Visiting prof details Palestinian apartheid: Releases new book through U of A Press on Gaza Strip

From the crashing waves of the Mediterranean to the sun-baked sand dunes of Khan Yunis, Palestinians herald the Gaza Strip, in its sporadic periods of peace, as one the most stunning landscapes in the world. In recent years, Gazans have also taken reluctant pride in a modern manmade creation: the Israel-Gaza barrier, whose concrete canvas has inspired Palestinian artists since its construction in 1994.

“People say (the graffiti) is very beautiful,” Ghada Ageel, a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science, said. “And it is beautiful — but it should be torn down.”

At the launch for her most recent book, Apartheid in Palestine: Hard Laws and Harder Experiences, on Jan. 28 in the Tory building, Ageel spoke nostalgically of her childhood home in the Gaza Strip, a region that has suffered three wars in the past four years. The publication, printed by the University of Alberta Press, was written by a team of academics, activists and Indigenous Palestinians in hopes of humanizing the displacement of Palestinians by the Israeli state.

Applying the term “apartheid” to Israel’s occupied territories has always been controversial, especially because the term draws to mind the violent racial segregation and white minority rule under South Africa’s National Party from 1948 to 1994.

According to Apartheid in Palestine, however, the segregation of Arabs and Jews in Israel is most blatantly comparable to that of whites and blacks in South Africa with the creation of the Israel-Gaza border, which runs the entire length of the Gaza Strip. The wall has not only separated Israelis from Palestinians, but Palestinians in Gaza from those living in Israel and the West Bank.

“Imagine you just woke up, you want to go to your school or your work, and you cannot,” Ageel said. “Sometimes you can get a permit, but sometimes you cannot.”

Though her education and research is focused around the Palestinian question, Ageel was particularly motivated to create her anthology when she first attended Israeli Apartheid Week (IWA) — an annual series of university lectures and rallies against the Israeli occupation of Palestine — in 2010. She said she wanted to continue the dialogue beyond a single week in February.

“I wanted this publication to communicate effectively with any person,” Ageel said. “I wanted this collection to respond to the comments, questions and remarks made by those who … expressed themselves on campuses and in their communities.”

Ageel’s motivation has been heightened by the deteriorating living conditions in the Gaza Strip, where many of her family members still live. Philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky recently called the region “the largest open-air prison in the world.” Because of the Israel-Gaza barrier, 80 per cent of Palestinians are dependent on food aid, and the United Nations estimates it will become uninhabitable by 2020 unless there is a “substantial easing on border restrictions.”

“I just felt the need was greater than ever to engage different voices and share the stories of the Palestinians,” Ageel said.

“I wanted to tell the story of the Palestinians, the whole version of it. I wanted to expose what has shaped the world our children will inhabit.”


  1. Yes, she sounds like she is a completely unbiased source whose views can be trusted not to be tainted by Anti-Israel propaganda, replete with the usual “weep for me, I am a poor Palestinian flower caught in jaws of the giant Zionist genocide machine” rhetoric.

  2. I was also at Dr. Ageel’s talk, sponsored by Political Science’s Speaker Series. Passionate, humane, and tempered in her remarks, she is working hard to remove the “binary” conversation of Israel or Palestine and open up the discussion. Her book, published by us (UAlberta Press), includes articles from leading experts—Palestinian and Israeli, academic and activist.

  3. Hm, I wonder whether the 1 million Arabs LIVING, WORKING (including, government cabinet members and SUPREME COURT JUSTICES) inside Israel think of themselves as living in an ‘apartheid’?? The barriers around Gaza are up to keep Hamas terrorists from blowing up Israeli children, as they were doing on a weekly basis… that is until the wall went up(!) And since Hamas (the oligarchy that rules Gaza) is sworn to destroy Israel and every Jew… why would they bring the wall down? This is like a child who’s been running out into the street complaining that his parents are being abusive because they’ve locked the doors. Israel has removed ALL settlements from Gaza. Israelis have no need to live in terror. If Hamas wants peace: Come and ask for it!!!

    1. The Israeli occupation issued since 1948 more than 60 racist laws against Palestinian citizens in the occupied territories of 1948 in all spheres of life, including education, state services, and civil and political rights.

      The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah, confirmed in a statement that a part of these racist laws violate the Palestinian people’s rights in occupied territories and Palestinian refugees’ rights.

      “Discrimination extends to all spheres of life, including land, education, allocation of budgets, prisoners and other civil and political rights”, said the center in a press statement.

      More info can be found here:

      Also Palestinians living in Israel are treated as second-class citizens. Many human rights organizations spoke out on this issue stating that , “more than 50 Israeli laws … directly or indirectly discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures”.

      More info here

      As for Gaza barrier your information sir is not accurate at all to say the least about it. Like the west bank barrier, the barrier in Gaza has nothing to do with hamas or Palestinians but with land theft and domination a continuation of the same policies which was initiated in 1948. It has nothing to do with killing Israeli children. It is Israel who kills Palestinian children. Can you tell me who killed the 1500 civilians in summer 2014, among those civilians was 500 children. Can you tell me who disabled 12000 person in Gaza last summer half of them are children now with permanent disabilities. Figures and maps tell the story sir. Sun can be hidden. More learning in history would lighten your way.

      1. Ray, when you state that the occupation began in 1948, right there tells me that you either don’t know the facts, or are anti-semitic. There are a huge number of facts you got wrong, but DO mirror Arab propaganda. The simplest and easiest one: In 1948 the UN / THE WORLD voted to establish Israel as a country. The land given as partitioned, was tiny, and did NOT include EAST Jersualem, the West Bank/Gaza etc. The Arab countries refused to accept this tiny state and attacked (Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, with material support from other Arab nations). The Israelis won and in the onslaught, captured additional land. This STILL DID NOT include the West Bank, Gaza, or East Jerusalem. In advance of the attack, many Arabs, of their own accord fled to Jordan. This became the ‘Refugee’ issue. However, during the same period, 3/4 of a million Jews were expelled from Arab countries. Theses refugees found themselves welcomed into Israel.

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