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50 Years of Israeli Occupation: Moving Forward

“50 years of military occupation spells to every single Palestinian that we, with whatever means we possess, have to end our humiliation and gain our independence. Strategically, June 2017 is an opportunity to place the Palestinian issue on the international agenda [1],” said a senior Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) official, who requested anonymity, in the city of Ramallah.

June 5th, 2017 marked 50 years since the Six Day War – a battle between Israel and Arab states that resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Although this date is one in which the Palestinian public remembers as a definitive loss of self-determination and independence, Israel’s illegal settlement expansion truly began upon the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Refusing to acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist, Israel has since spent the last 50 plus years committing some of the most heinous violations of human rights and international law, including ethnic cleansing in 1948. An impatient and humiliated Palestine is committed to finding a resolution, and is moving forward with plans to make 2017 the year of a two-state solution.

“Now is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security with the State of Israel,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement regarding the 50-year anniversary [2]. With this common goal, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO are planning a massive public and international campaign, consisting of several objectives, to bring peace to the region once and for all [1].

The campaign is committed to persuading Israeli public opinion that not only is the occupation and settlement expansion illegal and unjust, but that consequences must exist for a half-decade of detrimental policy and abuses. The campaign would also attempt to unite the Palestinian public through a common narrative of resistance, hope, and struggle with the Fatah leadership. Recognizing the importance of recruiting international actors, Palestine intends on enlisting members of the Middle East Quartet and anti-occupation Israelis as well as convincing the Trump administration of the urgency of a two-state solution. International actors have already become involved, as Palestinian representatives have met with senior EU officials in Brussels and with representatives of the major EU nations in Ramallah and East Jerusalem [1].

Israel is aware of these plans however, and has made clear their intentions on combating them. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official, on the condition of anonymity, told news site Al-Monitor that Israel intends on blaming the Palestinians for their incitement to violence, terror, and refusal to promote peace. The official stated: “We will emphasize 100 years of Arab terror.[1]”

This dichotomy between the opposing narratives speaks to one aspect of why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven to be the most difficult conflicts to resolve in modern history. Now more than ever, a peace process and two-state solution is essential for Palestinian liberation and self-determination. Thus, an end to the conflict is essential for Palestine’s success, democracy, and international reputation [2].

[1] Savir, Uri. "How Palestinians plan to mark 50 years of occupation." Al-Monitor. May 15, 2016.

[2] "After 50 years of Israeli occupation, now is the time to create Palestinian state – UN chief." UN News Center. June 05, 2017.

[2] "After 50 years of Israeli occupation, now is the time to create Palestinian state – UN chief." UN News Center. June 05, 2017.

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