Thursday, July 29, 2004

The true nature of Israel's wall

I think this little article by Ran HaCohen is the best description of the true nature of the Israeli-American security wall that is rapidly surrounding the Palestinians. There is a tendency to see the issue as merely being the fact that the wall annexes Palestinian lands, but the problem is actually much worse (my italics):

"Just like you don't call a book 'a paper,' or bread 'flour,' you won't call this a Wall. What Israel is building in the West Bank is made of walls and fences, but it is not a wall or a fence. It is something very different. I am not sure about its proper name: ghettos? Extra-judicial detention centers? Open-air prisons? A network of cages for humans? I am not sure there is a name for it; I am not sure it has a precedent in human history. Not only has it got nothing to do with the comparatively miniature Berlin Wall, it has clearly very little to do even with the Apartheid Bantustans, which encompassed tens of thousands of square kilometers each. The West Bank cages often comprise just a few hectares, which is a different thing altogether.

Decades ago, a common Israeli argument was that the West Bank and Gaza were too small for a viable Palestinian state. Be that as it may, nobody would claim that a fully built-up 2 x 2 km (1.5 sq. mi.) cage, with no public facilities, no land reserves for housing, no fields, and with a gate guarded by a hostile army, is a viable place to live in. The Israeli authorities know this very well; after all, their own passion for land is insatiable. Their intention is clear: sooner or later, the hopelessly caged population will have to leave simply to escape starvation. This is ethnic cleansing, making life impossible so that the Palestinians are forced out. The nearer we get to the Green Line and to major settlements, the smaller the cages get. These are the areas that Israel wants most, so living conditions should drive away the indigenous Palestinian population there as soon as possible."

I really have to apologize to apartheid South Africa for calling it an apartheid wall, as the Israeli-American wall is much, much worse than anything built by the Boers. It is also a great insult to communist East Germany to compare it to the Berlin wall. It is like something Kafka might have dreamed up, thousands of people enclosed in a massive network of cages, security gates, Palestinian roads blocked to vehicle traffic, and settler roads that are off-limits but are built to ensure the maximum inconvenience to Palestinians, all guarded by brutal young Israeli thug-soldiers whose job is to cause the maximum suffering to Palestinians. The Israelis are intentionally setting up a series of concentration camps. The purpose is not Israeli security, as a wall built along the Green Line would accomplish that supposed goal. The point is to ethnically cleanse the Palestinians so the Zionists can conclude their project of stealing their land. The wall is one of the most obscene visions ever conceived by a human being.