Similarities between Palestine and Kashmir - The problems of Kashmir and Palestine

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The problems of Kashmir and Palestine both date back to 1947. While Palestine is well known globally, Kashmir is virtually an unknown entity. Ken Stone of the Canadian Peace Alliance thinks it ought to be brought into mainstream.

The similarities are striking. United Nations (UN) in 1948 promised self-determination both the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir. The Palestinians still remain under brutal and inhuman occupation of Israel and have not attained a sovereign Palestine. Hapless Kashmiris on the other hand continue to suffer ruthless brutalities at the hands of India and have not been afforded an opportunity to exercise their right of self determination as agreed in many UN Resolutions. The total failure of the UN, to enforce its decisions on both Palestine and Kashmir have directly resulted in much agony, instability, violence and bloodshed in western and southern Asia. Ken Stone says “There have been at least a half dozen major military conflicts in the Middle East in the past 70 years and many smaller skirmishes that can be linked in whole or in part to the failure to provide a homeland for the Palestinian people. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in these conflicts and millions have been injured. There has been a very heavy toll on civilian infrastructure and people’s lives.  And the insecurity continues until today with the illegal Western aggression and humanitarian tragedy, lasting over five long years in Syria, which has been the most stalwart Arab ally of the Palestinian cause.”

The failure of the UN to provide self-determination for the people of Kashmir has led directly to two major wars between India and Pakistan. South Asia has become highly destabilised and one cannot rule out the potential of a nuclear war. In the past three years the cease fire violations  along the cease fire line  dividing the two Kashmir has alarmingly increased with loss of human lives in hundred. In Palestine, the economy of the West Bank has basically stagnated over the past three decades as the Israeli government has fenced in the Palestinians with the infamous and illegal Apartheid Wall and a system of Jewish-only settlements and roads, choking the participation of West Bank Palestinians in the Israeli and other Middle Eastern economies. In Indian-occupied Kashmir, the negative economic consequences of the illegal occupation are likewise dire. Mercy Corps, a US-based development agency, in a report in 2011 estimated 48% unemployment among Kashmiri youth (Times of India, April 16, 2016). This figure has naturally risen up considerably since, especially in view of the latest uprising from July 8. There is round the clock curfew in major cities in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Ken Stone of the Canadian Peace Alliance thinks On top of the indignity of statelessness, poverty, unemployment, and lack of opportunity; on top of the misery and destruction of war; both the Palestinian and Kashmiri people are made to suffer violations of their human rights on almost a daily basis. In Occupied Palestine, Palestinians are routinely killed almost every day. Eight thousand Palestinians, including hundreds of women and children are kept as political prisoners in Israeli jails. Armed Israeli settlers on the West Bank terrorize local Palestinians, setting fire to olive groves and farmhouses, and beating up Palestinian youth. In Gaza, Israeli jets regularly bomb civilian targets taking a steady toll of civilians and infrastructure. And I am not even counting the Israeli massacres of Palestinians in their armed incursions into Gaza of 2008, 2012, and 2014. In Kashmir, the Indian government maintains an illegal army of occupation of over 700,000 soldiers and special police force. Since July of this year, following the spontaneous outpouring of grief by Kashmiris at the execution-style killing by Indian troops of a charismatic young militant named Burhan Wani, the Indian occupation forces have embarked on a frenzy of shootings and killings of the Kashmiris living under its illegal sway. There have been over 100 recorded deaths and at least 15,000 injuries of Kashmiris since only July 8 of this year. Many of these injuries are caused by the occupation forces firing pellet guns at crowds, causing over 1000 eye injuries alone, to persons as young as 8 years old. Over 7600 Kashmiris have been arrested and held without charge or trial (Kashmir Media Service). It is no wonder, then, that the Palestinians and Kashmiris resist so fiercely their illegal occupations. And, according to international law, they have every right to oppose their foreign oppressors!

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