Infographic by Michal Vexler: “Divide and Conquer. The Palestinian people may share one national identity, but they are divided by Israel into several different citizenship categories, each one with a different set of rights and restrictions:

  • Israel: Palestinians living within the ‘48 borders. Full Israeli citizenship. Vote for parliament, freedom of movement, equal rights under law, de-facto discrimination. Population: 1,413,500.
  • East Jerusalem: Palestinians living in Jerusalem neighborhoods conquered in 1967. Israeli residency, no citizenship. De-facto discrimination, freedom of movement, no right to repatriate after leaving Israel. 208,000.
  • West Bank: Palestinians living in area conquered in 1967. No citizenship, subject to martial law. Restricted freedom of movement. Discrimination by law. 2,361,000.
  • Gaza Strip: Palestinians living in Gaza Strip. No citizenship, under siege, separated from other Palestinians. 1,562,000
  • Refugees: Palestinians who were exiled in 1948 and their descendants, living mostly in Jordan, others in Lebanon and Syria - 436,000. Registered as refugees with UNRWA, and have no citizenship - 487,000. 1,980,000 [total].

Spatial Separation:

  • Refugees: Some people in this category were born in Palestine, but their return to their land, even for a visit, is rigorously denied.
  • Palestinians with Israeli citizenship/residency: Like their Jewish counterparts, they enjoy freedom of movement in the entire area controlled by Israel apart from the Gaza Strip, from which they are banned, even if they are journalists. In addition, they are prohibited by law from visiting enemy states, namely - the vast majority of the Middle East.
  • Palestinians in the West Bank: Their freedom of movement is restricted even inside the West Bank: access to settlement areas, the Jordan Valley and vast areas in Area C (making up 60% of the West Bank) is scrutinized and subject to a complex permit system. The only way they can go abroad is by driving to Jordan through Israeli-controlled border crossings.
  • Residents of Gaza: The Gaza Strip is under siege. Palestinians living in this area are completely prevented from leaving it - including into the West Bank, Egypt (due to agreements between Egypt and Israel), and the Mediterranean Sea, beyond a 5.5-km-wide fishing strip.” 

This is a Palestinian youth at Nablus in the West Bank, an epicenter of the current Israeli violence under the guise of a manhunt for the gunman who fatally shot two settlers.

A central feature of the Israeli narrative justifying apartheid & colonialism is vilifying Palestinian young people as terrorists & that has prevailed for decades. On the contrary, they are the front lines of one of the most important & historic freedom struggles in the world today. Their victory against the arrayed forces of tyranny would be monumental. And so their defeat.

Small consolation though to young people whose lives are wrenched from them by colonial repression & violence. When they should be courting, studying, exploring the world, goofing off with their friends, they are instead called to fight for their existence & to stand unarmed against one of the mightiest military forces in the world. They are assaulted by thugs; incarcerated & tortured in the Israeli gulag for their defiance; face jail sentences for using one of the only weapons they have–stones; forced to navigate through life military checkpoint to checkpoint. Many have sustained serious injuries, others have died.

We should take a moment to honor them–but of course that would be hollow if we did not actively engage to support them through rallies & building BDS. Their struggle against Israel, backed by the US, is so daunting but with their intransigent spirit & international solidarity it can be won.

Long live Intifada! Build the economic, cultural, & academic boycott of Israel!

(Photo by Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/getty Images)