Statelessness and Rights
A stateless person is not considered a member of any state and thus does not have the rights or protection that are normally associated with citizenship. Many countries deny stateless persons rights and systems of due process that would be given to its citizens. Travel can be exceptionally hard for stateless individuals, as any travel documents that they are issued will not be proof of nationality, and thus they are subject to being denied entry to other countries or even the one they hope to return to.
In Baddawi, we see how a stateless status restricts the lives of many Palestinians living with the status in Israel.
Stateless persons often have few rights under the law and little recourse available since they do not have a home country. Palestinians, the largest stateless community in the world, are not afforded the same rights as “native born citizens” are subject to countless legal, emotional, and financial hardships.
International community combats statelessness
In 2019, more than 85 governments cemented pledges to end statelessness at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in Geneva. Many states committed to accede or ratify the previously drafted 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
. The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons was a first of its kind and laid out an internationally recognized definition and requirements for an individual to be considered “stateless.” The conventions also outline a basic legal framework to ensure that individuals who are determined to be stateless are granted a legal identity which provides them with a “measure of stability.”
However, article 1(2) of the 1954 Convention defines persons who are excluded from the convention’s provisions despite falling within the given definition of stateless. The first clause defines an exclusion that encompasses refugees receiving aid from United Nation bodies, which has been interpreted to include Palenstinnians displaced by the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict. Palestinians who are understood to be receiving aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are not afforded any legal identity or protection by the convention.
Contemporary Issues in Israel vs. South Africa
Leila Abdelrazaq uses her graphic novel Baddawi to tell not only her father’s story, but the story of all of those who have suffered and all of those who continue to suffer. Baddawi was the name of the refugee camp created in 1955. Many of those sent here were Palestinian refugees who were forced out of their homes abruptly by war and violence. Abdelrazaq uses imagery to show us the hardships that these refugees had to face; more specifically, we see what her father had to go through. When people arrived as this camp they had every intention and hope of returning to their homes, but they never got to. Baddawi camp was meant to be a temporary solution for the people of Palestine and Syria, but it turned into a permanent residence. Today, the Baddawi camp is still a political issue and holds over 20,000 registered refugees. When talking about the tension/separation between Israelis and Palestinians there is often a comparison drawn to the apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid was a social system that called for the seperation of races and was in effect from 1948-1994 in Southwestern Africa. Nonwhites were sent to live in what were called townships, while the miniscule population of whites took up 90% of the land. The nonwhites were not treated equally and did not have nearly as many rights as the whites who had taken their home. Although apartheid technically ended in 1994 the nonwhites of South Africa, who take up three-fourths of the population in this area, feel that they are still living in apartheid. They have described it as “going from shack to shack” in a recent New York Times article. A former economist can be quoted in this same article saying, “We never dismantled apartheid, The patterns of enrichment and impoverishment are still the same.” These issues are still very much relevant in both South Africa as well as Israel and Palestine.
Black Lives Matter is an activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards black people. BLM regularly holds protests speaking out against police killings of black people, and broader issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system. Issues that have arisen is the black community are somewhat connected to those tragedies witnessed in the Baddawi camp. Brown and Black bodies being spilled in cold blood in the streets and an influx of guns in these plagued communities. In an incident in 2007 during an altercation involving Lebanese military 232 people died; Not including 168 soldiers. In 2017 African-Americans made up 25% of police killings (approx. 290 people). Similar to those numbers in the middle east. It’s an issue that need to be fixed before the bloodshed gets to the point of no return.
Israeli Settlements in Palestine
One of Palestine’s conflicts include the creation of Israeli settlements. Israeli settlers are inhabiting Palestine to escape the war-torn country. Furthermore, the Jewish settlers believe that they should inhabit the land because it is holy. They are often guarded by the military and are under certain protections. Before the Trump Administration, these settlements were described to be illegal and illegitimate. Now they are considered to be completely legal and fair, securing the jewish settlements. The settlements and military occupation constantly have to defend their makeshift homes. This can make life really difficult for Palestinians. Palestinians are excluded from certain Israeli-only roads and forced to go through a number of security checkpoints.
The visual novel drew inspiration upon these rather confusing events and shows the horror of these skirmishes. The details of the day to day life are heightened when considering that there appears to be no end in sight.
“A History of Apartheid in South Africa.” South African History Online, https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-apartheid-south-africa.
Beauchamp, Zack. “What Are Settlements, and Why Are They Such a Big Deal?” Vox, Vox, 14 May 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/11/20/18080052/israel-settlements-west-bank.
“Beddawi.” Beddawi | NISCVT – Beit Atfal Assumoud, http://www.socialcare.org/portal/beddawi/57/.
Goodman, Peter S. “End of Apartheid in South Africa? Not in Economic Terms.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 Oct. 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/business/south-africa-economy-apartheid.html.
“Israel and the Palestinians: Can the Settlement Issue Be Solved?” BBC News, BBC, 18 Nov. 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38458884.
Jakes, Lara, and David. “In Shift, U.S. Says Israeli Settlements in West Bank Do Not Violate International Law.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Nov. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/18/world/middleeast/trump-israel-west-bank-settlements.html.
Shiblak, Abbas. “Stateless Palestinians.” Stateless Palestinians | Forced Migration Review, https://www.fmreview.org/palestine/shiblak.
“What Is Statelessness?” The International Observatory on Statelessness, https://nationalityforall.org/whatis.
United Nations. “Watershed Moment as Countries Step Forward to Tackle Global Statelessness.” UNHCR, UNHCR, 11 Oct. 2019, https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2019/10/5da04b1d4/watershed-moment-countries-step-forward-tackle-global-statelessness.html.
Aeon Scott ’19