A Tale of Two Cities
I took the picture on the left in a Palestinian village in (East) Jerusalem; the picture on the right from a Jewish neighborhood in (West) Jerusalem. Even though both places are currently under Israeli control—Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its unified and eternal capital, contrary to international law—Palestinian neighborhoods in the city do not receive municipal services. There is almost no trash collection, there are not many sidewalks, and many roads are unpaved. Ambulances will not enter East Jerusalem without a police escort, endangering the health and lives of Palestinians who need medical care.
Palestinians living in Jerusalem pay more taxes on average than Israelis - when traveling through Israeli checkpoints, border control will often threaten to impound Palestinian’s cars unless they’ve paid all their taxes, bills, fines, etc.
Additionally, even though Palestinians are roughly 40% of Jerusalem’s population, they are only allocated 10% of the city’s municipal budget.
We’re not even talking about discriminatory policies the state of Israel practices within Palestine—we’re talking about people living in the same city under the same state that are not treated the same.
Separate ≠ Equal
I took the photo of East Jerusalem while driving back from the Dead Sea. Walid, the driver, pointed out this discrepancy in services to us.
"They should give us services, but they don’t," Walid said to me when I asked him how Israel justifies these discriminatory policies to outside observers. “Why? I don’t know why.”
Separate and unequal - why is it so hard for the United States to admit this is wrong?
I promised Walid I would try to get an answer for this discrepancy. Somehow I feel like this will be easier said than done.