An example of the daily humiliation and obstruction faced by Palestinians was this road that we were meant to go down. It had been dug up by Israeli settlers a in the last couple of days.
We were able to get our bikes past it, but our support vans had to take a long route.
Soldiers came along and demanded to know whether anyone in the group was Jewish, on the grounds that people in the village would somehow know this and throw stones.
I still have no idea whether anyone in our party was Jewish. No Palestinian ever asked what religion anyone was.
What small interaction we had with Israeli authorities nearly always focused on what religion people were (and segregation and who wasn’t allowed to walk where).
Settlers As Neighbours
I apologise for including a picture of Milo Yiannopoulos, but I saw this man on a Sunday morning chat show, saying that the reason why people object to Israeli settlements is that they don’t want to live next to Jews.
Well, if you had neighbours who diverted your water supply to their house and tried to sell it back to you, and who shot holes in the water tanks that you had set up to make up for the lack of water, you probably wouldn’t be too bothered about whether they were Jewish.
Remember what I said above, about the red warning signs and who is really in danger when settlers go into Palestinian villages?
It was explained to us that there are “economic settlers”, who maybe can’t afford the cost of living in somewhere like Tel Aviv and are offered cheap deals and services if they move to a settlement in the West Bank, and then there are the “religious settlers” who are fanatical about their right to the land and much more dangerous.
This was the house in Duma randomly selected by six or seven Israeli settlers 2015. They burned a whole family alive.
First they firebombed it and then, when people, already burned, tried to escape, they poured petrol on them.
They are still living, unpunished, in a nearby illegal settlement. This is because, while Palestinian children can be held without charge under military law if they are suspected of something like throwing stones, there is a very different burden of proof when it comes to Israeli settlers.
Soon after our visit in 2018, another house in the same village was firebombed by settlers, but fortunately no one was killed.
The London Clarion Cyclist is a Cycling Blog with posts from London Clarion Cycle Club members and guest bloggers