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Role Played by NGO’s in the Conflict between Israel and Palestine
The role of non-governmental organizations in most warring countries is to advocate for peace and adherence to human rights when dealing with war prisoners and the society at large. NGO’s are known to come up with plans to combat war if the plan is beneficial to both sides of the countries at war. The Palestine Israel war started as a result of land issues where the Israelites claimed that Judea was their home and they wanted it back. The Arabs (Palestinians) did not take kindly the fact that the Israelis were coming to take their land. The British government stopped the migration of Jews to Palestine, when the Palestinians began behaving violently towards the Jews. This created animosity between the Palestinians and the Jews which lasts to this day. This part of the paper focuses on the role played by non-governmental organizations in the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians.
In order to resolve the land issue between the two communities, the United Nations (UN) came up with a plan to divide Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian states respectively (In a Nutshell: Israeli Palestinian Conflict 2011). The Palestinians resented the plan by the UN and war erupted. The Israelis won the war thus expanding their territory. In this process numerous Palestinians became refugees. This, however, did not bring peace because each side continued to stake claims of the land. Until this day, the most controversy results from the ownership of Jerusalem. The United Nations Organization was interested in bringing the war to an end by giving each side a part of the land without looking at the cause of the conflict. They also did not compose a set of contingency measures which would become effective when/if the plan failed to work.
As a result of conflict, each side of the war, especially the Palestinians, have formed non governmental organizations aimed at liberating Palestine. These groups have openly called for conflict and mass action when the decisions did not correspond to their wishes. The organizations also act as the mediators between Israel and Palestine. The UN has been at the centre of the conflict suggesting numerous plans one after another that keep on being rejected by one side for reasons the UN cannot foresee. For instance, the UN General Assembly Resolution 194 allowed the Palestinians to demand the return of Palestinian refugees to their land which is occupied by the Israelis. On the other hand, the Israelis rejected the resolution stating that this action would create an Arab Palestinian majority in their state thus turning the Jewish state into anti Israeli state (In a Nutshell: Israeli Palestinian Conflict 2011)
The United Nations has further encouraged conflict between the two states by creating policies and peace agreements without involving all parties. For instance, in 1993 the Palestinian liberation organization signed the Oslo Declaration of Principles thus renouncing violence against Israelis and committing to honor the UN SC Resolution 242 (In a Nutshell: Israeli Palestinian Conflict 2011). The extremist groups that were not involved in this peace agreement reacted negatively to its resolutions, which resulted in bombings and aggression against Israel.
Major NGOs such as Amnesty International, Christian Aid and others have openly taken sides in an effort to fight for the rights of those they consider oppressed and weak in the war between Palestinians and Israelis. Working together with United Nations, the groups are accused of promoting political agenda of the Palestinians using international law as the basis of their arguments. They have influenced the outcome of major peace conferences and judicial processes including the International Court of Justice in The Hague (Steinberg 2004).
The NGOs are further accused of not being consistent in defining terms such as conflict or international law because their definitions are influenced by their leaders, contributors, and financiers. For instance, critics read malice and political agenda in the way Israel’s defensive operation in Palestine was interpreted. The Christian Aid declared that the defensive attack was aimed at destroying the infrastructure and economy of Palestine (Steinberg 2004). As claimed by critics, these statements did not take into account the complexity of legal and political issues related to the operations of both states in war.
The Impact of Non-governmental Agencies on Human Security
The United Nations secretary General Kofi Annan defined human security as freedom from wants and fear (Michael 2002). This means that human security extends beyond protecting people from violence implying that people are secure when their wants are addressed as well. This section of the paper analyses how the NGOs have impacted human security in their quest for human rights in the world.
The goals of NGOs concerning human security include fighting for the rights of children, women, political activists, and AIDS victims. NGOs can be local or international depending on their area of expertise and the resources at their disposal to deal with a certain circumstance. Some NGOs are formed with the main aim to deliver human security for all. For instance, the main aim of Commission of Human Security is to ensure social protection against risks and vulnerabilities (Michael 2002).
To ensure human security, NGOs work directly or indirectly on the matter. For instance, they promote human rights around the world by setting international human rights standards (Advocates for Human Rights 2003). This has encouraged states to promote human security since NGOs provide the measure against which all actions concerning human rights are judged. NGOs pressure governments to sign treaties which guide their actions in regard to human rights. NGO influences the agenda and topics of discussion of conferences around the world depending on their interest. However, the common goal of many NGOs is uniting people in their effort of promoting human rights in the world.
NGOs also promote human security by documenting the violations of human rights (Advocates for Human Rights 2003). They involve themselves in investigation and documenting findings on allegations of human rights abuse as independent bodies free from the influence of the states. They believe that investigating and documenting violations of human rights is very important since it sets basis for action towards change. Their investigations range form individual-focused to national-focused. These investigations give an opportunity to victims to dispel their fears by allowing them to talk about their grievances. This is done through conduction of interviews with the victims of human rights violations.
NGOs also promote human security by providing support enforcement mechanisms (Advocates for Human Rights 2003). This is done with the aim to enforce the standards set by the NGOs concerning human rights and documentation of their violations. The support mechanism involves seeking justice by providing investigative results to international courts for prosecution purposes. They also provide witnesses with protection by giving them homes or putting them in secure places, where they can not be prosecuted for given information. Some circumstances may require direct involvement of NGOs in peace making missions, such as helping a weak nation to defend itself against attacks from an invading force. This is done through provision of military force sent by organizations such as the African Union or the European Union.
The work of NGOs also involves provision and distribution of food and other basic commodities to war refugees. These NGOs include the Red Cross, which provides medical aid to people with malnutrition or to people injured during conflicts. Other organizations, such as the UNICEF, UNHABITAT, and others work towards ensuring human security by giving people good houses to dwell in or building learning centers in communities to eliminate illiteracy among children. Conclusively, NGOs have played a major role in the effort towards attaining human security on the global level. Some NGOs are involved in responding to catastrophic natural disasters such as earthquakes, where they provide necessary aid as well as counseling to the affected people.
Supplementing Human Security and Peace Building across the World
According to the research done by the United Nations, the effect of peace making is mostly geared towards containment of conflict and promotion of stability by establishing a government that is able to control the events of a country during the war. The peace making process rarely advocates for the welfare of people and does not give an exhaustive plan of development (Futamura, Newman, & Tadjbakhsh 2010).
The motivation behind interventions in conflicts is fundamental to sustainable peace building. There is no doubt that an unstable society is more prone to conflict. This poses a threat on international peace and security (Futamura et al 2010). Peace building should be used as a medium for developing and advocating human security as well as it should be geared towards ensuring human security on the global level. Researchers insist that peace building should be a bottom-up process, where the community initiates the action plan and then the process spreads from community to national level. The opposite usually happens when the initiative of peace making starts with mediation between the interested individuals who, in most cases, are the causes of conflict. This happens because the community has no knowledge about the conflict.
The peace building process should not be initiated externally or driven by the donors and the human rights groups (Futamura et al, 2010). This is because the deeper understanding of the local political, social, economic, and traditional culture is always lacking. The peace building should, therefore, be community driven in order to achieve the goals of human security agenda. This is because conflict causes hatred between groups. This hatred cannot be eliminated by a mere peace accord signed by the leaders of the warring sides, especially where the conflict was politically motivated. When conflict escalates, its cause becomes irrelevant for the people of local community. In this case a conflict simply turns into fighting for desires and wants of one against the other.
Peace building can foster human security when communities are economically sound and their social grievances are addressed. Failure to address such issues leaves the communities dependant on international aid (Futamura et al, 2010). Granting such sponsorships can reignite conflict within societies, which can lead to international conflicts.
To supplement the peace making process, human security should be ensured to attain lasting and sustainable peace. This should be done through assuring that personal security, welfare, and dignity of people and communities is addressed (Futamura et al 2010). Restoration of dignity of communities after conflicts is an important mission in peace building. Dignity of an individual is found in the individual’s ability to fulfill his own needs and needs of his family.
The basic understanding of supplementing peace building with human security is that this exercise is centered on individuals at community level, who are turned into agents of security, the referents of security, and the peace givers (Futamura et al 2010). The human security approach studies attitudes of part of population of one belief in regard to the security of another, their capacity to instigate conflict, defend themselves, and their judgment on conflict and its source.
The human security approach to peace building addresses the root cause of the conflict which is mostly caused by political exclusion, horizontal inequality and structural violence (Futamura et al, 2010). This requires adequate planning. The impact of conflict on local communities gives an opportunity to do an exhaustive analysis of the root cause of the war. It also provides an opportunity to provide help and compensation to victims of the conflict by pursuance of transitional justice.
Global Change and Sustainability
Sustainable resources are largely affected by the global changes in environment, political power and other important issues that affect human wellbeing. Global changes which affect sustainability and development of resources are political and environmental changes. This is so due to the fact that everyone has a right to water, food, basic education, and health. Satisfaction of these needs forms the basis of development and enables the poor to take charge of their lives. This section of the paper deals with the global changes and their effect on sustainability of resources and development.
Sustainability seeks to promote positive change and development by balancing economic and environmental priorities (Schmandt & Ward, 2004). This is because most global change issues arise from economic changes and environmental changes. For instance, recently, the major global environmental change has been in regard to carbon emission. Such issues as environmental change cannot be localized to a certain area because their effects are felt by all corners of the world. Global issues are issues that affect the whole universe even when they occur in a certain country. The issue of economic change is also global. This is because changes in economy of powerful countries lead to changes in the strength of their currencies, which are often the currencies of international trade. This change in its turn affects developing countries who also participate in the trade of goods on global market.
Achieving sustainability also involves consideration of the long term and short term costs and benefits of activities geared towards development (Schmandt & Ward 2004). The long-term cost of a project depends on the viability of the project and the time it takes to fulfill its aim. For instance, development of an individual country in the long term depends on the nature of the political environment of the country, the economic status of the country, the social culture, and set up of people. The short-term costs of a project depend on the management of the project and the support gained for the project. It is important to consider the benefits and costs of projects aimed at ensuring sustainability of development.
Sustainability plans should also consider the differences in income and ability to access resources between poor and rich countries (Schmandt & Ward 2004). Projects geared towards sustainability should seek to diminish the differences between the accessibility of resources in poor and rich countries. Rich countries have access to resources because they have the power to purchase them. They also provide the capital to explore the amount of natural resources in poor countries, where they are rewarded with the priority to use those resources. On the other hand, poor countries lack financing to develop natural resources which could significantly change their economic environment.
Sustainability of resources and global change are dynamic issues which require adjustments in international policies. Change in population is one of the major changes in global setup. Sustainability programs in this regard would seek to address economic issues of increased production and increased consumption. This is important because production may not be equal or exceed consumption.
Another aspect of global change is change in leadership of major companies and change of political leadership. This is important because the political arena of most countries changes after a predetermined period. This brings economic changes to the country as well as other countries involved in its economic transactions. For instance, the United States elections can affect the economic environment of developing countries that use the dollar as their mean of exchange in international trade.
Environmental change is a global change that threatens the international relations the most. This is because some countries are accused of emitting more carbon to the environment than others. The sustainability program would in this case seek to reduce the carbon emission by each country while bringing all the involved parties to the table to honor the commitment towards environmental responsibility.
Impact of Globalization on Human Security
Globalization can have a negative impact on human security resulting in worsening of international relations. The result of negative globalization is weakened international ties that can cause various conflicts. On the other hand, positive globalization leads to strengthening of international ties and fostering peace around the world. This section of the paper involves the analysis of the influence of globalization on human security depending on its impact on international and national relations.
One of the main spheres of impact of globalization is economics. Intentions of international groups to bridge the economic gap may affect human security in a negative manner. This is because international economic liberalization is a matter of power relations, which emphasizes the pertinence of culture contests for domination (The International Journal of Peace 2007). Consolidation of dominions requires the support of religious and political powers, which involves selling ideologies to the institutions in order to succeed. The impact of dominance on human security is based on materialistic nature of the dominating individuals supported by the developed world and local affluent personalities. Eventual failure of such relations focused on materialistic gain can make personal dissatisfaction erupt into national conflicts and then international ones. Globalization based on this ideology reflects class interests and class differences between the dominant and the subordinate groups of population.
Globalization based on dominance brings conflict due to dynamic markets, technologies, power positions, ideologies, and alliance crisis. Change in existing alliances and arrangements may cause conflict since dominance is negotiated and allowed by the subordinate, thus allowing the dominant class to rule (The International Journal of Peace 2007).
The process of globalization has resulted in vast differences between the developed and developing countries. Latter are encouraged to conform to the political, social, economical, and cultural influences of the elite group. The issue of economic globalization is a sensitive one for developing countries, because the elite countries in conjunction with financier groups and organizations shape the economic environment of a country by interfering with its political environment. This results in inefficient continuity between state’s and society’s social and economic values and ideologies. The political elite of a country no longer needs social support for economic liberalization because it receive grants and aid from the elite countries, which dictate political and economic behavior of the developing country.
Moreover, globalization has affected the food security in some countries. This is especially so in countries depending mostly on agricultural sector to sustain their national budget failures. In addition, these countries must accept grants and aids from developed nations and financial groups to reduce budget deficit.
Globalization is also believed to influence health insecurity. Developing countries can not afford to efficiently finance their health departments and, therefore, medicine must be donated by the developed countries to fight epidemics such as AIDS and malaria. The major issue nowadays is, however, the environmental insecurity, which mostly impacts third world countries. The reason is that developing nations depend on the environment which influences their ability to participate in international trade. This has elicited major debates on how the developed countries should compensate developing countries for contributing to environmental degradation. Finally, political security is affected negatively by globalization due to existing conflicts of power in the world and the allegiance shift from one political alignment to another on the international level.