Friday, August 18, 2006

Apartheid Wall

I agree with those who say Apartheid is a good word for what is happening here.

Why can Israel be described as an apartheid state?

- Two legal systems for people in the same geographic location based on ethnic origin. This is most acute in the West Bank, where West Bank palestinians live under military rule (i.e. soldiers, guns and tanks), while Jewish-Israelis in West Bank settlements live under civil law (regular civilian law with police, etc.).

-A "pass system" of ID's very similar to South Africa. This keeps West Bank Palestinians in "Bantustans" (check the South African history on this word). In other words: If you are West Bank Palestinian, you have to have a permit, or pass to travel, even to other Palestinian cities, and generally you cannot enter Israel (or "1948" as the Palestinians call it). Israelis can travel anywhere in the West Bank and do not have to stop at most checkpoints. They are forbidden, however, to enter major Palestinian cities, though in fact settlers make regular violent raids into Palestinian areas.

- Water and Land apartheid: Israel controls water, electricity, and land in the West Bank. As Jewish-only settlements consume more and more land, water, and expand rapidly, Palestinian towns suffer regular water and electricity shortages. Jayyous, for example (see posts about Jayyous village below), does not have electricity for several hours each day. Beit Jalla, a suburb of Bethlehem where I am staying now, has regular water shortages. The other night I went to a different house to take a shower.

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