Forward, Jan 7, 2018

Hebron in particular and Palestine in general are divided between those who have rights — namely settlers — and those who don’t — Palestinians like me.

Today, settlers can drive cars on Shuhada Street and carry weapons. But I am barely allowed to enter. When I do, I am compelled to pass through checkpoints stationed at each end of the street. Once inside, I submit my ID card and the special number I have been assigned as a resident of my neighborhood, Tel Rumeida. Sometimes it takes hours to get through the checkpoint, only to be denied entry.

[...] But the most brutal form of Israel’s apartheid in the West Bank is its two separate sets of legal systems [....]

Unlike settlers living illegally on Palestinian land, Ahed and I, like all Palestinians, are subject to military rather than civilian law [....] Yifat, like Ahed, once slapped a soldier in Hebron who tried to stop her from her from throwing stones. Unlike Ahed who sits now in military jail, Alkobi was simply taken to the police station for questioning and released the same evening on bail.

Yifat, like the numerous settlers who have assaulted me, has never served any jail time for her offenses. On one rare occasion, when my nose was broken by a settler who attacked me in Hebron, the Israeli courts found him guilty thanks to footage of the assault. But the proceedings took four years in civilian court, and ultimately, the only punishment imposed on him was a one month restraining order from Hebron.

Conversely, if I had broken his nose, I would have received three to seven years in jail. That is, if I hadn’t been shot first.