19 April 2012
An Israeli-run Dead Sea beach resort in the occupied West Bank attempted turned away a number of families on Friday, 13 April, apparently just because they were Palestinian.
This blatant act of racist discrimination at “Kalia Beach” (map) was personally witnessed and caught on video by Hazel Cameron, a Lecturer of International Relations at Scotland’s University of St Andrews.
Cameron was traveling with a group of students and threatened to withdraw them from the beach resort unless all visitors were allowed in regardless of their ethnicity.
The Arab guard enforcing the exclusion of Palestinians even described himself on camera as “just a slave acting under orders.”
Cameron provided the video and her account of what she saw to The Electronic Intifada.
Arabs stopped, while Jews, Europeans and dogs allowed in
Cameron’s account of what she witnessed:
The Kalia Beach Dead Sea resort is a popular destination for Israelis and tourists alike. The resort is however owned by Kibbutz Kalia, an illegal Israeli settlement on the north shore of the Dead Sea and the beach itself is located within the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) of the West Bank.
Websites advertising tourism in the area fail to make this clear. One reviewer on Trip Advisor suggests that a visit to the Kalia Beach is “an unusual and fun experience.” However on visiting the resort a few days ago, I noted that the racist policies of the management were neither unusual nor fun for the Palestinian families attempting to enjoy the beaches of their homeland.
Soon after our arrival it became apparent that whilst Israeli Jews (and their pet dogs), Europeans, and Westerners could enter the resort unhindered, Palestinians were being stopped immediately upon leaving the car parking area and were being turned away. When the “guard” was challenged by my Israeli Jewish colleague and me, he informed us he was acting under the instructions of the Kalia Beach management.
When questioned in an office within the resort by my Israeli colleague, the management claimed that their policies were dictated by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and ultimately the State of Israel. Three armed IDF [soldiers] arrived at the resort within minutes of us voicing our concerns.
Almost thirty minutes later and after threats of police arrest being made to my colleague, the Arab families were allowed to make their way towards the entry gate of the resort, only to be told shortly thereafter that the resort was now full and they would have to leave. Israeli Jewish families did however continue to be admitted. One full hour after our intervention, the management relented and permitted access to an Arab family. These events were captured on video.
“I am just a slave acting under orders”
The video taken by Cameron supports her account. At the beginning of the video, we can see a family including men and women and several children carrying beach toys being stopped at the entrance. The family are visibly identifiable as Arabs as two of the women are wearing headscarves.
At about 43 seconds the guard, speaking Arabic, can be heard saying to the father of the family, “This is harder for me than it is for you.”
As the father continues to argue to be allowed in, he tells the guard that the people at the ticket booth know him as the family has come before. The guard insists he cannot allow the family in saying, “Please don’t embarrass me, I am just a slave acting under orders.”
The father insists that the family has visited the resort several times previously, and the guard says, “I feel for you, I swear, I swear.”
Cameron then informs the family that she and her group will pull out of the resort if they are not allowed in.
At 3:30 armed occupation soldiers can be seen walking into the resort and clustering around the entrance.
At 5:30 a man speaking in Arabic speaking off camera can be heard saying that whenever there is an Israeli holiday, they don’t let Arabs in.
At 6:50 three men, apparently Palestinians, can be seen standing by the entrance, also apparently unable to proceed into the resort.
At 8:00 the guard can be seen explaning to another two Arab men that they are not allowed in. Although the sound quality is poor, the guard appears to tell them “I am telling you that in general Palestinians [unclear]” And once again, “this is harder for me than it is for you.” But the two men are allowed to proceed, presumably to the ticket window.
Refusing to ignore discrimination
In her account to The Electronic Intifada, Cameron pointed out that, “the question of Israeli racism is not new,” citing the wealth of accumulated evidence of systematic and instutionalized racism.
“There are options open to the international community and international organizations to address the criminal behaviour of the State of Israel however they choose to remain willing bystanders to the oppression of the people of Palestine,” Cameron added.
Cameron, however, chose not to remain a willing bystander. In threatening to withdraw her students from a resort practicing open and crude racism, she was clearly also acting in accordance with the letter and spirit of her own university’s Equality and Diversity Inclusion Policy, which commits the institution and its staff to “to respect and fair treatment for everyone, eliminating discrimination and actively promoting equality of opportunity and delivering fairness to all.”
Cameron was also heeding the policy’s injunction that, “Individuals must ensure they do not support unfair behaviour by ignoring what is happening around them and must not incite or collude with unfair or unlawful discrimination.”
Cameron cleary took this policy seriously, setting an example we can only hope many others would follow.
Oh you will refuse to go to an illegal business because they are
Permalink Chris Whitman replied on
denying Palestinians, how noble of you!
Great move from Cameron for
Permalink Nihal replied on
Great move from Cameron for being so vocal but I'm wondering what someone who opposes racism and illegal settlements was doing at the Kalia Beach resort, when there are plenty of other options. Isn't buying tickets to visit such a place sending an ambiguous message to her students?
It is important for as many
Permalink Artemis replied on
It is important for as many people as possible to witness for themselves how the Palestinians are treated, discriminated against and how Israeli racism increases daily. For all those who wish to be sarcastic about the decency of the Scottish group, just remember how racism and fascim spread through Europe in the 30s, through indifference, ignorance, lack of civil courage, inherent racism and certainly fear and propaganda.
I think the appropriate question is, how come an illegal Israeli settlement owns such a resort in illegally occupied territory?
What i find insulting is how
Permalink Karmel replied on
What i find insulting is how people only find it wrong when the foreign zionists deny Palestinians access to our own land and sea in the occupied westbank but find it normal when the zionist occupation deny us access to other parts of Palestine. The westbank is only 20 % of occupied Palestine.
Permalink Eric replied on
In an ideal world the Palestinians SHOULD have been allowed to enter immediatly, period. However, by many standards, this is a still a warzone, where the rules differ from the ideal world (?) we westerners live in. Since the "intermezzo" was obviously filmed with a HIDDEN CAMERA, I see more of an attempt to create a "scoop" than an example of racism. Besides, since Jews and Palestinians belong to the SAME race, "racism" can hardly be the right label for what we see in this video.
Masuring by the same standards, I wonder how a Jewish family would be recieved if they ventured to spend their holyday at a Palestinian facility at the shores of Gaza...
Permalink redux replied on
What a great idea Mr. Eric - perhaps if 'they' allowed Israelis onto the beach in Gaza, the IDF might stop shelling it and taking out entire families....
Come to think of it Israelis did spend some time on the beaches of Gaza but elected to create Jewish-only settlements...
Funny how they always end up doing that.... its not too cunning this settler-colonial thing, nor - unfortunately for your sake - are the tired justifications it mobilizes.
Thanks Eric for identifying the real victims here
Permalink Laura replied on
Those poor Israeli Jews who can't visit Gaza's beaches. Why does nobody think of them??
Permalink Eric replied on
Sorry Laura, but cynically twisting the essens of my post proves that you are not perceptable for arguments. Throwing unfunded accusations of RACISM at the Israelies will NOT facilitate the cause of the Palestinians. Nor will naïve revolutionary rhethoric – the world is fedd upp with that stuff by now.
Yes, Israeli occupation of the Westbank MUST end - in a peacefull agreement.
Yes, Israeli occupiers often treat Palestinians badly, but not ALL Palestinians are “innocent”.
No, treating Palestinians badly – as in this video - does NOT equal to “racism”.
Yes, the Palestinian people suffer most, but “Those poor Israeli Jews” suffer TOO.
Permalink Eli replied on
Its funny how Zionists attack all those who criticize them with words like "Anti Semite" This is Anti Semitism... The Palestinians are more semite than most of the Israeli settlers. I'm a jew and I know what I'm talking about.
So they refer to the palestinians and Lebanese as arabs just to make the world think that these people are of a different race and creed...But the fact is that they are semites...more semites than all the Israelis put together. "Arabs are the people who live in the Gulf countries." Enough Racism...Zionism has to end so that Jews Christians Muslims and Atheists could coexist in peace.
Permalink Joe Green replied on
The Red Dead Project could save the Dead Sea, but it also may be a project that will set the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.
For a number of years, Middle East politicos, governmental leaders, and engineers have been talking about the Red Dead Project and how it could be the answer to the ever increasing problem at the Dead Sea and its loss of water. In search of a solution for this problem, Israeli President Shimon Peres presented the Red Dead Project to a regional gathering of political leaders, governmental officials and bankers.
This momentous project would take years and cost billions of dollars, but would also ultimately pay for itself in the long run. There are those who say this type of project could produce great wealth like the silver and gold that could be extracted from the Dead Sea, enough money to pay the national debts of almost every nation in the world.
In the book of Ezekiel 38:13, the prophet mentions the gold and silver that will attract Israel's enemies to come to destroy the Jewish state. Later in Ezekiel 47, he mentions how water from the Temple in Jerusalem will actually flow down to the Dead Sea and make it a freshwater lake, not 10 times saltier than the ocean as it is today.