Israeli reporter Amira Hass says Israel denies them many rights.

Israeli journalist Amira Hass said she couldn’t get an Internet connection to file a story last week from the West Bank, so she made a short drive to Jerusalem.

She told a University of Florida audience Monday that most Palestinians don’t have the same luxury. Those with travel permits are required to use separate roads from Israelis and are disconnected from education and other institutions in Jerusalem, she said.

“It is as near as the moon for most of the Palestinians,” she said.

Hass spoke to a crowd of more than 200 people at UF’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

A columnist for the daily newspaper Haaretz, Hass has covered the Israeli and Palestinian conflict while living in the West Bank.

She characterized Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians as a “regime of ethnic privileges.” Israel controls Palestinian land, restricts Palestinian movement and denies rights to Palestinians such as voting, she said.

Palestinians living in Gaza can’t even travel to the West Bank except in limited conditions such as visiting a dying relative, she said.

“Imagine — 70 kilometers and they could not see their families,” she said.

The Oslo Accords presented a chance for Israelis and Palestinians to live as neighbors, she said. Instead, she said, Israel used the agreements as a way to colonize more land.

“I think we lost a golden opportunity ... to live normally in this region,” she said.

In a question-and-answer session after her speech, she said that atrocities by Palestinians extremists don’t justify the actions of the Israeli government.

“The atrocities do not change the fact the regime being fought against is unjust,” she said. Read more