Day: March 9, 2013

Israel-Palestine: Banal Apartheid

palestinian-busesOn 28 February, an Israeli activist with Checkpoint Watch, a movement of Israeli women peace activists who oppose the Israeli occupation and the denial of Palestinians’ rights to move freely in their land, and who conduct daily observations of Israeli army checkpoints in the occupied West Bank, was at the bus terminal in Oraniot on highway number 5. At 5 pm, she writes, two police vehicles and two army trucks arrived at the terminal, and a sergeant ordered all the Palestinians to get off bus number 286, on its way to the Jewish settlement of Ariel. The soldiers collected identity documents and permits from all the Palestinian workers on the bus; the workers were told to get off, sit on the cold floor and wait. At first some of them managed to catch another bus (although they have to pay double fares), but the soldiers found out and made them march on foot for the Azoun-Othma checkpoint two and a half kilometres away.

It was cold, the sun had set. Most of these Palestinian workers had got up at three AM to catch their transportation to work inside Israel. Most live within a few kilometres and all they wanted was to be allowed to stay on the bus for a stop or two. They had paid the bus fare and 8,000 Israeli shekels (€1,670) for the permit. You have to work very hard before you can cover such expense and earn your first shekel.

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