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From the field

Under the guise of the permit system: Israel separates women living in Gaza from their families in the West Bank. This is their story:

Israel implements an apartheid regime between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea that advances and perpetuates the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians. A key means of promoting this goal is dividing the area, for Palestinians only, into separate units. In each territorial unit, Israel accords Palestinians different rights, while for Jews the area is a single, contiguous space.

The restrictions on the movement of Palestinians between the various units – the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – were first imposed in the 1990s and tightened with the onset of the second intifada in September 2000. Israel has held Gaza under blockade since 2007, effectively imprisoning the entire population except for rare cases it defines “humanitarian.” Passage between the units requires a permit, which Israel views as an act of charity bestowed upon Palestinians rather than an inalienable right.  

These restrictions prevent thousands of families in which one spouse is a resident of Gaza and the other a resident of the West Bank from maintaining a routine family life. Jewish supremacy is perpetuated via this cruel bureaucracy of family separation, which presents the families with an impossible choice: live together in Gaza while cut off from the rest of the family in the West Bank, or live apart. Raising a family, living together with one’s spouse and children and maintaining contact with close relatives are the most elementary and fundamental human connections, but they become unattainable for Palestinians.

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