Crossing over to the “Other Side”

Ok so three days ago a friend of mine took me to Israel and we spent the day in Tel-Aviv and Jaffa. Being in Israel is literally like being in a European country. I was shocked at how modern and well developed the country is. The public transport system is like something you would see in Paris, the roads are clean and well kept, they have international retailers like Zara, H&M and Massimo Dutti, people are living happily, tourists are everywhere.

You know the blue public Barclays bikes we can rent in London? They have the equivalent in Israel!

Bicycles in israel
[Public bike rental service, Tel Aviv]

They really have done very well for themselves. To be honest, had I not been into the Palestinian areas, there is no way I would have any idea at all what goes on across the checkpoints.

The images below were taken of the boardwalk in Tel Aviv. Notice how these pictures could have been taken in a European country?

Israel boardwalk

492438-tel-aviv

When I walked by the pier in Tel Aviv, you know what surprised me most?

The number of children I saw running around in their swimsuits, riding bicycles, eating ice-cream, playing with balloons, chasing one another. Why did I find that so shocking? I mean it’s pretty normal, right?

Because I do not remember the last time I saw this.

I cannot remember the last time I saw happy children. I have been in Palestine for almost a month now and I cannot remember the last time I saw carefree children, just living and running around happily. That’s the childhood most of us had and the childhood that has been denied to the Palestinians here.

Have a look at the image below I took in Ramallah, the morning before I went to Tel-Aviv.

IMG_3348

Do you notice the two young boys sitting on the street? They are 8 and 9 years old. Look at the run-down houses and the rubbish on the streets. Most of the children I see on a regular basis look aged and worn out.

I never realized how bad it was until I went to Israel and then came back into Palestine. It was a huge reality check for me. These Palestinian children grow up deprived from seeing the sea and playing on the beach, they grow up discriminated against and do not have the same opportunities as the children in Israel.

They have been deprived of a childhood.

Do you have any idea how hard it is for Palestinians holding West Bank ID to get permits from Israel to go to any of the cities by the sea?

This is a crime against humanity.

Israel discriminates against anyone who is not Jewish. I could not believe it when I saw Korean Jews living in Tel-Aviv. Do you know the government sponsors them to live in Israel? Do you know they have more of a right to live on the land than the Palestinians who were driven out of their own country in 1948?

How do they have more of a right to be here? Please explain to me how this is fair in any way.

I don’t feel passionately about Palestine because I am Palestinian. Heck I have never even lived in the bloody country, I can barely say two words in Arabic, I look English, I sound English, my friends are English.

This is about a peoples’ right to live free from racism, discrimination and oppression. This is about fighting against human rights abuses and this is about what is right and wrong.

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