from Solidarity 3/9
The Israelis have started to erect a "security fence" around the Green Line, Israel's pre-67 border, closing off the West Bank.
Israeli peace activist, Adam Keller reports
The settlers and their allies on the extreme right are up in arms
about the fence, regarding its erection as harbinger of Israeli
withdrawal to the 1967 borders and the creation of a Palestinian
state - their worst nightmare.
For the same reason quite a few people who consider themselves
supporters of peace and opponents of the occupation are supporting
the fence. And quite a few politicians hope to make political capital
out of it. Looking dispassionately at what Defence Minister
Ben-Eliezer is actually doing , both the doves' euphoria and the
settlers' alarm seem highly premature and misplaced.
For one thing, the fence is not exactly following the line of the
pre-67 border. In many places it departs from it by "a few kilometres
here and there" - changes which are airily taken by politicians and
generals who draw lines on a map, but which on the ground mean that
in dozens of villages barbed wires and minefields will suddenly
appear to seperate Palestinian peasants from their ancestral lands,
peasants already hard-pressed by the events of the past two years and
for whom these lands are the last remaining source of subsistance.
In the area of Jerusalem, the intended line of the fence has nothing
whatsoever to do with the 1967 border. Rather, its aim is to entrench
the annexation of 1967, with the barbed wire separating the 200,000
Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem from their brethern in
Bethlehem to the south, Ramallah to the north, and a host of villages
and suburbs all around. For a Muslim or Christian inhabitant of the
West Bank, visiting a Jerusalem shrine of one's faith - at present a
difficult and risky endeavor, but still possible - would become truly
impossible, once the fence is complete.
Moreover, erection of a fence does not in itself mean that the army
is going any time soon to withdraw behind that fence, or even to
cease its prolonged incursions and invasions into Palestinian cities.
In fact, Sharon had said quite clearly that this is not going to
There is, in fact, an obvious precedent: the Gaza Strip, which has
for many years been surrounded by a fence - making it a huge prison
for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. That does not prevent
Israeli settlers from keeping control over a full third of the
strip's meager land, with the concomitant result that large military
forces go on killing and getting killed, day after day, in order to
maintain these settlements.
The fate of Gaza seems to be what Sharon has in mind for the West
Bank as well - with the added complication that in addition to the
fence on its outside the West Bank is to be divided and sub-divided
into smaller and smaller enclaves, a process which is already
An Israeli population which lives under the constant threat of
suicide bombings finds little room for empathy with the plight of
Palestinians under occupation. With a complete distrust of the other
side and the hope for peace at its lowest, the concept of
"separation" makes the idea of a "Separation Fence" popular among
broad parts of the Israeli public. Yet without an end to the
occupation, "separation" will not bring about security. And with a
true end to occupation there will be no need for a 'Chinese Wall'.
Adam Keller is the co-editor of The Other Israel, POB 2542, Holon
Israel out of the Occupied Territories!
Protest organised by "Justice for the Palestinians"
5.30 to 6.30 Wednesday 3 July. Meet outside St Martin's in the Fields.
More: 07985 256490
from Solidarity 3/9