Were it not for the razor wire, giant concrete blocks, steel gates, watchtower and standard-issue surly teenage soldier, it would be impossible to tell at what point the barren uplands of Israel's eastern Negev give way to the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank.
The military checkpoint of Shani vaguely marks the formal demarcation between Israel and occupied Palestinian territory, but in practical terms the distinction is meaningless. On either side of the Green Line, Israel is in charge.
Gaza -- 46 years ago this month, Israel seized East Jerusalem, the home of many significant holy sites for Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as the proposed capital for any future Palestinian state. Since then, Israel has increasingly undertaken measures -- the placing of restrictions on Palestinian movement, the construction of a separation wall, the confiscation of Palestinian land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements -- that are threatening to push out the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem entirely.
Ted McLaren is Québec construction worker who wanted to donate his time and skills to help build a school in an indigenous community.
If that community had been anywhere in Canada or elsewhere in the world, there would’ve been nothing but praise for his voluntary service. But since the indigenous community where he wanted to help happens to be in occupied Palestine, Ted was instead treated as a criminal and deported by Israel. At least three other Canadians, Mario Dion, Yves Rochon and Sylvain Thibault, have also faced deportation, once again with the complicit silence of our Conservative government.