Ben Sharpton

An Israeli's short cut, a Palestinian's occupation

Today, on my way to Jordan and my flight home, I did something no Palestinian from the West Bank can do. I woke up in Ramallah (in the West Bank), went to Jerusalem (already impossible!), got on a bus and rode eastward and then northward THROUGH the West Bank’s Jordan river valley and into northern Israel without having to stop at any checkpoint or show my ID to anyone. How did I do this amazing thing? Answer: I was travelling as an “Israeli.” While Palestinians were suffering out of sight on backroads and at checkpoints, I enjoyed comfort, efficiency, and arguably, relative safety. 

A European-American, not a Palestinian-American, can visit Palestine

As I entered Palestine recently, I saw for myself how Palestinians with American, British, and even Brazilian passports are being turned away from the West Bank and back into Jordan by the Israelis. These are Palestinians with family in the West Bank, or even who themselves were born here, and they are not being allowed a simple visit with their loved ones. And don’t forget the parentheses: under Israel’s “law of return,” any Jewish person from anywhere, with no connection whatsoever to the land aside from ancient and biblical claims, can “make aliya” and start the process of becoming an Israeli citizen simply by showing up at one of these border crossings or the airport.