There are few places in Israel where its apartheid character is more conspicuous than the imposing international airport just outside Tel Aviv, named after the country’s founding father, David Ben Gurion.
Most planes landing in Israel have to circle over the West Bank before making their descent. Below, more than two million Palestinians living under cruel Israeli occupation are barred from using the airport. Instead, they depend on capricious decisions from military officers on whether they will be allowed to cross a land border into Jordan.
They are comparatively better off than nearly two million more Palestinians in besieged Gaza, who are denied even that minimal freedom.
Meanwhile, a similar number of Palestinians living ostensibly as citizens inside Israel have to run a gauntlet of racial profiling checks before they can board a flight.
Armed security guards at the perimeter entrance listen for Hebrew spoken with an Arab accent. Passports are branded with barcodes that can entail humiliating interrogations, delays, strip searches and security escorts on to planes.
Security alone could never have justified the arbitrary and sweeping nature of these decades-old practices against Israel’s largely quiescent Palestinian minority.
Racial profiling at the airport was always chiefly about controlling and intimidating Palestinians, collecting information on them and ghettoising them. Palestinians struggled to get out, while Arabs and Muslims struggled to get…