Answers to the claim-“The Wall is built strictly for security reasons. It has no political content whatsoever.”
“The Wall is built strictly for security reasons. It has no political content whatsoever.”
It is interesting to note, that the right and the settlers spat venom at any mention of the separation Wall as long as they thought that it would be built along the Green Line. Immediately after the elections, in January 2003, Sharon started using the Wall as another means for further annexation of land, oppression of the Palestinian people, and breaking their national spirit. Many private settlers are using the Wall as a means of extortion. They offer Palestinian land owners to buy their land at ridiculously low prices, on the basis that if they do not sell, the land will soon be lost anyway behind the Wall. Every settlement is applying pressure to be included behind the Wall. The result of all this is an impossible winding path, reflecting the huge political pressure and greed, which snakes deep inside Palestinian territory, cutting villages and towns, separating farmers from their land and water resources, children from their schools, patients from their hospitals and merchants from their markets. The Eastern section of the Wall runs West of the Jordan valley, and therefore does not separate Palestine from Israel, but serves only to seal the Palestinian Ghetto.
Even a brief comparison between Ehud Barak’s ‘Generous Offers’ and Sharon’s ‘Separation Plan’ shows that essentially they are one and the same. They are both based on the same colonizing logic that later produced the route of the ‘Separation Wall’, a route which has Ehud Barak’s wholehearted support.
The principle behind both plans is the same: ‘Annex the maximum land with the minimum Palestinians’ In order to accomplish this, the Palestinian people must be beaten into submission, their spirit and national will broken. The way to this end passes through further ‘security measures’. Hundreds of roadblocks scattered throughout the West Bank, preventing the Palestinians from leading any kind of a normal life.
Frequent curfews, demolitions and movement restrictions driving an entire people to the verge of starvation. The Israeli government seems to expect the presence of a starved, desperate, imprisoned neighbor to pave the way to a prosperous, healthy Israel. Will the Israeli public accept every atrocity
or crime against humanity, provided only that it is presented as a ‘security measure’?
“Since the Wall has been built, the number of suicide attacks has reduced dramatically.”
It is true that the number of suicide attacks has diminished greatly since the Palestinian acceptance of the Road Map. What role does the Wall play in this? Very little. So far, only 20% of the Wall are complete. Nothing prevents the passage of suicide bombers into Israeli cities. There simply is no Wall, yet. Hundreds of Palestinian workers enter Israel illegally every day through hundreds of poorly controlled roadblocks. If an illegal worker can slip by them daily, a potential attacker certainly can too.
These are the 3 main reasons for the recent fall in suicide attacks:
-A series of tacit agreements between the Israeli government and the Palestinians.
-A Palestinian realization that such attacks damage their cause greatly, which led to a determination
to advance the Road map, which they see as a possible, even if very uncertain, political avenue.
-The forceful military pressure on the Palestinians is a double-edged sword: On the one hand, it has prevented some suicide attacks, but on the other hand it has increased Palestinian motivation manyfold. But even if the Wall was complete, and this claim was true, does this justify the Wall? The question remains: does Israel have the right to sentence an entire people to a life of imprisonment,
demanding security for itself, while holding the Palestinian people in the iron grip of occupation?
“The Path of the Wall reflects only security considerations. It was planned by the army.”
In 1949, a group of Israeli and Jordanian officers drafted the armistice line between Israel and the West Bank. The objective was to draw a separation line based on the position of both armies, existing villages and towns, topographical lines, etc. An important factor in the discussions was the Israeli desire to widen the ‘Narrow waist of Israel’ The 290 Km long armistice line lasted till the Israeli occupation of 1967, and is known as the ‘Green Line’.
The path of the Wall is considerably inferior from the standpoint of security:
-The Wall planned by Sharon is approx. 750 Km long, nearly 3x longer than the Green Line. Even a layman in security matters can see that the longer the Wall, the more vulnerable it is for penetration. This is only the Western section. The plan includes an Eastern Wall, West of the Jordan valley. Together with this section, which will be about 200 Km long, the complex will total approx. 1,000 Kilometres of Walls, fences, trenches, barbed wire, patrol routes and sophisticated electronic devices.
-The excessive length means tripling the number of soldiers needed to protect
and maintain the Wall, and the numerous electronic devices it contains.
-The longer the Wall and all its surveillance systems, the more
false alarms and malfunctioning should be expected.
-The Wall runs through the villages and towns of a densely populated
area, meaning constant friction with a hostile population.
-In order to allow any sort of possible life, gates were designed in the Wall. Although
the gates are usually closed, the passage of Palestinians jeopardizes its effectiveness.
-The path of the Wall leaves tens of thousands of Palestinians on the ‘Israeli’ side.
“Gaza is our model. Since it is fenced, not even 1 suicide attack originated from Gaza.”
The “model” for the West Bank apartheid wall
If anything, Gaza is a warning of what will happen if the Wall is built. Gaza is the most violent area of friction and conflict. Gaza is a huge prison, containing 1.2 Million desperate people. 1 of the most densely populated areas in the world, Gaza is boiling with frustration and anger. But before addressing the issue of Gaza as a security model, it is important to point out several major physical differences
between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank:
-The fence around Gaza is 50 Km long. The fence planned for the West Bank will be 950 Km long. Nearly 20x longer.` If, as an example, 5000 soldiers are required to guard the prison called Gaza, guarding the West Bank prison will require 100,000. An unbearable burden. The same calculation applies for all other resources required for maintaining the Wall.
-The fence around Gaza is built on flat terrain. Terrain in the West Bank is much more difficult.
-While the Israeli army needs to defend only 6000 settlers in 15 settlements in Gaza, The exact number of settlers who will remain behind the fence is as yet unknown, all depending on the success of Sharon’s plan of ‘Unilateral Separation’.
If Gaza is considered such an example of success, how can we explain the Israeli army having to perform daily incursions into Gaza? How can we explain the demolishing of entire neighborhoods (over 2000 houses have been demolished in the Gaza Strip in the past 3 years), the numerous assassinations using helicopter gunships, the constant shelling of cities and widescale erasing of fields and orchards?
“The fence is temporary, and will be dismantled if we reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians”
The Wall costs 2-3 Million U.S. Dollars per Kilometre. A country undergoing such a deep economic crisis like Israel, would not spend 1.5-2 Billion U.S. Dollars on a ‘temporary security measure’. In Israel, as all Israelis know, there is nothing more permanent than the temporary…most Israeli settlements, now numbering about 180, were built as ‘temporary archaeological camps’, ‘temporary army camps’ etc. Some of these are now 30 years old. Thousands of settlers are now bringing up their 3rd generation in ‘temporary settlements’. The settlements were built to strengthen the Israeli grip on the occupied territories, and at the same time apply pressure on the Palestinian people, to ‘encourage them to leave of their own free will’. the Separation Wall now under construction, is a grave, perhaps final, step within the same basic strategy. As with previous settlement activity, the government’s aim is to create irreversible facts on the ground. To create de facto Palestinian Bantustans, which will be the very opposite of a viable, sovereign and contiguous State of Palestine.