Saturday, August 1, 2009

Separate but Not Equal

For the past few days, the Sabeel International Young Adult Conference participants have been touring around northern Israel visiting Acre, Nazareth, Tiberius, and more.

The Palestinians that the participants met in these areas have a different relationship with the state of Israel from Palestinians living in the West Bank because they have Israeli citizenship. The Palestinian citizens of Israel face different challenges. They do not have the same rights as Jewish citizens.

It is almost impossible for a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship to rent or buy property in Jewish towns and neighborhoods in Israel. Furthermore, Palestinian towns and neighborhoods receive very little funding in comparison to Jewish areas. This population constitutes 19% of the total population of Israel but only receives 5% of governmental development funds and 6% of the salary budget allotted to government employees (teachers are government employees in Israel). Take a closer look at disparities in funding.

Reminiscent of the United States before 1964, Israel's policy of creating a separate school system for Palestinian citizens of Israel is separate and not equal. The Arab state school system is in desperate need of 9,300 classrooms, however, the government has agreed to build only 2,850 new classrooms over the next two years. The Arab state school system lacks the funding that is provided to the Jewish school systems.

Also, the content of the curriculum must be approved by the Ministry of Education which views any information regarding Palestinian culture and history as a threat to the state of Israel. The Palestinians constitute an indigenous population and have a fundamental right to culture as recognized by the The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which clearly states that indigenous peoples have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or the destruction of their culture. However, the Israeli Education Ministry banned the work of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish from curriculum and is now banning the teaching of the Nakba.

Below is a video from a Palestinian Israeli hip hop group. Read the translation of the lyrics below to understand some of the challenges that this community faces.

Also, take a look at how our participants are doing below in a couple photos we've uploaded.

1 comment:

Hosey said...

It's apartheid, pure and simple!