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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The Israeli wall « Previous | |Next »
February 28, 2004

Nasser Al-Ja'afari, Alquds, 2/26/04. A Palestinian child dreaming about how is he going to jump over the cement barriers that Israeli occupation forces have placed on his way to school.

Israel claims the wall will prevent suicide bombers from infiltrating the country. The Palestinians claim that it's meant to create a fait accompli and to usurp more Palestinian land.

It appears that the Sharon solution to the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israeli's is to fragment the West Bank into an archipelago of unattached lands. This end result of the Likud strategy is the dismantling the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, exiling Yasser Arafat and the destruction of Palestinian nationalism.

This rejects a two state solution. That presupposes an independent Palestine emerging, and it implied that a Palestinian state needed to be established to preserve a Jewish majority in Israel.

Nor is it an unilaterial disengagement. The Sharon strategy appears to ensure that the deteriorating security and economic situation is so bad that surrender becomes the Palestinians' only option. They will give up resisting the Israeli occupation of their lands. The settler option means Israeli ruling over a recalcitrant Palestinian population. However, the vast majority of Israelis do not want to rule over a hostile Palestinian population.

Hearings on Israel's security barrier took place at the International Court of Justice, the Hague this week. The issue concerned the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (request for advisory opinion).The court is related to the UN and it works according to its Charter, resolutions and international law. The United Nations General Assembly asked the court to provide an advisory opinion on the legality of the route of Israelís wall.

The Palestinian case focused on:

"... the obligations of an occupying power to the occupied people and how Israel has violated those obligations... If Israel wanted to build a wall on the green line, that is certainly within its right. It does not, however, have the right to build it within occupied territory and in such a way that violates the rights of the occupied people whom Israel is obligated to protect and not harm."

Israel did not take part in the hearings. The dominant power of the region-- a nuclear power---is stood outside the Court playing the poor victim.

The Court has begun its deliberation.

Peter Philipp says that

"....the issue encompasses much more than just construction of the barrier. For most people don't seem to find much fault with the construction itself, if only the wall or fence ran along the 1949 ceasefire line and not onto Palestinian territory. If the barrier's course didn't carve up villages, destroy fields and further harass the Palestinians. And if the construction wasn't there to protect illegal settlements, and as such represents the basis for a possible border in the future.

Altogether this contravenes international treaties, such as the Hague Convention on war or the Fourth Geneva Convention, assuming one holds that the territories Israel conquered in 1967 are, in terms of international law, "occupied territories." Israel, however, has vehemently repudiated that issue for years, saying the territories are "disputed" not "occupied."

Thus, the International Court of Justice will also have to decide, whether they like or not, if under international law this is an issue of occupation."

The political reality is that the Palestine Authority has been shattered and can no longer provide security for the people of the occupied territories. And under the Sharon leadership the settlement activity in these territories has been stepped-up. At the same time Sharon talks in terms of unilaterial disengagement and withdrawing behind the wall.

Confusing? Yossi Alpher explains that Sharon's strategy is played with two hands:

" It could have been different had Prime Minister Ariel Sharon allowed the fence to fulfill its original anti-terrorist purpose and not hijacked it for his own objective of territorial gain. Now he's trying to do the same thing by hijacking another good idea, unilateral redeployment and dismantling of settlements, with the ultimate goal of annexing parts of the West Bank."

The separation wall is part and parcel of the Israeli policy of settlement expansion.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:13 PM | | Comments (1)


With this post Gary outdoes even his usual level of fatuity. The Israelis are about to withdraw from Gaza, uprooting 17 settlements in the process. Yet, ol' Gar' blathers on about a process of settlement expansion.

The fact of the matter is that barriers work. Not a single Gazan suicide bomber has made it into Israel since a similar barrier was erected around the Gaza Strip. Since the barrier in the northern West Bank was constructed, the number of terrorist induced Israeli fatalities in the lower Galilee has fallen from 57 to 3.

I'm very sorry if the construction of the barrier inconveniences some Palestinians. But when Palestinian inconvenience is weighed against the loss of Israeli civilian lives, lives take precedence.

Moreover, the Palestinians have only themselves to blame for the construction of this barrier. Rather than accept the "fair and generous" (Pres. Clinton's words) Israeli proposal at the Taba Conference to confer all the Gaza Strip and 95% of the W Bank on the Palestinian Authority, Arafat and the Palestinians instead chose their usual path of violence and terrorism. Israel has repeatedly shown its willingness to accept painful territorial concessions, and polling clearly shows that an overwhelming majority of Israelis would support a withdrawal from almost all the West Bank and all of Gaza if they could be sure those Palestinian territories wouldn't become a jumping off point for even more terrorism against them.

Israel has every right to defend its citizens from a warped and pathological Palestinian society in which suicide bombers are elevated to the status enjoyed by rock stars in saner cultures. As Abba Ebban once said, "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." The Palestinians made this stew, now let'em chew on it.