Israel builds two anti-Palestinian walls

TEL AVIV – How many invulnerable and invincible “defense walls” have been constructed during history? “High-security walls,” propagated as a guarantor of protection against an enemy onslaught, have all proven to be vulnerable and penetrable.

And so the same will be true with the present Israeli “Security Fence.” It is a mile-wide system, featuring a concrete and iron wall that is 26 feet high and 10 feet thick, with watchtowers and electronic warning equipment stretching for hundreds of miles, as well as barbed-wire surrounding roads on both sides. It is designed to separate Israel and Palestine, yet the wall invades various parts of occupied Palestine.

Israel, unilaterally and without asking the Palestinian authorities, went ahead with this monstrosity. No section is situated on or near the pre-1967 demarcation “green line.” Several sections of that atrocious edifice are many miles eastwards of the border, as well as around Greater Jerusalem and large Jewish settlements. It cuts through Palestinian villages, olive and citrus plantations, separating families from their ancestral fields and plantations, their only source of life-sustaining income.

While promising it would keep suicide bombers out of Israel, many know the only real security for Israel is to withdraw from the Palestinian territories behind the pre-1967 demarcation lines, the internationally recognized borders of Israel. Plus, evacuate all the 150 or so illegal Jewish settlements, as well as mutually honoring the vested national rights and territorial integrity of both peoples.

The construction of this wall costs many billions of dollars. To finance it, the Ariel Sharon government with Treasurer Benjamin Netanyahu are robbing the bread from thousands of Israeli children by drastically cutting all social budgets affecting old-age pensioners, the unemployed, single parents (whose ranks at the protest tent encampment in Jerusalem are still swelling) and by cutting salaries of civil servants.

Even the big boss of the capitalist world, Sharon’s bosom friend and main sponsor of the terrorist Israeli establishment, U.S. President Bush, has criticized the wall for hitting the Palestinians and their economy too hard.

Sharon’s answer was “the defense of Israel and its means are the sole affair of the Israeli government and no one, no one, can interfere with its decisions.” Period.

By the way, Sharon knows very well that even Israeli legislation does not allow constructing fences and walls around private property, or on land belonging to one’s neighbor.

One thing is sure: the grand profits for erecting this fence are going into the bank accounts of the big contractor corporations. Maybe George W. Bush is offended that those profit-grabbing contractors are all Israeli and not his American corporate friends.

Then there is another wall being built, not with iron and barbed wire, but with racism and human rights violations. Such is the nature of an amendment to the citizenship law passed July 31 with a vote of 53-25 in the Knesset. The amendment prohibits a spouse from living in Israel if he or she comes from the occupied territories. Even already married couples have to live either separated, or move to the occupied Palestinian areas. The new law affects, in the main, Israeli Arabs.

The Minister of (in)Justice Josef Lapid said Palestinian spouses originally from “the territories” might become involved in anti-Israeli activities. But Knesset Deputy Speaker Mohammad Barakei stated frankly the racist nature of the legislation. He said, during the debate, that people “who have suffered so much in history from racism should be ashamed to motion and vote for legislating such an amendment bill!”

Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi stated that the bill outlawing mixed marriages between Israeli citizens and Palestinian residents of occupied Palestine is “an inhuman act, reminding some abhorrent criminal laws of the past.”

Knesset Member Yossi Sareed said this new legislation is un-Jewish and warned that the adoption would spark a wave of protests in the international arena and might possibly encourage a new anti-Semitic outburst.

Many human rights groups have petitioned the Supreme Court of Justice to place an injunction against this amendment to the citizenship law. This amendment contradicts the constitutional “Basic Law of Human Dignity and Equal Citizen Rights,” the petitioners stressed.

The author can be reached at pww@pww.org