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An Overview Of The Gaza Conflict

As per the Bible, the meaning of Israel is to struggle with its God.

The biblical history of the place goes back to Abraham who is the father of the two religions.

According to the old testament, God told Abraham to settle in the old region called Cannan (modern-day Israel). In 1000 BCE king Saul establishes an Israelite monarchy which continued till King David and his son Solomon, he also built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. This historical legacy continues to be the claim of the Jewish people. The land continued to be ruled and conquered by various empires including Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs Egyptians Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mamluks, and the Ottomans who called this region Palestine.

Jerusalem is a sacred city for the 3 Abrahamic religions.

Jerusalem becoming the sacred city where Christ was crucified and resurrected Christian belief and prophet Mohammed descended to heaven.

During these transitions, Jews fled the area and created a diaspora in various European countries.

What Has Bought The Issue To The News Again

After a video of an Israeli settler going viral on social media arguing with a Palestinian woman, fresh rounds of battles have taken place between the two sides. With Israel nation having its defined boundaries, Palestine stands in an undefined boundary with Gaza Strip on the western and West Bank on the eastern side.

The Modern History Of The Land

The conflict owes much to the random partition and boundary settlement made by Britisher after the end of WW1.

The Britisher was determined to defeat the Ottomans of Turkey as its presence threatened trade interest with India which was carried through the Suez canal made in 1868 passing through the near vicinity of the Ottoman empire.

Though the British had acquired Egypt and acquired complete control over its revenue matter by the year 1888, it was always apprehensive of a possible Ottoman attack dissecting its trade route to India which was a supplier of raw material to Britain during the Industrial revolution.

The presence of the Ottoman Empire in close vicinity of the Suez canal reminded the British of the fall of Constantinople. So it became imperative for the Britishers to oust the Ottoman Empire.

With the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in the 1st World War, the league of nations gained territorial occupation over the area of Ottoman, they rule and divided the area into French and British mandate. With Britain having control over the area of the south of modern Lebanon now called Israel and France having mandate over modern-day Lebanon and Syria.

The British continued with their policy of territorial and population division as a method of rule popularly known as divide and rule, they divided the area through the famous letter of intent called the Balfour declaration.

The area was already witnessing Jewish migration after the famous letter of Theodore Herzl who gave the clarion call of Zionism in 1896 calling the jews to return to the homeland facing discrimination in Europe at the hands of anti-Semitic Christians. He propounded that Judaism is just not any ethnicity but also a nationality.

Arthur James Balfour was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary in the Lloyd George ministry, he issued the Balfour Declaration in 1917 on behalf of the cabinet.

The Balfour Declaration was a public statement issued by the British government in 1917 during the First World War announcing support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a small minority Jewish population. The declaration was contained in a letter dated 2 Nov. 1917 from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, for transmission to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland. The text of the declaration was published in the press on 9 November 1917.

The area witnessed even more Jewish influx owing to Nazi War crimes against the Jewish population called The Holocaust causing further influx called Aliyah.

The letter called for a Jewish national home in Palestinian land which was a Jewish homeland shared later by Arab Muslims after the rise of Islam in 700AD as the area lied on a trade route to Mecca Hejaz and Medina.

In 1947, violence broke out between Jews and Arab Muslims, which forced the UN to approve a plan to divide British Palestine into two separate states, Israel and Palestine for Arab Muslims, with Jerusalem as a special international place as it had holy sites for all Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

The Jews accepted the plan and it got acceptance by the United States at first. But the Arab states did not like the idea, they united and waged war against the Jewish state. The Arabs saw the Jewish state as just one more plan of the Europeans to create fissures and territories as per their colonialist vision for the future.

The Arabic countries which got independence recently joined the United Front and attacked Israel.

Israel meanwhile proclaimed itself a state in 1948 and gradually expanded and including a large part of Jerusalem.

In the 1948 Arab – Israel war, Israel won over the Arab union. Jordan occupied the area that came to be known as the west bank and Egypt occupied as Gaza strip, Jerusalem occupied with Israeli forces in the west, and Palestinians in the east.

Over 7000000 thousand Arabs fled and never returned. War came knocking again in 1967, with Israel on one side and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan on the other side. Israel occupied territories of the Gaza strip and west bank including east Jerusalem leading to 2nd exodus of Palestinians to what they call Al Naqba (the catastrophe), it was in this backdrop that the UN security council adopted resolution 242 aimed at establishing peace in the area.

The territories captured were Golan Heights from Syria, West Bank from Jordan, Gaza Strip, and Sinai peninsula including the Suez Canal from Egypt which was forcefully nationalized by Nasser disturbing westerns trade with India.

It emphasized Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in the conflict termination of all claims or states of belligerency just for the settlement of the refugee problem.

Sadat replaced Nasser in Egypt, while in Syria al-Assad came to power. The union attacked the state of Israel without Jordan on the holy day of Jews called Yom Kippur day.

The weapons that were supplied to Israel by the US on the peace table, Egypt recognized Israel in return for the Sinai peninsula while being handed over to Egypt as part of the Camp David accord of 1978, however, the status remained the same for the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Palestine liberation organization in 1964 to form an organization of Palestinians against Israel.

Since then many uprisings have been done by the PLO which was resolved from time to time for peace after the first intifada named the Oslo Accord in 1993.

In 1995, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which gave recognition to Jerusalem that “Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel.” The bill also contained the provisions that the American embassy should move to Jerusalem within five years. President Clinton was opposed to the Jerusalem Embassy Act and signed a waiver for every six months delaying the move.

George W. Bush criticized Clinton for not moving the embassy as he had promised to do and said he planned on initiating the process himself as soon as he was elected who also backed down on his promise.

In 2008, Democratic candidate Barack Obama called Jerusalem the ‘capital of Israel‘. On June 4, 2008, Obama apprised the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), in his speech after getting the Democratic nomination the day before, that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” However, he backtracked almost immediately, saying “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations.”

During the 2016 US Presidential election, one of Trump’s campaign promises was to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which he described as the “eternal capital of the Jewish people. Finally in December 2017 trump recognized the capital of Israel and that the US embassy would be moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv also that he did not mention the word East Jerusalem.

Written by

Arya Jha

Radio and Television Journalism,

Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi.

Contact: msaryajha@gmail.com

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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