Palestine: Ten Insanities of the Israeli Occupation

by Paulette Schroeder

"That’s insane!" I often insist as Palestinian friends tell me about one more restriction in their daily lives.  Here are just ten of these many insanities:

• In Bethlehem, workers arrive at the Gilo checkpoint several hours early in order to get to their work in East Jerusalem, just on the other side of the checkpoint, on time.
• People crossing through the heavily-militarized Gilo checkpoint into Bethlehem read the sign, “Peace be with you.” 
• A fifteen-year-old neighbor boy accused of throwing a stone is now in prison, and will carry that record his whole life. 
• On the first day of school this year, soldiers detained twelve teachers from a boys’ school in al-Khalil for one hour. 
• An elderly blind Palestinian man must grope his way through the turnstile and beeper at the Ibrahimi mosque checkpoint.  When he finally gets through, he must search with his hands to find all of the belongings soldiers forced him to take out of his pockets.  A disabled man struggles to navigate both himself and his wheelchair through the same checkpoint’s turnstiles. 
• The U.S. government allocates $11 million a day to Israel to support its occupation of the Palestinians, and at the same time insists that Israel stop building settlements. 
• A twenty-five-foot “security wall” stretches more than 200 miles through Palestine, topped with rolls of razor wire manufactured in the USA.  Israel destroyed hundreds of centuries-old olive trees to build this wall.
• Soldiers force young Palestinian men against the wall, searching them roughly as a part of their practice drills.
• CPT’s neighbor must enter her house, carrying groceries, by climbing up a ladder over the roof entrance and then climbing down into her home.  She is one of many Palestinians who are not able to use their front doors because they face a street that Palestinians are forbidden to walk on.  USAID paid to renovate the street in 1997 on the condition that it would always remain open to both Israelis and Palestinians.
• Israel accuses Palestinians, who have lived on their land for generations, of stealing water – originating in West Bank aquifers – from settlements built in the 1980s.