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A Palestinian village under apartheid — see for yourself

on 15 Comments

It’s the last day of the year and I have wanted to publish this video for over a month. If anyone questions whether there is apartheid on the West Bank, well, look at this video. “Apartheid on steroids,” as the Nation put it.

The man in the video is Abu Ibrahim ‘Attalah, 52, a father of seven who lives in the small Palestinian village of Beit Iskariya in the occupied West Bank southwest of Bethlehem.

Beit Iskariya is surrounded by Israeli settlements. Indeed, the most crushing part of the video occurs at about 3:50 when I ask him to name the settlements that surround him, and he moves around the compass, beginning on the north, naming nine or ten Jewish settlements by their Hebrew names. And he describes the efforts to choke his village so that the people leave: this is the ethnic cleansing that has been going on in Area C for many years now.

At the beginning of the video, you will see him comparing the little school in Beit Iskariya, which is under a demolition order, to the fancy school in the settlement center across the way, which serves all the Jewish settlers of Gush Etzion bloc. He points out a college there, and a swimming pool, which the Palestinian villagers can’t go to. The translator is Fadi Kattan.

And at about 1:40 of the video, he talks about his one meeting with Tony Blair three years ago, when Tony Blair promised to make a solution for Beit Iskariya, and — 2:40– nothing happened. At 3:20, he describes the lack of media attention for the village.

In the shorter video below, I pressed Abu Ibrahim to understand the segregation of the children of Beit Iskariya and the children of the settlements. Could his children go to the school across the way? My question is so idiotic to him, he cannot answer at first. Equality? Wait for his explanations at the end of the video.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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15 Responses

  1. Hostage on December 31, 2012, 11:27 am

    he talks about his one meeting with Tony Blair three years ago

    Blair’s services are no longer necessary. The UN Charter prohibits members from engaging in threats or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.

    The UN never suggested that the occupation of Lebanon or any other state could only be brought to and end through negotiations – and it can no longer permit any UN organ, or the Secretary General participating as a member of the so-called Quartet, to treat Palestine as a non-state actor.

    • talknic on December 31, 2012, 11:50 am

      Furthermore: in negotiations the Palestinians have absolutely no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights and; until ‘final’ borders are negotiated, they are not ‘the’ borders.

  2. Mayhem on December 31, 2012, 4:56 pm

    Waterproof interviewing technique – put words into the mouth of the interviewee.

    • philweiss on December 31, 2012, 5:11 pm

      Good catch Mayhem, I was upset, and led the interviewee. And did you hear his response? He went further than I did.
      In fact, choke had been his term to me, earlier, in the house… Phil

  3. ritzl on December 31, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Hey Phil, Backdrop the interviewee with the thing being discussed. It eliminates the constant panning. :)

    Great interview. Thanks.

    It’s worse than Apartheid. Absolute and total separation, except of course for those winked-at holes in the “security”/hafrada wall.

  4. clubroma on January 1, 2013, 12:35 am

    How much does Tony Blair get paid for being the UN middle-east ambassador ? And what has he actually achieved in his time as the ambassador?

  5. OlegR on January 1, 2013, 11:18 am

    Hmm and if Bennet’s annexation plan indeed comes to life
    Abu Ibrahim will get an Israeli citizenship , i think he will be quite happy with it.

      • OlegR on January 1, 2013, 4:58 pm

        A citizen is a citizen.

      • annie on January 1, 2013, 7:26 pm

        not all citizens are equal under israeli law oleg.

      • OlegR on January 1, 2013, 8:02 pm

        You are wrong Annie.

      • ritzl on January 1, 2013, 8:34 pm

        @Oleg Should he get citizenship, can he then enroll his kids and grandkids at the school in question? IOW, accept that the current school will be demolished as fact and immediately enroll in the settler school?

        Or will there be a 20 year lag in that process? Or will his kids simply be SOL as Israel, yet again, determines/manipulates their fate (i.e. makes life so unbearable that they move out of A/C into the A/A ghettos)?

        “A citizen is a citizen” is nonsense, writ large, in perpetuity, and with considerable history.

        Even though it will never happen, I think that all the Palestinians annexed and given citizenship in Israel (in your “citizenship” scenario) should migrate to Jerusalem and focus their municipal vote against home demolitions there, and/or the restoration of Palestinian property rights in WJ.

      • Talkback on January 2, 2013, 9:32 am

        Really, Oleg? What about family reunification or the right of return? Same for Jews and Arabs?

      • OlegR on January 3, 2013, 6:58 am

        Same for citizens.
        Right of return does not apply to citizens.

    • iResistDe4iAm on January 1, 2013, 9:59 pm

      Regardless of whether Abu Ibrahim ‘Attalah is given Israeli ‘citizenship’ or not, more of his land will be stolen to build/expand Jewish-only settlements that he and his family can never ever set foot in.

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