Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Chicago simulated an Israeli checkpoint as part of its Nakba Commemoration Week to highlight the discrimination and de-facto apartheid perpetuated by the military checkpoints and road blocks on the border of and within the Palestinian West Bank territory. The simulation featured two Israeli soldiers, almost a dozen Palestinians, a medic, and a journalist (me!) fitted with a “Press” badge.
After receiving authorization from campus administrators, the group staged the mock checkpoint in a densely-traveled thoroughfare leading to the Main Quads for two hours during passing periods. The simulation showed medics prevented from reaching hospitals on the other side, pregnant mothers denied medical attention, Palestinian students kept from reaching their schools, arbitrary rejection of Palestinian passports or identity papers, verbal and physical harassment, as well as the enforcement of humiliating acts by the two Israeli soldiers. Every aspect of the checkpoint was based on incidents and abuses documented by various human rights groups.
According to the university’s newspaper, The Maroon, the simulation was “designed to shock”. Here are a few snapshots of the mock checkpoint. Click here to see more on Flickr.