July 12, 2010

TIME FOR MAHMOUD V. BD of ED:

Israel's 'street apartheid' (Mya Guarnieri, 7/10/10, Al Jazeera)

Traffic jams are just one of the many problems that plague infrastructure and services in Palestinian areas of Jerusalem. Roads are poorly maintained. They are narrow and bumpy, riddled with cracks and potholes. Street signs and sidewalks are almost non-existent.

Trash containers are usually communal and there are often too few to meet the needs of the neighbourhood. Pedestrians, forced to walk on the shoulder of the road, wade through garbage.

Jewish neighbourhoods and settlements, on the other hand, are neat and orderly. Sidewalks and traffic circles keep pedestrians safe; roads are well-marked, some with lit signs. Most buildings have a garbage bin and the streets are free of litter.

In one Jewish area, a grassy median is adorned with a rainbow assortment of decorative sculptures - metal children playing, kicking footballs, and riding bikes.

When Al Jazeera presented a list detailing the differences between Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods to the Jerusalem municipality, the spokesperson denied the findings.

But, speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former employee of the Jerusalem municipality confirmed that there is discrimination on a budgetary level. The sports department offers the most dramatic example - only 0.5 per cent of funds are allocated to Palestinian neighbourhoods. The other 99.5 per cent goes to Jewish areas.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 12, 2010 5:48 AM
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