treatment Under the Law

In the West Bank, a dual legal system prevails, with Israeli settlers subject to Israeli civil law and Palestinians governed by military law. This disparity results in discriminatory practices, such as harsher penalties for Palestinians and a lack of due process. Palestinian children can be detained and tried in military courts, often without proper legal representation, facing interrogation techniques and conditions that violate international standards for juvenile justice.

A 2019 report by Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) highlighted that many Palestinian minors are subjected to physical violence and coerced confessions during detention. Since 2000, at least 8,000 Palestinian minors have been prosecuted in Israel's military courts, according to Defense for Children International – Palestine.

The settlers are subject to Israeli civil and criminal law, and Palestinians are subject to a military court system that falls short of international standards for the fair conduct of trials and administration of justice. The Israeli High Court of Justice has failed to rule on the legality of settlements, as it considered the settlements to be a political issue that it is not competent to hear.

Under a dual legal system, Palestinians facing Israel's military courts – run by Israeli soldiers and officers – receive far harsher sentences than a settler who commits the same crime and is tried in a civil court.

The courts are set up to create the illusion that Palestinians have the right to a trial and can defend themselves. The entire proceedings are in Hebrew, a language most Palestinians in the occupied territory are not taught and do not use. Palestinians must put their complete trust in a court-appointed translator. You can never be sure that the official is translating your words accurately. 13

A Life Exposed and Breaking the Silence

Yesh Din, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) produced two reports, 'A Life Exposed' and 'Breaking the Silence', in 2018. International law defines Israel's obligations as the occupying power in the West Bank, and Israel's practice violates these legal provisions.

A sample selected from 80 interviews conducted by Breaking the Silence with Israeli soldiers and officers substantiated and supplemented knowledge of how Israeli invasions unfolded and provided insight into their goals and the outcome.

Thirty-one interviews PHRI conducted with Palestinians whose homes were invaded by soldiers helped assess the serious impact invasions have on the mental health of individuals, families, and communities. They are meant to deter entire communities from participating in political activities opposing the occupation.

The report also examines the psychological impact on Palestinians who have been subjected to IDF home raids. Adults report symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, including sleep disturbance and hyperarousal. Children and adolescents, meanwhile, report increased dependence on their parents, aggressive behavior, and high anxiety. Part of the attempt to calm things down is to create deterrence and say:

'The IDF is here. We're here, and we can come into your house at any time. This rule only exists in Israeli law. It applies in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, where a search warrant is not required'.14

The report also reveals that of all the complaints Palestinians have submitted since 2008 with Yesh Din's assistance regarding property damage, every single investigation has been closed without any indictments. 15

Individual Stories

Personal stories of Palestinians affected by these human rights violations bring a human face to the statistics and reports. For example, the story of Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager who was imprisoned for slapping an Israeli soldier, highlights the harsh realities faced by Palestinian children under military occupation.

Her detention drew international attention and condemnation, illustrating the broader issues of child detention and the suppression of peaceful protest. Tamimi's case has made headlines.

The teen was arrested in December after a video of her slapping two Israeli soldiers outside of her home went viral. Shortly before, her 15-year-old cousin was severely wounded when Israeli forces shot him point-blank in the face with a steel-coated rubber bullet.

The extremist Jewish doctrine and ideology seek to restore the biblical state of Israel to the chosen people awaiting the messenger. Christian Zionists also support and accept this doctrine.

Both groups grew out of the anti-Arab teachings of Rabbi Meir Kahane, a U.S.-born extremist who founded and led Kach. The U.S. State Department listed Kach organizations as Foreign Terrorist Organizations on October 8, 1997.

However, in 2022, due to lobbying pressure, the Biden administration announced its decision to remove this group from its foreign terror list. Kahane advocates violent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, which has received widespread support to win the Kach party, a coalition government of Israel. Since the election of Netanyahu, the Kach group has had tremendous power to the point where they now play a significant role in the Israeli government's ongoing genocide of Palestinians.

Two investigative reporters, Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, interviewed more than a hundred people, including Israeli government officials, and published a paper in the New York Times on May 16 about the conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank. The Israelis always blamed the Palestinians for terrorism. However, the biggest problem they noted was the Jewish terrorism and violence against defenseless Palestinians, and there was no enforcement of the law against them.

The Israeli government protected the settlers and sometimes encouraged their violent behaviors against Palestinians, which is a severe problem. The settlers became the lawmakers as they had no fear of consequences.1616

Israel's secret plan for annexation of the West Bank Israel's Supreme Court has ruled that Israel's rule over the territory amounts to a temporary military occupation overseen by army generals, not a permanent civilian annexation administered by Israeli civil servants.17Amnesty International. (Various Reports)

Mr. Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli defense minister, told settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that the government is engaged in a stealthy effort to irreversibly change the way Israel governed the West Bank without being accused of formally annexing it.

The goal was to prevent the West Bank from becoming part of a Palestinian state. He outlined a program to take authority over the West Bank out of the hands of the Israeli military and turn it over to civilians working for Mr. Smotrich in the defense ministry while the military is still at the heart of West Bank governance.

Mr. Netanyahu was aware of the details of the plan. Mr. Smotrich believes the West Bank — which Israelis refer to by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria — was given to Jews by God. Mr. Smotrich said, 'My goal — and I think of everyone here — is to first and foremost prevent the establishment of a terror state in the very heart of the land of Israel' 18,accused%20of%20formally%20annexing%20it


The Violent rhetoric toward Palestinians from Jewish Israelis has often been brushed aside, while Palestinian citizens of Israel who express support for Palestinians in Gaza or criticize the conduct of the war face discipline or even criminal investigation. The Columbia Law Review, one of the country's most prestigious student-edited law journals, was taken offline by its board of directors after its editors published an article arguing that Palestinians were living under a 'brutally sophisticated structure of oppression' that amounted to a crime against humanity.

The ongoing occupation of the West Bank and the resulting human rights violations demand urgent attention from the international community.

Addressing these issues is a moral imperative for achieving peace in the region. President Biden has the power to create an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. Pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC greatly influences legislators, which will be a significant obstruction and hindrance for Biden to take any action that is not supportive of Israel.

For a lasting peace, it is essential to restore the dignity and respect of the Palestinians, which they have lost under the Apartheid regime of Israel. There is a need to reverse the effects of oppression and dehumanization of the Palestinians for decades.

It is incumbent upon global leaders to take decisive action to uphold international law and support the rights of Palestinians. The international community must increase diplomatic pressure on the U.S. and Israel to comply with international legal standards and work towards a viable solution of Establishing an independent Palestinian state where Palestinians live with equal Rights and HUMAN DIGNITY.

Dr. Basheer Ahmed, born in India, completed medical school in Pakistan and trained in psychiatry at Glasgow University. In 1968, he moved to the USA, joining the faculties of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Wright State University, and Southwestern Medical School. A distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has practiced psychiatry in Fort Worth, TX, since 1985. He founded and chairs the Muslim Community Center for Human Services, and established the Institute of Medieval and Post-Medieval Studies and IQRA to promote peace and understanding. He has edited three books and authored "My Story as a Muslim Immigrant in America."


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