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Sunday, 20 March 2016

‘israel controls – everything!’, life in Palestine under the Zionist jackboot

This and all the photos come from an Occupied Palestine special on West Bank checkpoints – as the defining feature of life for Palestinians. Unfortunately, there are few captions, no credits and no dates, but, apart from questions of authenticity, what they show is self-evident.
Many Israel supporters will claim that Palestinians have lives with rights and priviliges because of the Israeli government, while many Palestinian supporters have claims of human rights violations and less privileged lives for Palestinians because of Israeli occupation. Which views are more accurate? What is life actually like for Palestinians in the West Bank? Contributions uploaded between May 2013 and April 2015
5 Answers
Posted by
Undated, some time after April 2015
Nedal ZahranBorn as a Palestinian. Lives as one, but doesn’t think as one. Written December 6, 2014
Nedal is a Most Viewed Writer in West Bank (Middle East.
I am a Palestinian from the West Bank city of Ramallah. I can answer based on my experience, keeping in mind that I am probably one of the more privileged crowd.
The question, is a general one. There are so many aspects of life, but I will try to address those that are relevant to what I believe is the purpose of the question.
Social Life
I live a social life that is probably as good as any European country. My wife and I live in a nice flat, we have good jobs, we go out often to pubs and restaurants with friends or alone. We have one or two vacations a year during which we almost always go to Europe.
We are not rich. But our lifestyle is not the way most Palestinians live, we have significantly higher disposable that allows us to live this life style.
As in every country, there are people who are filthy rich, and those living in extreme poverty and those at different points between the two ends of the spectrum.
You can say the we are, generally, no different from the neighbouring countries like Jordan, but much better off than Egypt due to less skewed distribution of wealth.
One of the biggest problems that ALL Palestinians complain about is the lack of a clear future. Over the past 20 years, we have lived through periods of hope, violence, anticipation, concern…. We do not know what the future holds for us. Every single event that happens on the political side can flip all your plans. For example, in early 2000, people were hopeful about the peace process. People went on investing in businesses, then the Intifada came. Palestine’s GDP shrunk to a third of its 1999 levels by 2002. Then the Intifada ended, there was hope again. Hamas won the elections, and the entire world stopped supporting the PA. For two years public sector salaries were disrupted, meaning that over 25% of the employed population did not have a steady income. The Economy plunged again.
Fayyad’s Government came after the coup in Gaza. People had hopes and were anticipating. They became more cautious about investing. The economy grew a little, in 2011 the per capita GDP was 1.6% higher than it was 12 years earlier in 1999. In 2010, it was lower!
We don’t know what will happen tomorrow. We cannot plan for anything. It really is demotivating to live here because of that!
Not only that the economy is unstable, but the level of Israeli control over the economy is just ridiculous. Israel, for example, does not allow telecom operators to provide 3G services. To this day we only have 2G!
A friend of mine tried to establish a farm. for 17 months he was running back and forth trying to get approvals from the military.
You cannot do anything without receiving a slap on the face from the control Israeli’s have on Palestinians’ everyday life. Israel can, and at various occasions has, cut off electricity, fuel and water of the Palestinians in the West Bank!
The Palestinian Authority is not the most democratic government. It is a slow moving oligarchy that is corrupt and often oppressive of freedoms. This however, is very little to what we face from Israel.
The entire Palestinian economy is captive to the Israeli military. We are subject to Israeli military law. Israel controls what and who is allowed in or out of the country. It controls who you can marry. Everything! so, being jailed for criticising the government, is little compared to having every aspect of your life controlled by a foreign military.
To give a couple of examples. We have a house in our village which is classified as “Area C”, When we requested a waterline to be connected to the house, they could only instal the line until the end of “Area B”, the remaining 5 metres require an approval of the military commander of the area, which is almost impossible to receive on any “construction” project!
For me to visit my wife’s family in Jerusalem, I need a permit from the Israeli Military.
You can lead a good living standards in the West Bank. But you will always be living day to day, no matter how rich or poor you are. I, like almost everyone else, feel suffocated by the level of control Israel has on us and the extent to which they exercise this control, ultimately affecting every aspect of our lives.
Ygal Kaplan
Written December 6, 2014
I think you’re confusing two separate populations here. Israel supporters, as you put it, are referring to Arabs living in Israel, not to Palestinians of the west bank, when they’re talking about the rights given to them by Israel and its government. There’s a huge difference between the two, the Palestinians living in the west bank are not Israeli citizens and therefore enjoy none of the freedoms Israeli Arabs do, everyone in Israel understands the situation in the west bank is “less privileged” as you put it, they simply believe that the responsibility to that is not on Israel or not entirely on Israel.
While there are several measures in which Palestinians have benefitted from being under Israeli occupation, no one in their right mind would claim that “Palestinians have lives with rights and privileges because of the Israeli government”, at least – I never heard anyone making such a claim, not even the most right wing person in Israel.
The day to day lives (not counting rights and freedom) of people in the west bank is far better than what Palestinians living there tell the world and far worse than many Israelis admit, as long as those territories stay under Israeli control, the responsibility will remain Israeli, that is one of the main reasons the gross majority of Israelis would like nothing more than to break the ties and grant the Palestinian people its own country, contrary to what Palestinians and their supporters would tell you.
I have quite a few friends in the west bank, some are simple villagers, but I admit that most of the people I know there are above average, socio-economically speaking, but as far as I can tell, the day to day lives are quite similar to just about anywhere else, unless you need anything from the Israeli side, which is sometimes surprisingly good but a lot of times a very frustrating experience, do bear in mind that a lot of the things people need isn’t operated by the Israeli government/military, but the PA

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