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If this isn't apartheid, what is it?

Israel, and its one-eyed supporters, vehemently deny that the State practices apartheid. Perhaps it isn't, technically - although many experts say that Israel does - but for practical purposes what is it when Israelis deny Palestinians rights which they enjoy and dramatically restrict the rights of Palestinians?

The Baltimore Sun reports, in graphic terms, how Israel "deals" with Palestinians:

"Every day, thousands of Israeli drivers speed through the olive-tree-dotted hills and valleys of the West Bank on Highway 443, a popular four-lane roadway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

But this convenient commuter shortcut comes at a heavy price for Palestinians.

Since the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, only Israelis have been allowed to use the highway because of security concerns - though it is built on Palestinian land and, according to Israeli courts, is meant primarily for the benefit of thousands of Palestinian villagers who live alongside it.

The ban has effectively marooned about 40,000 Palestinians living in a half-dozen villages that have long depended on the 15-mile highway. Residents complain that the closure has ruined their businesses, created frustratingly long and expensive commutes to work and school on back roads, and isolated their communities from emergency and medical services.

Now the Palestinian villagers are taking their grievances to Israel's high court, demanding that Israel reopen the road to them.

The court case, in effect, weighs the demands of an estimated 40,000 Israeli commuters, who use the road daily as a rapid thoroughfare, against the needs of about the same number of Palestinians who relied on the road for their own livelihoods."


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