Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Blog

Yousef Munayyer has an interesting piece in The New York Times today about the structural inequalities faced by Palestinians in Israel, and the ways it affects everyday life for Palestinians on both sides of the Green line: “A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between [my wife and my] hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard.”

Munayyer lucidly points out the difficulties of being Palestinian in a state trying to maintain a democratic appearance without tarnishing its Jewish identity: “If we lived in the region, I would have to forgo my residency, since Israeli law prevents my [Palestinian] wife from living with me in Israel. This is to prevent what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once referred to as “demographic spillover.” Additional Palestinian babies in Israel are considered “demographic threats” by a state constantly battling to keep a Jewish majority.”

He also mentions the daily contradictions that emerge from such a situation: “Today, a Jew from any country can move to Israel, while a Palestinian refugee, with a valid claim to property in Israel, cannot. And although Palestinians make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, the 2012 budget allocates less than 7 percent for Palestinian citizens.”

His conclusion is a powerful one: “What exists today between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is therefore essentially one state, under Israeli control, where Palestinians have varying degrees of limited rights: 1.5 million are second-class citizens, and four million more are not citizens at all. If this is not apartheid, then whatever it is, it’s certainly not democracy.”

Read the full article here

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