Sharon's "reservations"

The Israeli government has a "road map" of its own.

After 11 months of work, Israel is close to completing a first phase of a barrier to wall off most of the West Bank. Israel's government says the barrier - which includes fences, walls, barbed wire, patrol roads and a deep ditch - is meant to stop Palestinian militants from attacking Israel.

But the fence does not follow the "Green Line," the internationally recognized frontier between Israel and the West Bank lands it occupied in the 1967 war. Rather, the barrier slices through Palestinian villages and farms, cutting off about 10 percent of the West Bank. A World Bank report this month said a finished barrier could leave 95,000 Palestinians trapped in walled enclaves.

While Israeli officials defend the route of the fence, saying it is defined solely by security needs, they also acknowledge that it sometimes veers off the Green Line to incorporate Jewish settlements on what is generally considered Palestinian land.

The United States is pushing a "road map" to peace that envisions settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with security for Israel and a viable state for the Palestinians. The Israeli cabinet approved the plan, with reservations, yesterday, and the Palestinians have already backed it.

But the far more effective and concrete step toward resolving the conflict - on Israeli terms - is the fence, many Palestinians, Israelis and scholars say. Palestinians say it is a step toward seizing more West Bank land and thus preventing a viable Palestinian state. The fence will separate Palestinian border communities from their lands, work and relatives, residents say, and thus tend to drive them farther east into the West Bank.

Of course these horrible fences, walls, barbed wire, patrol roads and deep ditches, have already been seen for months in news photos widely-distributed around the world. The images are rarely seen in the U.S., but the constructions are represented in today's Newsday [print edition only] sketches, and it all looks exactly like a concentration camp perimeter. Yes, Sharon has reservations.

Oh, and the ghetto, er, camp, er, reservation or dog-run is to be only .07392 of the territory belonging to the Palestinians in 1947. See Jonathan Cook's, "A Cage For Palestinians."

Israel is also preparing a second, similarly tortuous wall near the eastern border of the West Bank, which it shares with Jordan, that will steal even more land from the Palestinians and offers no obvious security benefits.
After the wall is finished, at a cost of more than $2 billion, the Palestinians will live in two minuscule states behind concrete and electrified fencing, restricted to their main population centers. Thousands of rural Palestinians will live outside the West Bank cage in military controlled zones, denied rights as citizens of either Palestine or Israel. The rest will live inside the prison. Palestine will finally be born from 42 percent of 80 percent of 22 percent of the historic Palestinian homeland.

Update, May 31: I've now located some decent photo images of the wall where it is nearly complete. See this post.

About this Entry

Published on May 26, 2003 9:47 PM.

previous entry: memorials

next entry: Pepper's gone