Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Right to a Nationality When a Nation Does Not Exist

Post-Holocaust era, Jews from around the world flocked to the pinpoint location provided by the Torah, which later became known as Israel. As Jews immigrated to this location, specific geographical boundaries were not established. Historically, there is avid debate over whether the land was purchased fairly, as argued by Jews, or Jews forcibly and manipulated homeowners to turnover their land, as argued by Palestinians. Without entering the debate of how the land became divided, the result is a humanitarian crisis of chronic human rights violations on behalf of both parties. In 1948, the Israeli diaspora became so great that the community mutually decided to create a declaration and declare independence for the British Mandate. In May 1949, the Security Council of the United Nations recognized Israel as a state party. In the United Nations decision to recognize Israel, there was no further discussion about the origin of the country, nor was there further debate over the specificity of the boarders. Conversely, Palestine continues to have observer status, although allowing full member has been in debate for over eight years. Palestine lacking member state status to the United Nations is in fact creating more of an issue at the local level. Israel is charged by the United Nations to provide sovereignty to the entire land of Israel which includes the Palestinian territories (CRC, 2010, ¶ 2). However, when it comes to implementing policy, Israel is mandated to allow Palestinian’s fend for themselves. Not only does this place Israel in a precarious position, but it also creates false sovereignty for Palestine.
While laws have been passed regarding nationality, Palestine is still denied recognition as a member state at the United Nations.  This lack of rights allows for violations upon children and adults in regards to their nationality, identity, and homeland. From the onset, there was angst between Palestine and Israel. The United Nations chose to group Palestinian Liberation from the British Mandate together with issue of European Jewish refugees seeking a nation state to call home. As a result, “the Palestinian leadership in the Arab Higher Committee decided not to participate” in the dialogue of a one states versus a two state solution (United Nations, 2008, p. 4). Poignant to the discussion, “Australia abstained from voting on either plan because it maintained that the recommendation exceeded the Committee’s terms of reference (United Nations, 2008, p. 5)”. Under most other circumstances, the United Nations does not acknowledge countries that are not member states. However, in this instance, the United Nations was becoming fully involved in the conflict without Palestine or Israel being a member state. When the United Nations declared acknowledged an end to the British Mandate and the existence of the Jewish State, clear boarders were still neglected to be identified only increasing the negative political climate in the region. There is no justification for denying individuals their rights regardless of how the conflict began. However, just solving the issue on paper will not suddenly generate peace; it will be the work of social workers and humanitarian workers to aide in generating peace. 
            The very nature of the conflict deprives everyone involved the “right to life, liberty, and security of person (UDHR Article 3)”. With the understanding that “everyone has the right to a nationality” and “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality... (UDHR, Article 15)”, there is a clear human rights violation committed against the Palestinians that is not shared with Israelis. The United Nations granted and acknowledged Israeli nationalism, by encouraging a two state solution, the United Nations should abide by its own president and grant Palestine full member state status. As a full member, the United Nations would have proper jurisdiction to be involved in the conflict to help negotiate peace, aide in establishing concrete and comprehensive borders, and encourage Palestine to establish its own government by which to implement international humanitarian standards.
In addition Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary…exile” which is precisely what Palestinians are facing. By not being given the right to acknowledge their own nationality synonymous with their identity they are essentially exiles. While Israel argues that closing the border between Israel and Gaza was out of protection, it violated the human rights of the Palestinians. As verified by Article 13 of the UDHR states: “(1) everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” It is a complex issue to morally justify. If the borders were left opened, the right to life of the Israelis would continue to be threatened by a constant barrage of qussam rockets on homes and community structures. In contrast, by securing the border, the right to work, freedom of movement, and supplies that are imported in to meet a basic standard of living are denied. The most contested, as previously discussed, is the right to land. A nation cannot be established without land. Both sides of the conflict argue that they are being deprived what is justly and morally theirs, which means that both sides are in violation of Article 17 of the UDHR which states that  “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property”.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is not new or far off from countless other fights to establish a nation state. The Europeans that immigrated to America took over the land from the Native Americans just as the Chinese have a historic plight with Tibet. Similarly, the conflict in each of these regions stems from a fundamental belief system of right and wrong, a feeling of possession over the land, and a difference of religion. Since it is not possible, nor worthwhile, to try to convince one side to the others reasoning, the best course of action is to value humanity. By placing value on the worth of the person rather than the beliefs or ideals, commonality between the conflicting sides of the argument can be reached. By seeing the humanity in one another, there is hope for peace.
This practice of exemplifying the humanity in one and other is the protocol set forth by the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. Social workers, as professionals, are mandated to fight for social justice (NASW, 2008). The profession has a responsibility to advocate for a two state solution. The concept of a two state solution is widely recognized as the most likely chance for achieving peace. In addition, a two state solution was the original desire back in 1948 at the closure of the British Mandate. The United Nations should have recognized Palestine and Israel as two separate entities sixty years ago (United Nations, 2008). While that did not happen, it is possible to compensate for lost time by granting Palestinians their nationally now. If the plight of those who are oppressed is ignored than it is the same as siding with the oppressor. Many believe that peace for Israel and Palestine is not possible, as a social worker it is possible to discard this notion and believe that there is action that can be taken, and indeed, there is hope.

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Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). 2010. Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 8 of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. CRC, 2010: Israel. U.N. Doc. CRC/C/OPAC/ISR/CO/1. (Fifty-third sess., Jan 11–29)
Elia, Christian. (2005). A Love Story: Laila is Jordanian; she married a Psalestinian. Their two children have no citizenship. Retrieved from:
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1 comment:

  1. God loves the Jews, the Muslims, the Christians, the Hindus etc etc. There is only one God and He loves us ALL.

    It doesn't matter what anyone says or does, we are here temporarily on earth. We are Spiritual beings temporarily on earth, with a purpose to spread love to all.