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Two cars parked in Bethlehem. The one parked on the left, has a white numberplate and is owned by a Palestinian. The car parked on the right, has a yellow numberplate, with the letters ‘IL’ and a small Israeli flag. It’s a strange concept - how can you know nationality of a car owner simply by looking at their licence plate?
The driver of the car with the Israeli numberplate has freedom to drive wherever their heart desires. They have the freedom of passing through checkpoints, the freedom of driving on Israeli-only roads and highways and the freedom of driving into areas where Palestinians cannot enter. Segregated roads are just another way that Israel continues to make it difficult for Palestinians to live normal lives. I remember riding in the car with a friend in Palestine, from her house to my hotel. I took a deep breath in as we drove down her street - the road was so tight, I didn’t feel that her car would make it. She explained to me that the Palestinian roads were narrow, rocky and dangerous to drive on, while Israeli-only roads were constantly being upgraded and widened. Palestinians have far less money than the Israelis, but often found themselves paying hefty fees to panel beaters - car accidents commonly occur, as the Palestinian roads are not designed to be driven on.
Another thing to note, is the standard of the cars. The Palestinian owned car is an old run-down vehicle, while the Israeli-owned car is a shiny, new imported car. This is an indication of the economic imbalance which Israel has created - that’s a whole other issue.
I still can’t believe roads are segregated by race and no one is saying anything. In the west, that would be referred to as racism.
This month we present a view of Afghanistan seen from the perspective of a single photographer, Martin Middlebrook. He has spent much of the last three years documenting the real lives of ordinary people across Afghanistan, for a project called ‘Faces of Hope’.
See more. [Images: Martin Middlebrook]