Israel and Palestine: Not So Separate, Deeply Unequal

by Sandy Tolan
July 7, 2015
There are reasons critics of the Israeli encroachments on the West Bank grab for words like “apartheid” and “Jim Crow.”
It was a scene reminiscent of one of the darkest chapters in American history: Dozens of locals were enjoying a swim in a community pool, their skin gleaming brown and olive in the sun, when suddenly white intruders arrived, accompanied by men with guns. The armed men ordered the local population out of the pool so that the white people could bathe in peace. Under threat of violence, the locals complied.  The uninvited visitors descended into the cool water, untouched and unbothered by the native population.

This might have been some long-forgotten incident from the Jim Crow American South, but it happened this spring, near the West Bank municipality of Yatta, when Israeli soldiers came to the village pool and ordered the Palestinian bathers out of the water. The April 2015 incident, documented by the respected Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, was all the more striking in that it occurred in “Area A,” the 18 percent of the West Bank that is supposedly sovereign Palestinian land. (Area C, under full Israeli military control, takes up 60 percent; Area B, joint Israel-Palestinian control, the remaining 22 percent.)

Just as important, the pool incident added another stark example of aggressive Israeli settlers’ increasingly brazen and domineering treatment of Palestinians under military occupation. It is such incidents as these that bring words like “apartheid” and “Jim Crow” into the debate about the future of Israel and the Palestinians.

Read the full article on The Daily Beast here.

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