27 August 2017 marked 50 years since Israel issued Military Order 101, a law that punishes Palestinians for peaceful political expression and anyone caught breaching the order faces imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or a hefty fine.
50 years on, Military Order 101, which is almost as old as Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, continues to apply to Palestinians in the West Bank, and may be enforced at any time.
All of this is being done in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and against the backdrop of the deafening silence of the international community
Since 1967, Israel’s authorities have arrested and detained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, under military orders.
Such acts continue to be criminalized despite the fact that in 1993 Palestinians signed a peace accord with Israel that was meant to recognize their political rights.
Since then, Palestine has achieved non-member observer status at the United Nations (UN), and more than 135 UN member states recognize Palestine as a state. And yet, raising the Palestinian flag in the West Bank or displaying the ‘wrong’ poster in a room is still a criminal act under Israeli military orders, unless an Israeli army commander authorizes it.
Speaking during commemorations to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine, The Palestinian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Her Excellence, Taghrid Senour said, just like any other nation and state, the people of Palestine deserve the right to freedom and be an independent nation or state.
“The Palestinian people have the right to realize their national aspirations, including to live in freedom, dignity and prosperity in their independent State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, including a just solution for the Palestinian refugees which constitute nearly half of the Palestinian people (6/13 million) and the biggest refugee population around the world, in line with the relevant UN resolutions,”she said.
“Our people continue to suffer from the injustice and indignity of Israel’s illegal occupation. Israel persists with its torment and collective punishment of our people, with its arrests and imprisonment, with its colonization of our land ,with settlement activities advancing at 4 times the rate of last year alone and theft of land and demolition of Palestinian homes and properties, building the segregation wall and establishing over 630 checkpoints and roadblocks. forcibly displacing thousands. It does all of this unapologetically and systematically,” said Ambassador Senour.
Unless an Israeli military commander provides authorization in advance, Palestinians in the West Bank are banned from attending and organizing a procession, assembly or vigil of 10 or more people for a political purpose, or where a speech is being made on a political subject, or for a matter that may be construed as political, or even to discuss such a subject.
This is just but one of the several draconian laws that the people of Palestine are faced with on their daily lives.
Children have not been spared.
The numbers of injured and detained Palestinian children continue to increase. Illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade continue to be imposed on our people in Gaza for more than 11 years, and changing the status-quo in Jerusalem.
The State of Palestine continues to be fragmented as the occupying Power persists with its policies aimed at colonizing and de facto annexing as much Palestinian land as possible.
“Seventy years since the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 181, a sovereign and independent State of Palestine has yet to emerge alongside the State of Israel.
“I remain convinced that the two-state solution recognized by that resolution is the only premise for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The resolution of this conflict would also create momentum for greater stability throughout the region,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in a speech read on his behalf by UN Country Director, Bishow Parajuli.
It is high time to bring an end to Israel’s half-century occupation that has controlled every aspect of Palestinian life and to allow its people to realize their inalienable rights, including to self-determination and independence.
This, will restore humanity and hope to its people, and stability to region and peace to the world.