Posted by: Lister | June 19, 2008

Dead Sea Apartheid

Donald Macintyre writes in the Independent:

The Association of Civil Rights (Acri) in Israel is challenging what it says is the frequently imposed ban by the military on Palestinians seeking to swim or relax at beaches in the northern Dead Sea.

[…] The petition says that the Israeli military is using the Beit Ha’arava checkpoint on Route 90 – the only open access route in the occupied West Bank for travel to the Dead Sea – to turn back Palestinians, mainly but not exclusively on weekends and Jewish holidays.

Acri says that the ban is to appease Israeli settlers operating concessions along the Dead Sea’s northern shore. They fear losing Jewish customers if there are large numbers of Arabs using the beaches in territory seized by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

[…] In the petition a senior Acri lawyer, Limor Yehuda, says: “We are dealing here with travel bans and entry prohibitions to public places in occupied territory which are tainted with discrimination and characteristic of colonial regimes. We have here prohibitions preventing the protected population of the occupied territory from using its own resources, while the very same resources are put at the disposal and enjoyment of the citizens of the occupying power.”

An Israeli reservist, Doron Karbel, testified that the ban was to protect the business interests of settlers.

[…] From Ein Gedi southwards, the beaches on the Dead Sea’s western side are in sovereign Israeli territory. But the popular beaches of the northern Dead Sea are Israeli-run and visitors could easily – but erroneously – imagine they are also in Israel rather than in occupied territory. In April this year, the British Advertising Standards Authority required the Israel Ministry of Tourism to alter the wording of an advertisement suggesting that Qumran, close to the northern shore, and the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was in Israel.

[…] Israel has also been criticised for segregating roads used by Israeli motorists in the West Bank for stated reasons of security. Israeli officials reject claims that this is racial discrimination, partly because Arabs with Israeli citizenship are permitted to use the roads. They also frequent the Dead Sea beaches.

(Via JSF).

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