A day at the beach is NOT a human right.

Rachel Shabi of the Guardian writes sympathetically about Palestinian girls that are being taken to the beach by Israeli women. As nice as this may sound, this is another article about Israel/Palestine that is not inaccurate but delves too much on human interest without highlighting or even attempting to explain any of the backgrounds of Middle Eastern politics.

The article and the women involved argue that Israel’s refusal to grant entry into its territory (and in the context of the article especially to the beaches of Tel Aviv) to Palestinians living in the West Bank constitutes an illegality and a grave injustice.

(C) Günter Moser

Tellingly, no reasoning for this interpretation is given. – Probably because it would be very hard to argue that any state is obliged to grant access to the citizens of another state just because the territory of this other state doesn’t have a beach (or in this case only one in Gaza). I find it rather normal that any country would retain the right to control its borders and to decide who can enter when for which purpose. Not many countries in Europe would give a visa to Palestinians (or anybody else who falls under a visa requirement) if the sole purpose of the visit is to spend a day at the beach.

Countries requiring visas are nothing extraordinary, nor are landlocked countries or territories that don’t have access to the sea. Yet I don’t think that the Guardian would run an article about Armenians, Nepalis, Uzbeks or Serbians and their beach-less lives.

And if one wants to concentrate on the plight of the Palestinians in this context, I suggest to raise the question why Palestinians can’t easily travel to the beaches of the surrounding Arab countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, all countries with beaches on the Mediterranean or the Red Sea. But this would have raised the far more complex question of boastful Arab solidarity – and uncovered that they do nothing to back up the slogans.

Most Palestinians want their own state – and I think they should get it, pretty much along the current borders between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. But if you have your own state, you can’t argue that it is your natural right to enter the territory of another state without any visa. Especially because it was mostly Palestinian terrorists and their suicide attacks on civilians in mainland Israel that prompted Israel to strengthen its border security.

And I wonder how would Israelis would be welcomed if they wanted to spend a day at the beaches of Gaza…

Andreas Moser in Israel

There are serious problems with Palestinians’ rights, but making a day at the beach an issue of human rights is trivialising both Palestinians and human rights.

As a frequent traveller to both Israel and the West Bank, I do however agree that Israel’s beaches are among the most beautiful in the Mediterranean and that Israelis should be less fearful about travelling to the West Bank. Despite sporadic terror attacks, it is usually not dangerous. At least I have been lucky so far.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Human Rights, Israel, Law, Politics, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A day at the beach is NOT a human right.

  1. It seems like you do not understand the conflict. Israel occupies Palestine. Palestine is not a different state/country. You should read more before you decide to write/blog about something you have no idea of. Cheers!

    • Israel did not occupy any Palestinian state. I am not aware of any Palestinian state that would ever have existed before Israel’s existence. Where and when did it exist, when and how was it founded, how was it governed?
      Israel was founded based on the decision by the UN General Assembly in 1947, giving the state of Israel a legitimacy in international law that no other country can boast. Unfortunately the Arab states greeted this with an immediate war against Israel.
      Finally, about the tone of your comment: We should all read (and travel and talk to each other) more. I have been to both Israel and Palestine about 20 times and wouldn’t call myself clueless. We might have very different opinions, but I would never tell you that “you do not understand the conflict”.

  2. themadjewess says:

    Israel occupies Palestine.

    You mean as Arizonans are ‘occupying’ the Gasden?

    The ‘conflict?’ the confilct has been going on for over 5,000 years, and sorry- it is YOU that does not GET what is happening.

    Israel is so small, as big as Jersey-barely, and you have bullies like this creep above that wants Israel to go to the chambers, thats the facts.

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