What are the first associations that come to mind with the word "occupation"? Martial law? Guns everywhere? Poor, oppressed population? Prison-like conditions? Penniless refugees in tents? It's very clear to those who use that libel against Israel, that these horrible images will be the first ones you'll see in your mind, when you hear of the conflict. But, how many of those actually apply to Judea and Samaria (the so called "West Bank")? And can Israel be really called an "occupier"? Let's look at the example of Jericho and decide for ourselves.
This photo was taken at the Tourist Center in Jericho, a major city in Area A. Area A is a zone in the "West Bank" fully under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, where they completely govern, police and educate themselves, as well as vote for their own officials (as often as they do in the Arab world) without Israel's participation.
Myth #1: "The Palestinians suffer from terrible "highway Apartheid", which prevents them from moving freely on their own lands, being constantly subjugated to checkpoints" - BUSTED!
All checkpoints from within areas A and B (those under the PA's control) have been removed years ago. All Arabs travel freely within the PA wherever they want. The checkpoints are located at the entrance to Israeli territory, for the same reason they're located at any other border in the world (especially one with a hostile entity).
Myth #2: "The "Palestinians" live under terrible Apartheid in horrifying conditions of "occupation", whereas the Israelis enjoy riches and luxury" - BUSTED!
The Arabs in Jericho live in a variety of the modern world's accommodations from brand new appartment buildings to luxurious private houses. Not to mention the booming tourist industry.
Myth #3: "The Israeli government treat Arabs with racism and segregation" - BUSTED!
At the entrance to Jericho (and any other Area A town), there's a big red sign telling Israeli citizens in three languages that entering is illegal and also warning them of danger to their lives. Needless to say, no such announcements are found at the entrance to any Israeli town anywhere. You see, the real Apartheid in Israel - is towards the Jews (just like in the Temple Mount)!
Myth #4: "But Israel surrounded the entire "West Bank" with a huge wall (enter any number here) miles long! It's (enter any number here) times bigger than the Berlin Wall! It's a racist wall of ethnic seperation!" - BUSTED!
Had it been a "wall of ethnic seperation" it would have failed miserably, since 1.5 million Arabs live in Israel and 400,000 Jews live in Judea and Samaria. The Security Barrier doesn't seperate ANYONE on ethnic basis. In fact, The Security Barrier is a wall for only 3% (three percent) of its length. The other 97% (ninety seven percent) is just a fence. Yes, it's not pretty, but it allowed Israel to stop entirely the wave of bloody terror attacks known as "The Second Intifada", and to save thousands of lives.
And, finally Myth #5: "By boycotting Israeli products you help the "Palestinian" cause" - BUSTED!
"Palestinians" use Israeli products daily, boycotting them would harm the "Palestinians" first of all. Many Israeli companies (such as 'Ahava', 'SodaStream', etc.) collaborate with the PA to help bring economic prosperity to both sides. And indeed, the Arabs at the Jericho Tourist Center sell the 'Ahava' products for fantastic, absolutely over the top, dollar prices!
Any conclusions yet?
And you'll say: "okay, okay, I get it, but what about Gaza?!?"
Gaza, dear friends, deserves a post of its own! So keep in touch! And never forget to use those brains!