The word “apartheid” is slowly seeping more and more into mainstream discourse on the occupation. Yet I recently came across two cases in which, how to say, the usage of the word was a bit surprising.
The first came in the official Yesha Council newsletter, which posted an item on the Palestinian-only buses recently “inaugurated” for Palestinian workers who enter Israel on a daily basis. You can read more about these bus lines here.
Besides pointing to Chaim Levinson’s (Haaretz) piece claiming Palestinians are happy with the new arrangement, the Yesha Council – who went with the headline “Apartheid, nice to meet you” – goes even further:
And what about the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria? Those, thanks for asking, can only travel in 60% of the area. Furthermore, Israeli citizens with a blue ID card can enter the cities of Nablus and Jenin, for example, only if they are… Arab. According to army regulations, entrance to those areas is forbidden to an Israeli of Jewish nationality, who may face punishment for doing so. Racial discrimination, anyone?
Another attempt to spin things around was seen on Facebook, where a settler named Chani Luz, who works for a right-wing NGO called Tadmeet (aimed at calling out left-wing tendencies in Israeli media) said the following in response to the signs across the territories warning Israelis from entering Area A:
The Jews are the ones who are discriminated against on the roads of Judea and Samaria!
Freedom of movement is not available to Jews.
A Jew who wants to travel from Ofra to the Meggido junction, for example, can not chose the natural geographical route: north on Route 60 to Nablus and from there to Jenin, as he could have 20 years ago. A Jew must chose to circumvent Samaria through the Jordan Valley, or by Highway 6, a route which adds dozens of kilometers and and least one hour more of driving.