Saturday, August 09, 2003

WHY THE WALL WON'T BRING PEACE
Israel's new form of oppresion succeeds the earlier forms of oppresion over the years. As if land-grabbing (1947-currently), breaking rock-throwers' arms (first Intifada), proposing annexation of Palestinian territories (Barak in 2000) or the building of settlements (1900s-current) wasn't enough, the Israelis have proposed something new. But it wasn't the Likud Party of Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister, war criminal) that proposed this idea. It was the Labour party that proposed building one-long fence--not a mixture of 25-feet long walls and barbed wire--along the Green line, the borders according to the ceasefire of 1967.

The wall itself is not a bad idea, and it's what I like to call the worst of the best. It's not the ultimate solution, but it isn't the worst either. The problem is that it's not happening along the lines that Palestinians and the Israeli Labour wants. Instead, it creates the suffering and environment that enraged so many of the suicide-bombers. A more burdensome and the creation a ghetto-like Qalqilya will not bring peace; it will bring rage and hatred. The wall is built so a de facto border is defined and settlements are included (excluding only 15 of them). Sharon seems to think that if a Palestinian state is created, why not grab 15% of the West Bank and include settlements on the Israeli side? Ethan Bronner lays it out in a New York Times editorial:

The problems created for the Palestinians are many. A large chunk of Qalqilya's arable land, locals claim that it amounts to one-third has been taken over by the barrier, with devastating economic results. Farmers cannot get to their fields. Relatives from other towns or villages cannot come in and out, except through a single checkpoint. Israeli military officials say that once the various gates and systems are worked out, the difficulties created for Palestinians will ease. Such assurances have been understandably received with skepticism.
Israelis claim that this wall is built for security. But with real security and peace comes real justice. Those who support what they claim is the only democracy in the Middle East, should support the UN resolutions that both created the Jewish state and give Palestinians rights, such as the Right of Return. They would oppose the idea of a wall that is being used as a way of expanding Israel's territory. The pro-Israeli advocacy screams out and calls this a temporary security measure, but the reality is that this is a form of creeping annexation of Palestinian territory. And yes, Israel has the right to defend itself. It can defend itself by not supporting settlements and not include it in a de facto annexation. Many have called the Palestinian loss of life 'collateral damage' and call this wall 'collateral action.' But collateral deaths and actions have become the Israeli rule rather than the exception of the present conflict.

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