Apparently, Israel is considering easing “security restrictions” in the West Bank. Every news site I go to, that’s the big headline. Most of the uninformed world is praising the government on this proposal. “Aw, you’re actually going to trust those Palestinians? I respect that. You’re such a great beacon of democracy in the Middle East.”
But I’m warning you right now: don’t be fooled.
I’ll admit. When I first came across these headlines, I figured that Netanyahu gave into growing international pressure and decided to remove certain checkpoints or ease travel restrictions so as to allow Palestinians some freedom of movement. I figured that the IDF might actually recognize the Palestinian passport as a legal document just as the United Nations does.
Was I happy? No, because these are fundamental human rights that should be afforded to Palestinians anyways. Israel wasn’t going above and beyond; they were simply beginning to comply with basic humanitarian law.
Was I wrong? Very. The only people to benefit from Israel’s profuse generosity were Israeli settlers and “Jewish Israeli civilians”. According to this proposal, Israeli citizens will be granted new rights to travel outside of Israeli territory and into Palestinian cities long forbidden to them by the government. Busloads of Israeli tourists will be able to spend a night out on the town while Palestinians abide to strict curfew laws.
So let me get this straight. Palestinians are still trapped in a maze of 570 checkpoints and roadblocks. Palestinians must still abide by strict (and very inconvenient) curfews. Palestinians are still not allowed to travel outside of certain towns or travel on certain streets (re: Route 443). On the other hand, Israelis would be free to travel into Palestinian towns whenever they wish. Settlers can soon leave their outposts and quite possibly expand their settlements. What can the public possibly find praiseworthy in this proposal?
Don’t be fooled by the headlines and don’t fall for Haaretz’s fancy language. The only restrictions Israel is “easing” are those that prevent Israelis from taking complete advantage of those under its occupation.