Israel is using 'apartheid' wall to get rid of Palestinians
Joanna Aniel Bidar for The-Latest.com
Great divide: 'the security fence'
It is neither out of anti-Semitism nor support for ‘terrorists’ that I oppose the Israeli government’s construction of a so-called ‘security fence’ around Palestinian land. The project amounts to apartheid and is a blatant offence in the continuation of Israel’s vicious programme of illegal annexation.
It has caused the destruction of agriculture and property and encouraged the violation of human rights. The wall bites deep into the heartland of occupied Palestine, stealing the most fertile lands of the West Bank including the Jordan valley. It was built following the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian homes and razing of thousand acres of agricultural land olive groves, citrus orchards and water pipes that are crucial to the economic well-being of the inhabitants.
In 1948 the racist white South African regime invented apartheid to isolate the Black majority population and grabs the riches of their land. Thirteen years later, the Berlin Wall was built by the communist German Democratic Republic a border as a security installation was built to separate it from the capitalist West.
Sixty-one years separates South African apartheid to the construction of the Wall in Palestine which strips an oppressed people of their freedom and humanity. The construction of the wall cuts Palestinians off from medical care, schools, and mobility.
In November 2000, Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak approved the first project to build a ‘barrier’ - a wall separating Palestinian land from Israel, on “security” grounds. By July 2003 the Israeli defence ministry announced the completion of the “first phase” of the Wall, with 145 km of it built. A total of 1.5 million Palestinian refugees live on 12 per cent of historic Palestine in the West Bank today. The formation of the wall has nearly left 16 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank outside the wall in the annexed areas.
The UN International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the construction of the wall is contrary to international law and that Israel should stop building the wall. Top judges also ruled that Israel must make reparation for all damage caused by the construction of the wall and that all states were under an obligation not to recognise the illegal situation and not to render aid in maintaining it.
The wall has been effectively constructed contrary to all the passive UN resolutions and the Declaration of Human Rights. It is evident that the United States government, during president George W. Bush’s blood-thirsty reign, used its citizen’s taxes to subsidise its Middle East client state Israel build the wall despite the Hague rulings. In 2000, US taxpayers sent $ 4 billion in aid to Israel. The cost of construction is estimated at $ 1 million per kilometre.
According to former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon: "A fence is not a political border. It is not a security border but rather another means to assist in the war against terror, and greatly assist in stopping illegal aliens.”
However, according to the Palestinians, the wall is an effective way to turn their land into a prison with full Israeli access. "This just confirms that the wall is not to separate the West Bank from Israelis, it's to separate Palestinians into their reservation," said Michael Tarazi of the PLO's negotiations support unit. "It means that the Israelis will take control of our border with Jordan and what remains of the best agricultural land we have. The wall near the green line has already taken a lot of our best land and now they are going to do the same with what remains in the Jordan valley.”
Jeff Halper, a respected documenter of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, believes it was hard to justify building a wall through the Jordan valley as a protection against terrorism.
"If you're talking in terms of terrorism from the Palestinian side, there's not much to attack in the Jordan valley. It's not like the wall on the other side where you've got Israel," he said.
So it's hard not to conclude that the Israelis are using the wall to create a de facto border that basically reduces the West Bank to the 45 or 50 per cent of the land that Sharon agreed to give the Palestinians in the peace treaty he signed with them.
The Israeli authorities disagree. They argue that the wall is necessary to reduce suicide bombers and enhance Israel’s security.
"Israel has built the security barrier throughout the West Bank to combat terrorists infiltrating Israel to commit suicide bombings and kill Israelis and Jews," says Major Avital Leibozch, of the Israeli army. "It's about saving lives and we have very clear-cut figures showing that the security fence is saving Israeli lives," she says.
Other tools to oppress the Palestinian population include checkpoints which severely reduce their free movement. Under Israeli surveillance, entry and exit points close for hours, days, weeks or even months.
So, when a Palestinian in the zone seeks medical attention, they cannot get to a hospital. Mothers about to give birth are left waiting for hours to go through the checkpoint –meanwhile the child dies and sometimes the mother does not survive either. The Israeli government are effectively making the Palestinians’ lives hell using what they claim is a ‘security measure’.
It seems to me however that the idea is to drive them off their land by making their lives so intolerable that they lose hope and “choose” to go somewhere... anywhere else.”
* Joanna Aniel Bidar is an Arab journalism student from Lebanon studying in London.