Thursday, August 1, 2013

Israel's Apartheid Wall

This elderly Palestinian man is making his way toward the Qalandiya (also Kalandia) checkpoint on the Israeli-built barrier wall or what Palestinians call the Apartheid Wall. Qalandiya is the main entry point between Ramallah on the West Bank & Jerusalem. (Ramallah is 15 minutes north of Jerusalem.) There are currently about 144 Israeli-imposed checkpoints controlled by the military across the West Bank & Gaza Strip but Qalandiya is reportedly among the most wretched. It has been called a monstrosity, a temporary prison, & a hell on earth--which is why it has long been the site of Palestinian protests & conflicts with the Israeli military.

Through this checkpoint thousands of Palestinians leaving Ramallah for work, medical care, education, religious purposes, or to visit family are corralled like cattle through rubbish-strewn corridors lined on the top & sides with wire fencing. Vehicular traffic & pedestrians are detained for hours, humiliated, harassed, physically abused, or often denied access altogether.

The Apartheid Wall doesn’t just deny freedom of movement but is a form of collective punishment on the assumption all Palestinians are terrorists. As a result of this barrier wall, which violates human rights & international law, the Palestinian economy & standard of living has been decimated with over 60% now unemployed & living in extreme poverty since they are denied access to jobs in Israel; thousands of Palestinian children have quit school to avoid beatings, insults, & cursing from Israeli soldiers while crossing checkpoints; ambulances & other emergency vehicles have been delayed or denied passage causing many Palestinian casualties, including miscarriages & stillbirths from women in labor unable to reach hospital; Palestinian health has been compromised by preventing access to health care services & hospitals; & of course religious & family life have been extremely circumscribed & stressed.

The Apartheid Wall is also part of the scheme of annexing Palestinian land under the guise of security against Palestinian terrorism. It denies freedom of movement between Israel & the West Bank but also within the West Bank--primarily by cutting off farmers from their lands.

Take a stand against the Apartheid Wall by boycotting all Israeli products (barcode beginning 729) & demanding “No US aid to Israel!” No to your phony peace talks that only impose more sanctions on Palestinian justice!

(Photo by Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)

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