Human Rights in the Middle East: An Analysis of the Human Rights Policies and Practices of The State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority
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My decision to write about the Middle East stems from a personal connection to the region as well as a college career devoted to the study of the political and social conditions of the Middle East. For many different reasons, the Middle East plays a salient role in international politics and relations. And a knowledge of human rights theory and practice is essential to the understanding of the process and course of international politics. Thus as a Senior Individualized Project for an International and Area Studies major this topic is particularly relevant. The choice to focus on the human rights practices of Israel and the newly formed Palestinian Authority was not difficult. It is true that every other nation in the Middle East is guilty of some form of human rights violations. However, the conditions in Israel and the Palestinian Authority are unique. One is a parliamentary democracy with a history of primarily good relations with the international community. The other is a geographically fractured entity with an essentially authoritarian political structure whose regional and international status is as yet undetermined. Both have exceptionally poor human rights records. What is so fascinating about the human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian Authority is the analogous nature of the political development of the two bodies. By this I mean the acquisition of power as a prerequisite for engaging in human rights abuses; the transition of a group from the position of victim to that of aggressor. This inter-conectedness of history, politics, and human rights is what I seek to portray and understand through this project.
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