Two populations live side by side, separated through systematic discrimination. Within the same land, these two populations live separate lives, travel on separate infrastructure and are processed through separate justice systems. The basis of this separation is their nationality – nothing else.
The lives of Israelis living in the West Bank is manufactured to replicate, to the closest possible detail, that of those living in Israel itself. Occupation and hostility are mere obstacles in the eyes of the authorities to implementing this goal. The threat Israelis face is from their neighbours, not the state. In contrast, Palestinians living within the West Bank live under occupation – military occupation.
If an Israeli committed a serious crime, they would be (rightly) afforded all of the rights an Israeli citizen would. They would be tried in a civilian court. If a Palestinian committed a crime, even if it was the same crime, then he/she would be tried under a military court system. These two systems bear little resemblance to each other. While an Israeli can be held for 20 days before a remand request is made, a Palestinian can be held for 30. While an Israeli will be dealt with within one year of arrest a Palestinian can be up to 30 months.
This segregation penetrates every aspect of life – while most Israeli settlers are given enough water for their lawns and even swimming pools, many Palestinians are forced to buy drinking water from tanker trucks. According to WHO the average human needs 100 litres a day to satisfy their basic needs. The average daily consumption by a Palestinian is 66 litres, in some areas much less.
This system of segregation, where one group is afforded different services, infrastructure and allocation of natural resources is a violation ofIsrael’s obligations under International Humanitarian Law – to protect Palestinians living under occupation. This has lead many to describe it as a de facto apartheid.
One response to “The West Bank – a modern day apartheid”
Really interesting Steve. Just did a campaign for Amnesty at uni on thursday on water rights for Palestinians. To add to those statistics, 90-95% of water is contaminated and unfit for human consumption. Yet, Israel does not allow the transfer of water from the Mountain in the West Bank to Gaza. Also the Isreali government has preventing the development of water infrastructure and facilities in the Occupied territories. They have diminished existing water sources and restricted the availability of water for the Palestinian population which is in breach of Israel’s obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law.