No wall of respect in occupied Palestine

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There are roads on which Palestinians cannot ever drive. That is, they are forbidden from driving unless they have special permission. We discovered this first-hand as a result of the experiences of our Palestinian guide who needed a particular form in order to permit her to travel with us on specific highways. But even with this form, she had to exit our van at checkpoints and walk through, while our delegation was permitted to remain in our van during and after inspection.

In the mainstream media we have frequently heard or read about Palestinian terrorism or military actions. Yet, in our, albeit brief experience, we felt no unease or fear arising from our interactions with the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said regarding our interactions with the Israeli authorities. The young Israeli military men and women, frequently carrying automatic weapons, were quite full of themselves and felt no need to be polite to our delegation, let alone to the Palestinians. The Palestinians were treated with the sort of contempt one would expect to be experienced by a prison population.

Blink once, and you saw apartheid South Africa; blink twice, and you saw the Jim Crow South; blink three times and you realized that you were not in the past, but in a very dangerous reality where an entire population is facing the prospect of perpetual marginalization and dispossession.

(Bill Fletcher Jr. is racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer. He is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the author of “They’re Bankrupting Us”—And Twenty Other Myths about Unions. Follow him on Facebook and at http://www.billfletcherjr.com.)

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