Israel’s Apartheid Wall

Israel’s Apartheid Wall (8 m high, projected to be more than 800 km in length)

Israel was founded based on the premise, especially in the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust, that Jewish people needed a national homeland in which they were a powerful majority in order to feel safe and protected. Zionists justified their claim to the Holy Land in particular based on a narrow interpretation of ancient Biblical prophecy.

According to Israeli statesman Abba Eban, who presented the Jewish people’s claim for statehood before the United Nations in 1947:

“We based our claim on the exceptionality of Israel, in terms of the affliction suffered by its people, and in terms of our historical and spiritual lineage. We knew we were basically appealing to a Christian world for whom the biblical story was familiar and attractive, and we played it to the hilt… We chose to emphasize at the beginning of our statehood that Israel would represent the ancient Jewish morality.?

In 1947 the United Nations agreed to cede 55% of the British mandate of Palestine to Jewish control. Most of the Jews on this piece of land, whose borders were torturously drawn to ensure a slim Jewish majority, were recent immigrants from Europe and Eastern Europe.

The surrounding Arab countries, and Palestine itself, rejected what they viewed as a racist, colonialist European land grab. But the Jews, desperate for a state and heavily armed by international donors, conquered 78% of historic Palestine. Concurrently with the conquest, the Zionists ethnically cleansed the conquered land by expelling more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes and villages in order to ensure a strong and lasting Jewish majority.

“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population.?

~ David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, quoted in The Jewish Paradox, 1978.

In 1967 Israel conquered the rest of historic Palestine, now known as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in a pre-emptive war. Israel’s power was so overwhelming that its armies conquered land from three Arab countries in only six days.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip were the only regions in the world left for a Palestinian homeland. But Israel, based again on their own interpretations of Biblical prophecy and residual feelings of insecurity despite their military hegemony, and generously backed by the United States, wanted all of historic Palestine – what they called Greater Israel.

“The past leaders of our movement left us a clear message to keep Eretz Israel from the Sea to the River Jordan for future generations, for the mass aliya (Jewish immigration), and for the Jewish people, all of whom will be gathered into this country.”

~ former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir at a Tel Aviv memorial service for former Likud leaders, November 1990. Jerusalem Domestic Radio Service.

“It is the duty of Israeli leaders to explain to public opinion, clearly and courageously… that there is no Zionism, colonialization, or Jewish State without the eviction of the Arabs and the expropriation of their lands.”

~ Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon addressing a meeting of militants from the extreme right-wing Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, November 15, 1998.

But how to rid the Palestinian territories of their Palestinian inhabitants without too much public scrutiny in these days of human rights laws? Simply denying they existed and suppressing their political rights didn’t work, as the first popular uprising in 1989 proved. Engaging in decades-long “peace processes? while simultaneously building more illegal settlements and checkpoints continuously, thus making peace impossible, didn’t work, as evidenced by the second popular uprising.

The second uprising, the Al-Aqsa Intifada, began on September 28, 2000. On this day, Ariel Sharon, a man convicted by an Israeli tribunal of personal responsibility in war crimes against Palestinian civilians in 1983, visited the Al-Aqsa mosque along with a heavily-armed armed garrison. It was a move guaranteed to insult and threaten Palestinians and Arabs all over the world. Palestinians protested, and the protests were put down brutally and out of all proportion.

In the first two weeks of protests and clashes, 72 Palestinians were killed, including 54 civilians and 15 children. In the same period, two Israeli civilians and 5 Israeli soldiers were killed. Ariel Sharon was presently election Prime Minister of Israel largely because of his supposedly “tough? stance on Israeli security. But the crushing violence of the Israeli army didn’t solve the problems in Israel.

Despite Israel’s ongoing illegal and disproportionate aggression, in 2002, at the height of Israeli brutality in the Occupied Territories, the Arab League met and agreed to recognize and normalize relations with Israel if Israel complied with international law and withdrew from the Occupied Territories—which Israel still refused to do, seeming to prefer real estate over peace and security.

Even more worrying for the Jewish state, Palestinians were having children faster than Israelis were. If this kept up, despite the “law of return,? which allows only Jews to come from all over the world and settle in the historic Palestinian homeland, non-Jews would outnumber Jews by the year 2010 between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Thus any pretense of democracy in the Only Democracy in the Middle East would be destroyed; either that or the absolute Jewish control of the state would be undermined.

What was to be done? Discourse didn’t work; Palestinians were not and never would be willing to leave their homeland, lives, history, culture, and property peacefully for the sake of enlarging the Jewish state. Laws didn’t work, because international humanitarian law was heavily in favor of the dispossessed Palestinians.

So a handful of hardcore ideologues in the Israeli government, including Ariel Sharon, decided to collectively imprison the entire Palestinian population with a Wall, whose route would unilaterally decide the future borders between Israel and the Palestinian territories and illegally annex vast areas of private Palestinian land and property, under the pretense of managing the security threat their own policies created.

Annexation Wall in the Occupied W.Bank (click on image for full size of map)

Occupied East Jerusalem area – note the ghettoes created in Jib and Bir Nabala, and the separation of Palestinian neighborhoods from each other in Ar-Ram and East Jerusalem.

East German propaganda called their Wall an “anti-fascist wall of protection.?

Israeli propaganda calls the Apartheid Wall an “anti-terrorist wall of security.?

Israeli propaganda also calls the Apartheid Wall a “temporary security measure,? but the structure, at a cost of over $1 million per kilometer, is looking less and less temporary. Another “temporary security measure,? the settlements, have been expanding steadily for the past 37 years. A majority of West Bank settlements are set to be annexed permanently to Israel by the Apartheid Wall. Whether the Wall is torn down or not, the political reality it is creating will be difficult if not impossible to reverse once its damage is done.

“[The] formula for the parameters of a unilateral solution are: To maximize the number of Jews; to minimize the number of Palestinians; not to withdraw to the 1967 border and not to divide Jerusalem.?

~ Ehud Olmert, Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, in an interview with Haaretz, Dec. 2003. His position and actions are in flagrant violation of international law.[ 2]

The outcome of such a brazen move remains uncertain, although increased poverty, hunger, desperation, humiliation, disconnection from friends, family, land, livelihood, education, and medical facilities has already been the devastating result for the overwhelmingly innocent Palestinian civilian population. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian families are or will soon be trapped in the world’s largest open-air prison—unless they escape to a neighboring country. Life for Palestinians in Palestine, difficult as it is, is slowly being made impossible.

The village of Jayyous, for example, has lost 75% of its farmland – 5% destroyed for the building of the Wall and 70% trapped between the Wall and Israel – and all of its seven water wells. About half of the villagers have lost their livelihoods due to the Wall, and formerly-prosperous families are struggling to secure enough clean water to drink.

Villages like Al-Daba’a [3], trapped between the Wall and the Green Line – an absurd situation if Israel were really interested in security – are being forced to consider abandoning their villages. If they do, it will be a clear case of ethnic cleansing happening in full view of the world.

“That is what ‘Transfer’ is: a crime against humanity. It is what Hitler espoused; what Milosevic urged. It is the getting rid of people of the wrong kind… of the wrong race, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong religion… the wrong people. It is, by its very nature, violent, racist, cruel. It is the uprooting of human beings from their land, their homes, their heredity, their lives; a ripping out, by the very roots, of an entire culture.?

~ Alison Weir, “An Old Evil Renames Itself as ‘Transfer,’? CounterPunch.org

Still other towns and villages are surrounded on all sides by the Wall, whose gates are controlled by Israelis—a collective imprisonment that directly violates the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Annexation Barrier, in short, is being built to prop up an untenable political situation, which is based on ideology rather than common sense, democracy, or respect for human rights.

8 thoughts on “Israel’s Apartheid Wall

  1. p sommers says:

    Are you joking? Israel a colonialist, racist nation? You are writing your post from America, a nation of that conquered and confiscated 100% of the land from its native inhabitants.

    BTW, Arabs become the so-called idiginous people of Palestine only after taking over the land by force in the seventh century, some 2000 years after the Jews first made Jeruslaem their capital. So the Palestinains are the colonialsts.

    JACKASS!

    Arab Muslims in Israel are better of than a native or black people in America.

  2. Damians Wrong says:

    Actually, Arabs in Israel are allowed to serve as members of the Parliament and are allowed to run for any position they wish – they have 9 seats in the Knesset. 20% of the people in the world who hold Israeli citizenship are Arab Palestinians. And yes, unlike most of the Arab world, they all have the right to vote. Arab Palestinians also have repeatedly (and successfully) petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel to change the wall route and offer them compensation for rockets falling on their towns during the summer war with Lebanon. Before you speak, please, get your facts straight. Israel makes mistakes, but it also does a lot of good.

  3. Asaf says:

    Salim Jubran is an Arab Supreme Court justice in Israel. Arab members of parliament are outspoken and impossible to ignore. Israel is fundamentally racist because of problems with a minority, or one quote from Ben-Gurion, who wrote and spoke and joked prolifically and rudely for decades? Is America doing well with its minorities? How is Palestine doing with its Christians? Or Iran with its Arabs in the south of the country? Or Romania with its Bulgarians, for that matter?

    If the Jews, who were originally a premodern tribal religiously-defined ethnicity, can’t self-determine that they are a modern nation, then nobody else can either.

    Jews deserve Israel because it represents a dynamic, creative national will. That’s what self-determination is all about.

    The tragedy is that there are two such legitimate national movements who claim the same land. But it’s not as though there was a “Palestinian” identity in 1947…the Palestinians themselves rejected this out of hand at the time.

    Both of us (I’m Israeli) are invented, and both are legitimate. And until the outsiders start getting that, nobody here will trust any outsiders, and they won’t be able to help.

  4. damian says:

    I would say that America has made MAJOR progress with it’s minorities. We are going to have several running for president.

    As for the Jews deserving Israel, I find your argument for that absurd. What the Israeli’s truly are is proof that the abused become the abuser.

  5. sammy says:

    Israel *is* a racist colonial state — textbook definitions. Racist because despite its democractic sheen, the definition of the state as one “for” only one ethno-religious group causes legal and social restrictions and limitations for those citizens (and others who are under the state’s dominion – to wit 3 million + Palestinians in the occupied territories – who aren’t part of that group. Colonial because, well, it’s a state based on colonial settlement of (mostly) Europeans into a part of the world that they are not – in rational and modern sense of the word – “from”. Don’t quote the torah to me on this point – we can dredge up any number of premodern fantastic texts that we can use to justify present day actions, but in the end Israel is colonial, is racist.

    Is it worse than other racist colonial states (the US, South Africa, etc.)? All of these states are bad until they offer full rights to all of the people they rule, and to work to rectify their previous injustice – both the US and South Africa have gone to some lengths to do both, but Israel has not.

  6. zak says:

    Actually a majority of Israelis are descended from Middle Eastern Jews that were expelled from their homes throughout most of the Arab world. So, they are “from” the region.

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