A friend and neighbour of mine, B, recently got accepted to get her masters in engineering in Bir Zeit University in Ramallah. She is around 30 years old. After numerous attempts, B had to withdraw her standing (after paying one semester’s tuition) because Israel kept denying her permit based on … you guessed it…”security reasons”.
B has also not seen her sister who lives in Ramallah for 5 years now because of the travel ban. The most they can do is exchange photos through her personal family blog and talk on the phone-even thouh they are only one hour apart, the moon may as well be closer! This is the case for almost all Gazans.
B. She came with her family during the “Oslo Days” with many other Palestinains who lived outside, in her case, from Syria. After years and years of exile, they were able to obtain permits and eventually ID cards (issued by Israel) in a deal that allowed many Palestinians to return to Gaza. Now, says B, she went from being in one prison on the outside, unable to live in her homeland, to another internal prison, unable to move, study, or visit her family.
B also had to drop all her dreams in one fell swoop of her continuing education there because of Israel’s…”uber-wardens”.
“The soldier at the checkpoint or behind the Civil Administration counter…the Israeli uber-wardens… is the last, least important, link in the thicket of restrictions and limitations…implanting the jailor mentality in thousands of Israeli young people, soldiers, clerks and policemen – an intoxicating mentality of those who treat those weaker than they with impunity,” explains Amira Hass, in another gripping article where she describes every so eloquently the matrix of Israeli control over Palestinians.
“a thicket of physical, corporeal barriers of all types and sizes (checkpoints, roadblocks, blockades, fences, walls, steel gates, roads prohibited to traffic, dirt embankments, concrete cubes) and by way of a frequently updated assortment of bans and limitations.”
Periodic bans supplement permanent wants, and in the end, none of it is “news”, Hass says, because the asphyxiation of Palestinians, the rupture of everyday Palestinian life has become so routine.
Gazans, such as myself and millions of others, cannot enter the West Bank. Palestinians, including residents of Jericho, are not permitted to be in the Jordan Valley. Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem cannot enter West Bank cities (except for Ramallah). Citizens of Arab states, like my husband, (not jus refugees, and any state really, since Israel controls family-reunification permits) married to Palestinians are prohibited from entering the West Bank and Gaza.
In Gaza’s case, the West Bank is a mere 70 kilometres away. But hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have family in the West BAnk have been unable to visit them in YEARS, and many many others who have been accepted to study in universities there cannot, because, to quote a recent (January) Israeli high-court ruling, made in response to the appeal of 10 Gaza students to study Occupational Therapy (there is only once licensed Occupational Therapist in all of Gaza, and 25, 000 injured people) in Bethlehem, “West Bank Universities are breeding grounds for terrorism”…and “Gaza is a foreign entity for which the state of Israel is no longer responsible”
…control without responsiblity, the true formula of disengagement, the recipe for ultimate disaster.
Occupation? What occupation?