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Occupied Mind

by on February 3, 2021

We only know what we learn. This was the logical thought I shared last week. It’s concomitant is that we only know what we are willing to learn.

A common refrain, at least for me and likely for many other readers of the online comic xkcd, is that “someone is wrong on the internet“. Some days it seems like everybody thinks everybody else is wrong on the internet. Social media is an easy place to think someone else is wrong, and to tell them so. But we only know what we know and what we are willing to learn.

Duty Calls

I can’t speak to what other people are willing to learn. Education people is a tiring task; educating people through social media is a momentous task. I hope we are willing to learn.

Social media should be a place to learn. Many social issues, however, can’t be addressed in Tweets, on a TikTok, or on Facebook – which has mostly become an echoey shoutbox. Instead I’ll use this blog to answer some of the most difficult questions people argue over on social media.

Is Gaza occupied by Israel? Does Israel responsible for Gaza under international law? According to the UN Human Rights Council, Israel has “the obligations … as the occupying Power to ensure the welfare and safety of the Palestinian civilian population under its occupation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in the Gaza Strip, and noting Israel’s wilful abdication and rejection of its obligations in this regard.” The fact that Israel is not physically occupying Gaza with civilians or the military does not change this fact.

BTselem, an excellent human rights organization in Israel, expands on what the HRC says, adding “Israel cannot evade its legal responsibility to respect the human rights of residents of the Gaza Strip in those areas of life that Israel controls. Even after the disengagement, Israel continues to bear legal responsibility for the consequences of its actions and omissions concerning residents of the Gaza Strip. This responsibility is unrelated to the question of whether Israel continues to be the occupier of the Gaza Strip.”

The question of whether Gaza is occupied and whether Israel is responsible for the the welfare of Gazans actually has as very simple answer. This is not one of yes/no/maybe.

This includes the health of Gazans, who are frequently denied access to Israeli hospitals, have their food rationed by Israel, and are denied access to receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, despite the fact that Israel one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

None of us are born knowing these facts. The question is whether we are willing to learn. It is not until we know things through learning that we can act to remedy these man-made problems.

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