Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Separate and Unequal


R. had a work meeting in Ramallah. She planned to return home, to East Jerusalem, with M., her partner, who works in Ramallah. They reached the Hizma checkpoint, east of the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement, where there is a permanent Israel Defense Forces post that checks all travelers heading to Jerusalem. You are forbidden to take this route, said the soldiers. Only your husband is allowed. Take the Qalandiyah checkpoint route.

R. and M. have been married for about 10 years. He is a Palestinian, born in East Jerusalem, an Israeli resident. She has an ID card from the territories. She has a permit to be in Jerusalem, at home, with her children and spouse.

As soon as they were married they applied to the Israeli Interior Ministry for “family unification.” Despite promises, including written promises, she is still waiting for the residency document. They’ve been through a lot of Kafkaesque travails as a result, but the new prohibition against going home together shocked even them. They thought it might have been a soldier’s whim, but a news item in Haaretz last Friday made clear to them that it is a military order, signed by Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, commander of the IDF in the Judea and Samaria region. The order forbids Palestinians from entering Israel via any route other than 11 special crossings that were allocated only to them – and they can only cross those on foot. Palestinians are not allowed to drive inside Israel. The order also prohibits Israelis from bringing Palestinians into Israel through passages designated for Israelis only.

At the Hizma junction, which is for Israelis only, the “seam administration of the Defense Ministry has not yet hung the signs that it already hung on the road leading from the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim to Jerusalem. The signs are hung alongside the road and at the military checkpoint, and say, in Hebrew and Arabic, “Passage is for Israelis only. Transporting and/or movement of people who are not Israelis is forbidden through this passage.”

The yellow signs explain who is an Israeli. The definition is in the major general’s order, and is the standard definition used in military orders declaring “a closed military area” to Palestinians, where only Israelis are allowed to enter. “An Israeli,” says the order and the sign, “is a resident of Israel, someone whose residency is in the region [meaning the occupied territory – A.H.] and is an Israeli citizen [a settler – A.H.] or one who is eligible to become an immigrant according to the Law of Return-1950 and someone who is not a resident of the region but has a valid entry permit to Israel [a tourist – A.H.]

A military source confirmed to Haaretz that a decision has been made to allow Palestinians who work for international organizations to travel, with their foreign co-workers, through two passages designated for Israelis only “instead of making them go to the ends of the earth” to passages designated for Palestinians only. The problem with the separate passages is not only that they are remote and distant, as the military source admits; the problem is not only the wasted time involved in reaching those passages, the revolving doors that suddenly are locked, the humiliating crowdedness, the alienating technological devices or that most of the “passages” effectively legitimize more land expropriation and annexation of Palestinian territory to Israel. The problem is that they are another building block in the policy of separate development for Jews and non-Jews, another expression of the mentality that cloaks itself in security but whose real purpose is to preserve the hegemonic privileges of Jews, at the expense of the Palestinians in the territories conquered from them.

This policy of separate development of two demographic groups in the same territorial region – the occupied West Bank, where the Israeli army is the sovereign – began with the first settlement. It continued and deepened as the settlements proliferated and grew into separate demographic-territorial pockets where Israeli law, which does not apply to the original inhabitants of the area, is in force.

The residents of those territorial pockets also won extra rights, which are denied to the native neighbors and the non-Jewish citizens of Israel. Like the right to choose where they want to live, on both sides of the Green Line. Protected by the superiority of the ruling military force, territorial borders were set and bureaucratic limits were placed that a priori limit the separate development of the native Palestinians: The area available to them is gradually shrinking, water quotas are dwindling in comparison with what is made available to Jews, freedom of movement is limited, and economic development is shackled and controlled.

With time, and with international accommodation and the increase in the number of Israelis who benefit from the system, the settlements are being transformed from “Israeli territorial pockets” to Jewish territorial contiguity, in which there are poor, rights deprived, over croweded and inferior “populated pockets” of the Palestinians.

A comparison between flourishing Pisgat Ze’ev on the lands of Hizma and Anata with Hizma and Anata, hemmed in and suffocating behind a horrendous cement wall, proves that the policy of separate development began long before the suicide bombings and the rise of Hamas.

AMIRA HASS writes for Ha’aretz. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza.


More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Qaddafi
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Winslow Myers
Christopher Brauchli
Wonder Woman at the UN
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
Lee Ballinger
Tupac: Holler If You Hear Him
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”
October 20, 2016
Eric Draitser
Syria and the Left: Time to Break the Silence
Jeffrey St. Clair
Extreme Unction: Illusions of Democracy in Vegas
Binoy Kampmark
Digital Information Warfare: WikiLeaks, Assange and the US Presidential Elections
Jonathan Cook
Israel’s Bogus History Lesson
Bruce Mastron
Killing the Messenger, Again
Anthony DiMaggio
Lesser Evil Voting and Prospects for a Progressive Third Party
Ramzy Baroud
The Many ‘Truths’ on Syria: How Our Rivalry Has Destroyed a Country
David Rosen
Was Bill Clinton the Most Sexist President?
Laura Carlsen
Plan Colombia, Permanent War and the No Vote
Aidan O'Brien
Mao: Monster or Model?