Political Geography Blog Assignment #2

Here is blog assignment #2 – please comment on the intentions and efficacy of the Israel/Palestine Wall. Due Sept 20th by midnight. Usual rules, 500 words, use as much outside research as you need to make an informed discussion on this, please cite everything you use and be aware that there is a LOT of bias (both sides) in much of the information on the web.

political Blog 2

35 thoughts on “Political Geography Blog Assignment #2

  1. Often known as the West Bank “separation barrier” or “security fence”, this massive wall along the Israel, Palestine border is the largest infrastructure project in Israel’s history. The Israeli government decided to construct this fence in order to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating into Israel, like they had done in years before. However, this barrier comes with much bias on both sides and many consequences. Also, when we look at the two bordering countries, Palestine and Israel, their views on the implementation and efficacy of the barrier wall differ immensely.

    The Israeli Prime Minister at the time of implementation, Ariel Sharon, has said that the “fence is not a political border, it is not a security border, but rather another means to assist in the war on terror.” He says that the purpose of the security fence is to separate two people, the Israelis and Palestinians, and offers them both freedom and security. “The Palestinians in the territories will benefit from the fence because it will reduce the need for Israeli military operations in the territories, and the deployment of troops in Palestinian towns.” The Israeli’s will benefit because their will be no more terrorist attacks. But one of the most controversial aspects of this massive project is the decision that needed to be made regarding the inclusion of Jews and their settlements.

    Some Israelis oppose the fence because they fear it will constitute recognition of the 1949 armistice line as a final border and Jews living in the West Bank argue that they are now being left unprotected, worrying that they might be forced to relocate behind the fence in the time coming. Israel tried to make it clear that they want to include as many Jews within the fence, and as few Palestinians as possible; but on the other hand, the Palestinians say they do not want to live with any Jews and call for the West Bank to be judenrein. However, within these consequences, Israel has states that “the security fence will be an obstacle to terrorism, but not to an agreement with the Palestinians.” But since the construction of the fence began, the number of terrorist attacks to the Israeli’s has declined by more than 90%, so the Prime Minister makes the argument that the fence is saving lives.

    Another controversy of the West Bank is the idea of the Green Line. The Green Line was a line of separation between Israel and Jordan that lasted from 1949 to 1967. Currently it is drawn roughly along the boundary between Israel and the West Bank. The Green Line is crossed by numerous dirt roads and it is impossible to patrol. Many Palestinians take advantage of this and come to work illegally in Israel. Unfortunately, some also cross to carry out terror operations and theft. The Israelis that live along this Green Line favor the fence as it prevents penetration by suicide bombs, but for the Palestinians, it is not the same case. The Palestinians complain that the fence creates “facts on the ground,” but most of the area combined within the fence is expected to be part of Israel in any peace agreements that are to be made with the Palestinians.

    The ultimate goal of this massive security fence and separation barrier was to prevent terrorist infiltration in Israel. It has been said that when the Palestinians stop the violence and negotiate in good faith, it may be possible to remove the fence, move it, or open it in a way that offers freedom of movement. But until that day comes, the wall is there to stay in order to prevent mass bombings and terrorist attacks.

    The articles that I read tend to be more in favor of the Israeli side, and that shows throughout my post. I do not favor one side or the other, so hopefully no hard feelings. I have attached the citations for these articles and websites incase anyone is interested in more details.

    Bard, Mitchell. “West Bank Security Fence: Background & Overview.” Background & Overview of Israel’s Security Fence. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

    “The Wall.” The Wall. Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign, 2011. Web. 16 Sept. 2015

    Vikery, Matthew. “Israel’s Illegal Separation Wall Still Standing 10 Years After International Court of Justice Called for Dismantlement.” Global Research. Middle East Monitor, 2014. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

    • Good discussion and good recognition of the bias. The issues of the Israelis negotiating in good faith is also important, as long as they are supporting and creating new settlements in Palestinian territory there is no good faith from them.

  2. The Israeli-Palestinian separation wall is a huge issue to the two-state solution within the Palestinian territories. Israel erected the wall as a security precaution. They argued that it would help to stop terrorist attacks on civilians. The Israeli Government explains that the wall, “The Security Fence is being built with the sole purpose of saving the lives of the Israeli citizens who continue to be targeted by the terrorist campaign that began in 2000. The fact that over 800 men, women and children have been killed in horrific suicide bombings and other terror attacks clearly justifies the attempt to place a physical barrier in the path of terrorists. It should be noted that terrorism has been defined throughout the international community as a crime against humanity. As such, the State of Israel not only has the right but also the obligation to do everything in its power to lessen the impact and scope of terrorism on the citizens of Israel” (Israel Security Fence 2004).
    Israel also attempts to take a “humanitarian” mindset. They continue to say, in regards to lands being annexed by the wall that, “The path of the Security Fence was planned in accordance with security and humanitarian concerns. It does not annex any lands to Israel nor does it establish any borders, a process that remains a matter for negotiations and should be resolved between the sides. Such was the case in the peace treaty with Jordan in which the border fence was adjusted, by mutual agreement, by 80 meters” (Israel Security Fence 2004).
    This is not the complete truth though; in fact many Palestinians are separated from their farmlands and property. This has not been remedied in anyway and many Palestinians are essentially trapped within the wall. They are allowed, once a year, to get a pass into Israel. These are usually for religious reasons.
    The wall has been a target for numerous types of demonstrations, most notably artistic decorations. The famous artist, Banksy, paint numerous works on the dividing wall. This helped to bring international attention to the wall and raised even more questions of if it’s right or not.
    I personally understand the Israeli point of view, anti-terrorism; it is a similar rhetoric that we hear here in America. However, they are wrong with the placement; the wall encroaches more and more into Palestinian territory, not to mention the mess Israel has made with building settlements. A two-state solution has become more and more complicated due to the “swiss-cheese” type of placement of settlements. Palestine is riddled with Israeli citizens living in occupied territory. The security wall oftentimes encompasses these settlements and further restricts Palestinians from accessing their lands.
    Israel also argues says that there are accommodations for movement of peoples between the area. However, security at the dividing walls is worse than airport security. Palestinians are oftentimes harassed, and in worst-case scenarios, they can be detained without a justified cause. The wall ultimately helps to cripple the Palestinians and will be a huge issue to attempt to resolve whenever a two-state solution is agreed upon.

    Israel Security Fence – Ministry of Defense. (2004). Retrieved September 20, 2015.

  3. The Israel/Palestine Separation Barrier is a contentious issue. This surprises me because the consensus, outside of Israel and friends, is that the wall is illegal and a human rights violation. I, myself, feel unfortunate to live in a nation who supports such a campaign. A campaign which damages the environment, the livelihood of innocent people, the authority of the United Nations, and stability in the region.

    A study, published by Abdallah and Swaileh in the International Journal of Environmental Studies, interviewed regional environmental and biodiversity experts. The results of this portion of the study concluded that the separation wall was threatening biodiversity and environmental sustainability in the region in several ways. Two such ways were through reduced amount of grazing land, leading to overgrazing in other areas, and the need to expand agricultural land, at the expense of the local ecology. It also represented a “fragmentation of ecological areas and corridors,” keeping in mind that this is a natural corridor between three different continents.

    While this study does not represent established scientific fact, it does represent the opinion of experts about matters for which, in general, a resounding pattern seems to be emerging–large scale human activities reduce biodiversity. That being said, so what? What is a potential reduction in biodiversity when compared to the cost of human security? But this question just spawns another question, does this separation wall positively impact peoples security? If so, whose security does it protect and does it do so at the expense of someone else? It seems clear that it will negatively impacts the economic security of Palestinians through reduction of effective agricultural land, in a country whose economy is based primarily on agriculture (Cappellazzi, 2012). But does it effect their security in other ways?

    The main challenge to the barrier is it potentially bars future negotiations. It was unilateral making of physical borders. Although the Israeli government assures everyone that it is open to negotiations about borders and that the barrier does not represent an attempt to unilaterally redraw legal borders, they were upset when President Obama declared pre-1967 borders an initial point to negotiations. Also no one can argue that the wall, along with their superior military power, puts them at a great advantage in future negotiations of the borders. (Loyd, R.B., 2012)

    However, the most compelling argument against the separation wall is that it was ruled as illegal by the International Court of Justice, the primary judicial branch of the UN. Not only did it rule the wall illegal, but that the wall violated the rights of Palestinians to an extent unjustifiable with regard to security and ordered the Israeli government to pay Palestinians for damages due to construction of the wall. (ICJ, 2004) Israel did not agree with these rulings. Some groups within Israel itself oppose the separation wall on grounds of human rights violations and many groups and nations outside of Israel claim the wall is even in violation of the Geneva Conventions. (Loyd, 2012)

    The main argument for the separation wall is that it has been effective in stopping suicide bombings, which was the rationale for the building of the separation wall touted by the popular and formal geopolitics of the day. But was this the practical geopolitics, and is this even true? Although I have not studied this topic in detail, I was unable to find a third party source that claimed this fact. The only sources I saw supporting this were from the Israeli government. But let us assume, for a moment, that there has been exactly the reduction in terrorist attacks that the Israeli government claims since the building of the wall. This would be a correlation between the building of the wall and a reduction in terrorist attacks. But, as all of us are keenly aware, correlation DOES NOT imply causation. Human society is a complex system and, as such, it is entirely possible that the separation wall has little to do with the reduction of terrorist attacks. I posit the number of terrorist attacks might have gone down in spite of the separation wall–which has certainly caused a great deal of tension and could have been a barrier to peace. It is hard to argue that a barrier to peace is good for Israeli security.

    Yes, there are a lot of biases with regard to the Israeli West Bank barrier but there are at least two facts: the wall is in violation of international law and that environmental scientists, with experience in the region, say the wall will impact the environment, particularly the amount of biodiversity, negatively. What is not necessarily fact is whether or not the separation wall has improved Israeli security.

    Abdallah, T., & Swaileh, K. (2011). Effects of the Israeli Segregation Wall on biodiversity and environmental sustainable development in the West Bank, Palestine. International Journal Of Environmental Studies, 68(4), 543-555. doi:10.1080/00207233.2011.608504

    Lloyd, R. B. (2012). On the Fence: Negotiating Israel’s Security Barrier. Journal Of The Middle East & Africa, 3(2), 198-214. doi:10.1080/21520844.2012.741039

    International Court of Justice (ICJ). (2004). Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. Reports. 136.

    Cappellazzi, Marcello. “Agriculture in Palestine: A Post-Oslo Analysis.” Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR). 2012. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. .

  4. The Israeli and Palestine wall has created a great deal of controversy between the two-state solutions that lie within the Palestinian territories. Hundreds of bombings and attacks against the Israel citizens have occurred and have killed more than 1,000 people and wounded even more. In response, Israel decided to build a “security fence” near and around the “Green Line,” between Israel and the West Bank of Palestine. Before the wall was built, terrorist of Palestine would only have to walk across an unseen line from West Bank into Israel. “Approximately 75 percent of the suicide bombers who attacked targets inside Israel came from across the invisible boarder (Bard).” When there was no boarder, the Israelis were very vulnerable to an attack from the Palestinians. “Now, since the construction of the fence, the attacks have decreased by 90 percent and the number of Israelis murdered has decreased by 70 percent and the number of wounded Israelis has decreased by 85 percent after the construction of the fence (Bard).” Also, along the “Green Line” Palestinians would go to work in Israel illegally and steal and cars and trucks along with farm machinery and animals from Israel civilians. “Israelis that live along the Wall and Green Line favor the fence because has prevented the theft and bombing and also has allowed a significant increase in the economic activity for Israel (Bard).”

    From what I can see, the intentions of Israel was to built the fence around Palestine’s West Bank to keep out and restrict the suicide bombers trying to keep the deaths and injuries down to a minimum. Also, the fence is trying to help keep the crime at and around the Green Line to a minimum.

    However, the wall has had an effect on the Palestinians. “The barrier has disrupted the flow of goods, people, and services to Palestine. Due to the flow being disrupted, Palestine’s economy is facing a depression (Specific Issue).” In Palestine, poverty rates have increased since the building of the wall. Also, Palestinians have lost rich land because it is on the other side of the green line and they have become unemployed. “The Palestinians have lost and estimated 28 million dollars in agricultural production which is what Palestinians have become dependent on. The wall has destroyed 63 shops that were around the Green Line by Israeli which was a great deal of income for some communities of the Palestinians (Specific Issue).” Because the Palestinians have land on the other side of the barrier, they have not received permits from Israeli authorities to cross the wall, which means they are out of work, and do not have access to their own farmland, which could lead to poverty of some Palestinians. And last, Israel has been cutting off 65 percent of the water sources that were once available to the Palestinians. “Israel has been accused of the de facto annexation of Palestinian land but the Israel Supreme Court rejects these accusations saying the barrier does not violate the water agreement that were set previously (Specific Issue).”

    From a Palestinian perspective, Israel has been taking advantage of having the wall not letting them access their own land that they have owned for probably generations. Israel is driving Palestine into depression and poverty trying to crash their economy. They are not letting anyone cross or access even water sources for the Palestinian people.

    However, although there are terrorist attacks by the Palestinians, I do not however think that Israel should be taking advantage of Palestinian civilians and not letting them access water sources and even their own farm land that they grow crops and manage cattle. I think there should be a equal compromise. I do think the wall is good for the attacks, but there should be a way that they can approach the wall and get past it to keep farming on their land.

    Bard, Mitchell. “West Bank Security Fence: Background & Overview.” Background & Overview of Israel’s Security Fence. 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.
    “Nations Borders Identities Conflict.” – Specific Issue. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

  5. The first segment of the Israel and Palestine Wall, also known as the West Bank Barrier, was first completed in June 2003 after construction for the wall began in 2000. The Israeli government created the wall in response to the increasing number of terrorist attacks by Palestinians on the Israeli people. Close to a thousand Israelis have died because of these attacks, and many more have been wounded. Israel’s reason behind building the barrier was to minimalize the terrorist attacks coming in from the West Bank and protect its citizens, but according to Shaul E. Cohen, “the Palestinians view the wall as a land grab, intended to create a de facto annexation of land to Israel” (Cohen, 2006). The construction of the fence has stirred up controversy from around the world and has created bias on which side, the Israeli’s or Palestinian’s views of the wall, is right.

    Terrorist attacks continue to still plague our world today and it is something that can very easily strike fear in a nation. According to a propaganda website run by the Israeli government favoring the use of the fence, they claim that “no other nation in the world has ever faced such an intense wave of terror, especially in the form of suicide bombings” (Israeli Diplomatic Network, 2004), and that the Palestinian government has encouraged the killings by terrorists. Although the Israelis claim such things, the fence has in face been able to prevent the number of attacks on Israeli people. According to the website, from September 2000 to August 2003, when the fence was first being built, there were 73 attacks and from August 2003 to the end of 2006, there were only 12 attacks on Israelis. There is no doubt that the barrier has decreased the number of attacks and has also given Israel the perfect way to promote the wall as the perfect security barrier. But that is just Israel’s side to the story.

    For the most part, from a map view of the where it lies, the barrier follows the Green-line that separates the West Bank from Israel, but it diverges from the path in many parts in order to include Israeli settlements and exclude Palestinian settlements, which in some cases ends up separating Palestinians from Palestinians resulting in restricted access to areas that they were once able to move about freely in. Israel claims that the barrier is only “roughly 6 percent solid wall’ (Cohen, 2006) and that the rest comprises of roads, fences, and other obstacles, which still doesn’t make it any easier for the Palestinian people to cross. Still the 6 percent of solid wall crosses through Palestinian communities and separates people from their work, schools, and even farmland. The final objection that the Palestinian people and most of the international world have, is that the “wall is constructed on occupied land, and Israel has no right to act in this manner outside its sovereign territory” (Cohen, 2006).

    Is Israel right in trying to prevent terrorist attack against their people? Of course, but the way that they are doing it is morally wrong. As Israel says that the wall is only for a security measure, it does in face take land away from Palestine and give it to Israel, and the wall is in a sense a border between Israel and Palestine. Hopefully this issue of the barrier can be solved, but the likelihood of it happening soon is in my opinion very slim.

  6. The Israeli West Bank barrier is a separation barrier built by Israel on the West Bank along the 1949 Armistice Line or Green Line. The creation of this separation barrier was first proposed in 1992 by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Then, in 1995, the Shahal commission was created to determine how to implement the proposed separation barrier. In 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak approved that 74km of the barrier was to be built between Wadi Ara and Latrun. The construction of the barrier officially began on April 14, 2002. Since then, the barrier has continued to grow in size and scope. At this time, more than 500 kilometers of the barrier has been built. When the wall is completed, it will have a total length of around 800 kilometers. Israel argues that it is being built to protect civilians from acts of Palestinian terrorism such as suicide bombings. Before the wall was being built, there were 73 suicide bombings between 2000 and 2003. After the completion of the first continuous segment, only 12 attacks were carried out between 2003 and 2006. They also claim that every effort is being made to exclude Palestinian villages from the area within the fence, and that no territories are being annexed. They also claim that the land used in building the security fence or separation barriers is being seized for military purposes, not confiscated, and that it remains the property of the owner. They also say that legal procedures are already in place to allow every owner to file an objection to the seizure of their land. In addition, Israel has budgeted $540 million to ease the lives of Palestinians affected by the fence by building extra roads, passageways, and tunnels.

    Opponents of the wall argue that the wall has destroyed a significant portion of Palestinian farmland and usurped water supplies, including the biggest aquifer in the West Bank. 78 Palestinian villages and communities with a total population of 266,442 people will be isolated due to the building of the wall. They argue that it is a de facto annex of large parts of the West Bank. Nearly 85% of the wall is located in the West Bank. They say that when the wall is finished, it will annex around 46% of the west Bank, isolating communities into Bantustans, ghettos, and military zones.

    Personally, I believe the truth lies somewhere between the two sides arguing for and against the wall. I believe that the wall is in fact playing a significant role in reducing terrorist attacks inside of Israel. But, I also believe that when deciding where to build the wall, Israel is taking advantage of the system. They’re building the wall in such a way that they are able to gain a considerable amount of land, while also being able to write it off as protecting its people. I mean, let’s be honest, if you can kill 2 birds with one stone, why not? It isn’t like anyone is going to do anything to stop them from what they’ve been doing. They are legitimately helping to protect their people. They’re also just doing it in an ethically gray area and gaining land that arguably isn’t theirs to own.

    Citations:
    Bard, Mitchell. “West Bank Security Fence: Background & Overview.” Background & Overview of Israel’s Security Fence. 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Sept. 2015. .

    Parry, Nigel. “Is It a Fence? Is It a Wall? No, It’s a Separation Barrier.” The Electronic Intifada. 31 July 2003. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. .

    “The Wall.” The Wall. Web. 21 Sept. 2015. .

  7. The West Bank Barrier is a wall built to separate the West Bank from the State of Israel. The barrier is being constructed along and to the east of the “Green Line” of the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and her neighbors for the stated purpose of keeping terrorists from being able to carry out attacks against Israelis. Discussion of the creation of a physical barrier separating the Israeli and Palestinian populace occurred among Israeli leaders throughout the 1990s and construction finally began in 2002 under then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Construction of the barrier is ongoing and the planned length of the barrier is approximately 420 miles and features a complex network of electronically sensitive fencing, stacked barbwire coils, concrete walls, sniper towers, ditches, patrol roads, and trace roads for detecting footprints. The barrier also has the distinction of being the most expensive and impactful infrastructure project undertaken by the state of Israel.

    Construction of the wall is claimed by Israel to be in direct response to terrorist actions against the people of Israel by Palestinian extremists. The Israeli Ministry of Defense cites the hundreds of lives lost to Palestinian suicide bombing which “clearly justifies the attempt to place a physical barrier in the path of the terrorists.” It was reported that more than 400 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks in 2002, and Israelis say the barrier was one of the main reasons that Palestinian attacks dropped off sharply in the years that followed.

    Others, however, see the barrier as an attempt to further marginalize and disadvantage the Palestinian people. The fact that barrier is being constructed east of the Green Line, rather than on it means that Palestinian land is necessarily being taken in order to build it. This is seen by some as an attempt to take land for Israeli settlements and alter the regional demographics in Israel’s favor. Much of the international community has decried the barrier as a human rights violation against the Palestinians. The UN in 2003 issued a report that decried the barrier as an unlawful act of annexation and warned of around 200,000 Palestinians that would be effectively cut off from many vital social services. The International Court of Justice has long condemned Israeli settlement in the West Bank region and in 2004 raised compelling questions of demography and population balance barrier caused by the project.

    The question of Israel/Palestine is incredibly complex and has become increasingly more so since its inception with the founding of the Israeli State in Palestine in 1948. In that time much has been lost on both sides of the conflict and it seems as though a tenable outcome will simply not be agreed upon by the primary players, despite much outcry from grass roots movements as well as the international community at large. This wall is a symptom of a serious problem and need be removed if peace is ever to be reached between Israel and Palestine.

    “Israel Security Fence – Ministry of Defense.” Israel Security Fence – Ministry of Defense. State of Israel, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

    “Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict | Middle East Research and Information Project.” Primer on Palestine, Israel and the Arab-Israeli Conflict | Middle East Research and Information Project. MERIP, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

    “A Decade In The Making, West Bank Barrier Is Nearly Complete.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2015

  8. I’ve always been a peacekeeper, even when I was a kid. It’s something that makes sense to me, which is why I dislike basically all politicians. When this topic comes up, I tend to avoid it because I am guaranteed to either cause someone to relentlessly try to win me over or someone to get offended. I look at the situation with Israelis and Palestinians as one where the fear-mongers have won. When commenting on the intentions and efficacy of the Israel/Palestine Wall, the only thing I can say that feels genuine is that I believe that the intentions have a small amount of legitimacy, but I don’t have any confidence in the efficacy of the Wall.
    In several of the articles I’ve read, the justification for the wall is for the “protection” of Israel. They have that right, in my opinion, because it seems like they’ve ticked off quite a few people and are a small state in the middle of many countries who hate them because of tensions that literally go back to biblical times and aren’t going to go away, no matter which side extends an olive branch. That being said, the way they are going about “protecting” themselves is creating more tension, which only causes them to have more enemies in the long run. So far, they have been building the wall beyond their borders, through farmland and villages that belong to Palestinians. If they truly view this as a security issue, it would make sense for them to build it on their own border, rather than encroaching onto Palestinian territory. There are many articles which talk about the death of protestors, even children, who protested the wall. Shooting innocent civilians won’t win Israelis friends at the end of the day.
    I could easily go on about how I think that Israel has the right to protect itself, and how they don’t have any “friends” in the middle east. I could also rant about how horrible they are for taking over Palestinian land and for treating the Palestinians as they do, but I’m not. I think the truth is always somewhere in the middle. I think that both sides have legitimate complaints, and that the hate/fear mongers who only have a job as long as people are hating/fearing each other capitalized on the tensions between the two. The only difference is that Israel has the power, money and military to do what they want with their fears. If the Palestinians could do exactly what Israel is doing, I have absolutely NO DOUBT they would behave in the same way, because I think they have just as much hate and fear of the Israelis as the Israelis do of them. It’s like the professor mentioned in class when she talked about a state needing to have power. If one of the “important” nations recognizes you, have some power. If Palestine had friends a Israel does, and also had the resources, we’d see articles on how horribly Palestine was treating Israel. Those who have the ability to have the upper hand, generally become the bad guys. Those who don’t have the upper hand, play victim until they gain it, then they are the bad guys. It’s a never ending cycle.

    Works Cited

    “Is It a Fence? Is It a Wall? No, It’s a Separation Barrier.” The Electronic Intifada. N.p., 31 July 2003. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

    “Israeli High Court Freezes Plan to Build Separation Wall through West Bank Village of Battir.” Mondoweiss. N.p., 07 Jan. 2015. Web. 19 Sept. 2015.

    “Walled Off: 12 Years of Israel’s Separation Barrier.” Walled Off: 12 Years of Israel’s Separation Barrier. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2015.

  9. The Palestinian/Israeli apartheid wall was simply erected to prevent the amount of suicide bombing occurrences. Undeniably there has been a 90% reduction in the amount of bombings that have occurred. There has been much debate as to whether or not the wall is ethically correct on a humanitarian scale, seeing as the region has been clouded in religious conflict since the dawn of time.
    Depending on whom you speak to it either seems that the Jewish Israelis are trying to steal the promise land from all Palestinians by the use of a large wall. Or that the Palestinians are trying to claim land that is not their own. Undoubtedly the nation of Israel is far better off than it’s neighbor Palestine, and this creates social tension on top of the existing theological dispute. Both feel that they wholeheartedly own the region of their “promised land” and have been in conflict about so for some time now. The latest edition of a wall to keep Palestinians out of Israel is just another note in history for the land dispute taking place in the middle east. A great argument brought up by the Palestinians is that they occupied the land first, but in reality the region was giant crossroad for multiple Empires. People such as the Persians, Arabs and Egyptians all traveled through this region, therefore a lot of genetic intermixing had since occurred. Thus rendering the fact that both the Jews and Palestinians realistically had stake in the land through common ancestors originating in the region.
    Given the historical context of the region it’s pretty easy to see how one side may feel that great injustice has been dealt to the and that they will never received the land promised to them. Whether or not the wall was used as a ploy to take more land from Palestine as well as defend Israel’s borders is beyond me. However I do feel that efficacy the wall did its job with no doubt. On a humanitarian sense it blocks individuals from crossing into Israel to receive aid and other benefits of life that one may not receive in Palestine, or even a way to escape the turmoil and danger of the country as well. In my eyes I see the creation of a wall an acceptable method of defense and more ethical than attacking targeted individuals of Palestine. I also feel that for the two to ever reach a compromise people will have to stop resorting to asinine methods such as suicide bombing.

    I don’t have answers to all the problems here, but I do know that I feel the creation of a wall is a step towards controlling the chaos ensuing in the region. Could the wall have been more sensitively placed to not “encroach” onto the Palestinians claimed territory? Perhaps so. Is it a complete atrocity and burden to the Palestinian people? Frankly I don’t believe so, much worse has been dealt to them in the past and the only proper way to resolve the matter is through nonviolent acts. Granted the radicals don’t speak for the population in this case, more could be done to protect themselves from being pooled into the mix.

  10. In the era of Trumpolitik walls have resurfaced into the political conversation as instruments of maintaining national security. A little over a decade ago, however, Israel’s construction of a wall on the West Bank further embittered the already precarious tensions between Israel and Palestine. Israel justified the wall as a security measure aimed at preventing Palestinian terrorist attacks. Ariel Sharon insisted that the wall did not constitute a political boundary. But as the wall’s construction dipped into territory eastwards of the Green Line and into lands occupied by Palestinians, the perception of an Israeli land-grab grew.

    The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled in 2004 that Israel’s actions violated international law; the majority of foreign states agreed with the ICJ’s ruling. Even the Bush administration joined the chorus of criticism with Colin Powell saying, “If you want to put a fence on something that is a recognised border, the Green Line, then put a fence on your property line. But the more you intrude in Palestinian areas, (…) prejudge[ing] subsequent negotiations as to what a Palestinian state may look like, that’s a problem” (The Economist, October 2003). Despite such criticisms, Israel’s construction has advanced and remains a work-in-progress today.

    Palestinians are effectively cut off from traveling freely, limiting their access to “workplaces, land, schools, hospitals, holy sites and relatives” (The Economist, July 2004). These distinctions are made evident in the picture posted in the bottom right corner of the blog post where the two sides of the wall are contrasted in terms of development: paved roads versus dirt roads, vehicular mobility versus walking on foot.

    Consequentially, Israel’s primary objective of reducing terrorist attacks from the West Bank has been achieved. Palestinians argue that the wall acts as a means for illegal Israeli occupation. Israel insists that the West Bank’s status remains in dispute and is an issue that must be settled sometime in the future. Terms of a settlement that serves the interests of both sides grow increasingly dim as the wall remains. Zionist logic advanced by Ze’ev Jabotinsky advances this claim. He writes that Jews must “build an iron wall” to indicate to the Arab world that they do not have any intentions to leave. After a generation of isolation, Palestinians will have no choice but to accept Jewish sovereignty. Jabotinsky points out that “the only way to achieve a settlement in the future is the total avoidance of all attempts to arrive at a settlement in the present” (The Iron Wall, 1923).

    The writings of Jabotinsky have materialized into reality. Sharon and other Israeli politicians claimed that the wall would allow Palestinians to develop their own cultural and geographic space. The past decade has proven the naïve elements of such thinking. Palestinian youths are more likely to be radicalized as the wall continues to enforce disproportionate freedoms and opportunities. Israel insists that the wall is a temporary measure and its effects will be adjusted once Israel and Palestine are finally able to negotiate a settlement.

    By tying the question of the wall’s timeline to that of the current territorial dispute, temporary becomes indefinite, distrust persists, and notions of Israel expanding its political boundaries continue as the psychology of separation becomes as real as two different sides of a wall.

    Citations:

    “A safety measure or a land grab?” Economist 9 Oct. 2003. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

    “Israel’s Illegal but Unstoppable Barrier.” Economist 12 July 2004. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

    Jabotinsky, Ze’ev. “The Iron Wall.” Razsviet 11 Apr. 1923. Web. 20 Sept. 2015

  11. The Israeli-Palestine Security Wall or Separation Fence has been and will remain a hot issue as two groups battle for the rights and protection that they believe they are entitled to. The wall was created as a defense against the onslaught of terrorist attacks by Palestinian bombers, with the construction of the wall came a decrease in attacks, though the wall there were other factors in play in this situation. Moshe Arens, a former Israel Secretary of Defense, stated that “the increase of IDF presence have reduced the attacks, not the wall.” The wall may be seen as a source of protection for the Israeli people but there is more to the wall then appears. The Israeli knew that the construction of the wall might hinder peace talks, but still went on with its construction.

    The wall has caused many problems and burdens for the Palestinian people during a time when peace negotiations were in talks, but true peace is hard to obtain, so it may have appeared easier to separate the ‘problem’. Palestinians believe that it is meant to confine the people to certain areas and in ways reduce their freedoms. Many are required to have residence permits to live in the homes that they always have been in. As well, as the loss of basic necessities, such as healthcare and emergency night care. There are many villages and communities that the walls construction has blocked routes to hospitals and made travel time longer to get these services. These basics rights and services have been altered for many and though the Israelis say that they are correcting and helping with the issues, it has yet to be seen for many of these communities.

    Palestinians have also suffered the loss of land in the building of the wall, the state needed lands and some of those lands belonged to Palestinian people and were taken from them. On top of the land lost, many have been separated from their farmlands. Many Palestinian communities find that their primary source of income is from farming and with the wall they are unable to get to these lands so that they may be farmed. Israel says that they have made these lands assessable to the farmers, so that may continue their work. Though the farmlands are not all that have been separated from the Palestinians, there are places of work and learning have been difficult for the people to reach. The gates and checkpoints have made travel times significantly longer and some places even unable for people to get to. Palestinian people have lost much from the construction of the wall, all for the protection of others.

    The walls main purpose is to keep the Israeli people safe from those who might wish them harm, but there are ways around this barrier. Mustafa Boughouti, a Palestinian political leader, stated that “I managed to cross and penetrate the wall and go to Jerusalem, and they couldn’t stop me,” the wall for many years wasn’t complete and people were still able to cross over and to this day still manage to get through. The wall has stopped some, but has fostered the rise in missile attacks, people will find a way around an obstacle. In turn, it became so much more than a form of protection, it became a separation wall. A wall built to protect some and in ways exile others. Construction may have been started to deter suicide bombings, but has ended up representing and preventing so much more.

    Bard, Mitchell. “West Bank Security Fence: Background and Overview.” American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

    Harris, Emily. “A Decade In The Making, West Bank Barrier Is Nearly Complete.” NPR, 22 May 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

    Tirza, Col. (Res.) Dr. Danny. “Israeli Security Fence Architect: Why The Barrier Had To Be Built.” Al Monitor, 1 July 2012. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

  12. The Israeli Separation Wall, also often referred to as the Apartheid Wall or the Israeli West Bank Barrier, is a separation wall built by Israel that is partially constructed along the 1949 Armistice Line, or “Green Line” in the West Bank. Highly disputed by Palestine, the wall is a major source of discontent between the two nations, as Israel contends it was built to decrease the risk and frequency of suicide bombings and other terroristic acts, while opponents to the wall assert that it was built to annex Palestine and that the wall severely impedes with travel, has resulted in a loss of land for Palestinians, and has had significant negative economic impact.

    Construction on the wall began in June of 2002 and continues today with 30% of the wall still incomplete. The wall runs partly along the 1949 Green Line, with a whopping 85% of the wall running inside of the West Bank territory and 10% lying around the West Bank, which includes 82 settlements, 400,000 settlers and 8 industrial zones. The largest infrastructure in Israel’s history and costing an estimated two million dollars per meter, the wall, once completed, will be approximately 422 miles long (twice as long as the 199-mile-long Green Line), and up to 25-feet-high at certain points. The Israeli government reasons that the significant deviation from the Green Line is in part due to geographical restrictions and impediments, and also that following the Armistice Line would not take into accounts the “demographic changes” that have occurred since 1949, in obvious reference to Jewish settlements in the region.

    The wall consists of two main sections, made of either concrete or fencing. The majority of the wall is made of a concrete base with 16-foot-high wire and mesh superstructure, razor wire, and a 13-foot-deep ditch line one side. The structure is also fitted with electronic ground/fence sensors, thermal imaging and video cameras, sniper towers in some areas, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

    Israel’s government argues that the wall was built to protect their citizens from would-be Palestinian suicide bombers at the height of the intifada in the early 2000s, and cites a drop in attacks as proof of its success. However, many objections have been voiced to the wall, and critics say the plan is the epitome of everything that is wrong with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and the country’s approach to possible peace with its Arab neighbors.

    While Israel insists the wall is simply a “security” measure that could be altered or removed at will, the International Court of Justice states that the route threatens to create “de facto annexation” and inhibits the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. However, the court’s decision, which came at the request of the UN, is only advisory and not binding, and the Israeli government has since rejected it. Civil rights groups have also appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, questioning the principle with which Israel built the barrier on occupied land, and the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians in the West Bank. In June of 2004, the court specifically stated that Israel must limit Palestinian suffering, even if that involved accepting some limitations on its ability to defend itself, but also noted that they understand the reasoning for security implementations. A second ruling in September of 2005 ordered a reconsideration of the route around the area south of Qalqilya, where several Palestinian villages have been isolated on the Israeli side of the barrier, which has devastated the local economy.

    Determining the efficacy of the wall is a very-fine, double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s comprehensible to build a wall in order to protect the lives of citizens from the harrows of terroristic acts that they might possibly face. Suicide bombings have decreased since the creation of the wall, though the numbers being reported come from questionable and biased sources. On the other hand, it is easy to sympathize with Palestinians whose lives have been severely disrupted or may be disrupted in the future by the barrier. From the readings, I tend to lean slightly more to the Palestinian side, as it certainly appears through past Israeli actions that the wall may quite possibly become a new border, in which the implications of that could be catastrophic, with upwards of 210,000 Palestinians living between the wall and Israel facing a severance from social services, schools, and places of work.

    “Q&A: What is the West Bank Barrier?” BBC. 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3111159.stm

    “Walled off: 12 years of Israel’s separation barrier” Mairav Zonszein. Al Jazeera. 2014. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/3/12/visual-activism-activestillsphotographsthebarrierwall.html

    “Is it a fence? Is it a Wall? No, it’s a Separation Barrier.” Nigel Parry. The Electronic Intifada. 2003. https://electronicintifada.net/content/it-fence-it-wall-no-its-separation-barrier/4715

    “Did Israeli apartheid wall really stop suicide bombings?” Ben White. The Electronic Intifada. 2014. https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/did-israeli-apartheid-wall-really-stop-suicide-bombings

  13. In response to discussing the intentions and efficacy of the Israeli government’s construction of the wall, I would like to provide a slightly different account of many of the replies that have already been posted. Firstly, the Israeli government did begin constructing the wall in 2000 in response to increasing bombings and threats during the second intifada which began after the Oslo Accords had been wrapped up in 1999. The idea was to curb terrorism to keep Israeli citizens safe, but at the same time, solidified the sovereignty that the state of Israel now possesses. As we read in Popescu’s writings on borders, the concept of a border, let alone a physical barrier, can represent the collective sovereignty of that nation. The wall does not just exist along the West Bank, but also, an earlier constructed wall exists separating the Gaza Strip from Israel proper. These barriers come with very elaborate systems of checkpoints that allow the Israeli government to construct method of “security,” that can often be deemed of questionable ethics. Now, along with the Israel-Gaza barrier and the Israel/West Bank barrier, there are also barriers that surround the illegal settlements within the West Bank, most complete with walls, watchtowers, security checkpoints, and actually separate roads designed for settlers only. These roads have extremely elaborate walled systems all along them, some which seem to intentionally block the view of Palestinian towns (I have seen this from driving on these settler roads!). But aside from introducing these systems, I want to explain the true meaning of the wall as being a “security fence”, by first approaching the wall as a system of social and economic division and oppression.

    If you cross through Qalandia checkpoint from Jerusalem, you will probably see a new car lot called “نيو كارس” which literally says “New Cars”. All of the cars are covered in dust. Some of the dust is from a nearby quarry, but is exacerbated in the summer time due to a very unequal water allocation for Palestinians in the West Bank, causing extremely dry and dusty soil. On the Israeli side of Qalandia in Jerusalem, you’ll see grass and sprinklers and shiny new car lots.

    The point that I am trying to illustrate is one of Israel’s economic privilege to construct a wall. Before 1948 and the creation of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Israeli paramilitary troops as Lehi, Haganah, and Irgun took up arms and committed acts of terrorism toward Palestinian communities, including the Dir Yassin massacre and the Lydda massacre, which each killed over a hundred people. Why then could Palestine not construct a wall to keep Israeli terrorists out? Because the occupier’s territory was not in question. It was being obtained, not defended. The historical developments of the Israeli border have developed greatly since 1948 from major events such as the 1967 six-day war, the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the Oslo accords, which led to the construction of these modern barriers. All throughout these, the state of Israel has been funded by western powers, namely the United States. Palestine receives small amounts of foreign aid, but comparatively less than Israel. The economic feasibility of Palestine constructing its own barrier would be out of the question, and the area around which to construct it would be difficult to determine. Israel’s privilege to create a wall is indicative of their status as a colonial nation: it physically seals in sovereignty and promotes internal ambiguity of Palestinian Territories for common Israeli citizens. My friends Nadav and Batel, both whom grew up in Israel, didn’t know they we allowed to enter the Palestinian Territories, nor did they know that it actually isn’t that unsafe for them. This leads me to another point that Popescu touches on: terrorism as a legitimization of border security and a standardized system of Othering.

    When I went through Qalandia checkpoint, they looked at my passport for 15 seconds smiled and waved me on. I had a very large military style bag, and they didn’t question me of any of its contents or look inside of it. However, three Palestinian women before me had their permits for Ramadan and were heading to al-Quds for the day and had a bag of fruit. (My friend’s wife Maysoun received her permit to enter Jerusalem this year for Ramadan after years of being rejected each year. It is not easy to get a permit and your permit can be rejected on spot, depending on the guard’s mood.) The guards held them up for over 20 minutes, questioning the nature of the bag of fruit. They made several phone calls and even pulled a young 9 year old girl into a separate room for questioning. They finally sent back two of the women and let the rest go on. 15 seconds for a giant bag, 20 minutes for a bag of fruit. I am a white American male working in the West Bank for Palestinian food sovereignty. They were Palestinian females visiting Jerusalem on a nice day. Let that sink in.
    What is wrong with this picture?

    Imagine being a resident of Oklahoma, and every time you tried to enter a federally-used building, you were questioned and sometimes denied, even if you were a good person and were appalled by the Oklahoma City bombing. Not too fair, right?

    The justification of Othering based on terrorism, as Popescu discusses, detracts from other issues at hand, like state hunger and poverty, and garnishes a sense of threat in a state’s citizens against an entire population. That is some *extreme* generalization. This use pushes a state’s legitimacy, gives it the ability to justify citizen surveillance and high security/defense spending, and sets up a system (as in Israel’s case) of a privilege hierarchy which is as follows: Israeli passport holders have all access passes, blue card holders can have most access, but will be subjected to questioning when possible, and green card holders have to pay all this money to leave through Jordan, and can live only in their designated space.

    I want to talk about all the discussion around comparing Palestine to Bantustan, but that is for another time.

    I want to conclude by posing the following questions: if this were for security purposes, why has Palestine’s traffic management system and road system become so much more inefficient? Why is one not actually able to see the dome of the rock from the West Bank side of the wall when you used to be able to? Why can white people drive on settler roads when anyone of color is stopped and questioned? Why are harmless Palestinians wrongfully detained for months when caught on the other side for visiting family? Why is water distribution incredibly unequal? Why are Israeli manufacturing companies exploiting Palestinian labor at places like Atarot? Why are Palestinians given permits to cross at all? Why did my Christian Palestinian friends get permits during Ramadan when my Muslim friends did not?
    Why is there still racism in Israel against Palestinians if this is just a “security fence” and not an elaborate legitimization of sovereignty that practices a new form of apartheid?

  14. The wall or “security fence” along the West Bank was created in mid 2000’s in order to help reduce terrorist bombings in Israel. The Terrorist attacks, which was mostly suicide bombers,came from the Palestinian side of the border. The need for increased border control was needed since so many innocent people were being murdered(over 1000 have been reported to been killed), but was building a wall the answer? Since there is so much biased on the internet on this subject, i’m cautious to quote specific stats on the effects that the wall is having verses terrorism in Israel. Most sites have cited that the wall is helping protect innocent lives, I tend to believe that this is indeed the case. Attacks along the wall still frequently occur. In this case I feel like the wall is accomplishing its overall objective. I believe that it is better for these attacks to happen along the wall, then in more populated areas that could be accessed if terrorist were able to roam freely within Israeli borders.

    For all the good the wall was designed to do, there are plenty of political ramifications that are happening as well. Tensions between the Palestine and Israeli governments are already at a high level, and building a wall in order to keep one side out does not help things. Throughout history walls,fences,demilitarized zones, and other artificial boundaries have seemed to only help destabilize the areas they are designed to protect. The Berlin wall, and the Korean militarized zone has separated families and people from the same country for decades. Even powerful nations such as the United States there is discussion to create walls. One of the biggest selling points of presidential candidates is to build a wall with other countries. If countries like the United States are even considering it to keep out illegal immigrants, then Israel has every right to build the wall to keep out bombers. I usually believe that walls for boundaries are a bad idea, but in this case I think the Israeli government is justified to build it. Protecting the lives of the citizens of the state should be the highest priority of a government. I personally can’t think of a better way to keep out potential bombers then what the Israel have used. I realize that Palestine is upset by the wall, but as long as they allow terrorist to do such things to Israel, then I don’t think they are in any position to complain about it. According to Globalpolicy.org, the wall actually extends deeply into Palestinian territory and has annexed several Palestine areas as a result. If this source is indeed accurate then the wall needs to come down in certain areas and placed back into areas that actually belong to Israel. Peace in the area is the only true solution to this ongoing problem, but in this area of the world the chances of that ever truly happening are slim. Since having true peace isn’t an option then you must find ways to protect yourself and wall seems to be an important line of defense for Israel.

    So ultimately my position on this subject is that Israel has every right to protect itself with this wall, but they should keep it on their own territory and not use it for an excuse to claim areas that belong to Palestine.

    Cory Snyder

    Sources used:
    Global Policy.org
    https://www.globalpolicy.org/security-council/index-of-countries-on-the-security-council-agenda/israel-palestine-and-the-occupied-territories/land-and-settlement-issues.html

    For General background on the wall and general situation i used:
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/fence.html

  15. After the failure of the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine at the White House in 1993 that resulted in the Oslo Accord, the Israelis believed that a physical barrier between the two nations was the only way to prevent the recurring terrorist attacks that had been killing Israeli men, women, and children for years (The Oslo Accords). Construction of the West Bank separation barrier began in 2002 at the order of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a means to protect Israel from these attacks (Zonszein). The Palestinians, however, saw the wall as Israel’s veiled attempt to take control of the West Bank land. The 400+ mile long wall stretches along the boundary between Israel and the West Bank, but there are several places along the wall that cross deep into the West Bank—land that the Palestinians had hoped would be a part of their future state. Many Palestinian politicians believe that the wall was an unnecessary step in peace between the two nations (Harris).

    There is much controversy on both sides (literally) of the wall. Right-wing Israeli politicians were not supportive of building any structure that would serve as a future “Israeli-Palestinian border which left Jewish settlements stranded in Palestinian land.” Other critics argue that the construction of such a barrier extinguishes all hope of peace between Israel and Palestine and is simply a physical manifestation of the problem of Israel occupying Palestinian land. Many Palestinians have been cut off from their farmland and consequently their livelihood by the construction of the wall (Q&A).

    The barrier has also isolated many Palestinians in Israeli territory. Thousands of Palestinians are displaced and facing expulsion from their land because of the location of the wall. Many Palestinians are now cut off from schools, health care, and other basic social services (The Impact).

    From what I’ve gathered from the different articles that I’ve read, it seems that Israel originally attempted a peaceful compromise with the Oslo Accords in order to protect their citizens. The continuing terrorist attacks left them with very few options, and building a physical barrier seemed to be the best solution. The problem is that the discussion about border for the wall didn’t include Palestine. Palestinians were cut off from their livelihood and social services, and essentially isolated and displaced by a wall that they had no part in building.

    The underlying problem is the fact that there are two different nations without clearly drawn legal borders that are occupying pockets of territory within one another. Both ethnic groups of people have occupied their current land for so long that any kind of compromise greatly takes away from both groups. A solution seems impossible, and any attempt seems to only further add to the tension between Israel and Palestine. The UN has taken a stance, but done little to enforce it, and the international community is simply standing by while people are suffering and dying over territorial disputes. I think that the lack of intervention by other world leaders is what has brought this conflict to where it is today.

    Harris, Emily. “A Decade In The Making, West Bank Barrier Is Nearly Complete.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

    “The Impact of the Separation Barrier on Refugees in Jerusalem.” The Electronic Intifada. N.p., 23 Jan. 2004. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

    “The Oslo Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process – 1993–2000 – Milestones – Office of the Historian.” The Oslo Accords and the Arab-Israeli Peace Process – 1993–2000 – Milestones – Office of the Historian. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

    “Q&A: What Is the West Bank Barrier?” BBC News. BBC, 15 Sept. 2005. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

    Zonszein, Mairav. “Walled Off: 12 Years of Israel’s Separation Barrier.” Walled Off: 12 Years of Israel’s Separation Barrier. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

    • Good discussion, but also remember, the Israelis are violating the Oslo Accords by expanding and increasing the number of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

  16. The Israel and Palestine Separation Wall has been an idea in the works since day one. The Separation Wall is looked at very differently by the people it separates and the ones whom demanded it be built. The desire for a barrier such as the Separation Wall was a result of the first and second Intifadas that occurred in the region starting in 1987. The first Intifada brought Israel under pressure to really begin negotiations with Palestine. This pressure brought them to the table during the 1993, Oslo Accord. Following this agreement, the second Intifada brought an outbreak of violence to the region yet again in 2000.

    Now, Israel is in a position that requires them to protect their own citizens, regardless of the Israel’s legitimacy of their state according to Palestine perspective. In comes the idea of creating the barriers that Israelis need and the Israeli government wants. When looking at the map of the already constructed, soon to be constructed and approved, and the planned on and desired location of the separation wall, it is clear this is a land grab. It would appear that Israel’s plan was to place the barrier in a location that would allow Israel to use the barrier itself as a crutch during future negotiations with the Palestine. This is a strategic land grab by Israel, but also a use of force through international connections and pressure.

    Israel’s intentions are not after the bits and pieces that it gobbles up through barrier building and strong arming negotiations. The ideology of many on the right in Israel would maybe look at the barrier as a step backwards, despite the possibility of safety and comfort for the time being. If the barrier is built, and Palestine is given specified land, how is there to be a Jewish state stretching to the Jordan River. The concept of Devine Providence is consistently relatable to within Israel’s very own Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. They refer to the Land of Israel as the birthplace of the Jewish people, their culture, and their spirits. The Land of Israel probably includes the areas of the Palestinians as well.

    The current state of construction and desired locations shows another plan of action unraveling. Israel could try and develop a non-contiguous area for the Palestine state with in the West Bank. Israel could literally be attempting to land grab and corral the Palestinians into a smaller and smaller area. Maybe even an attempt to land grab Palestinians out of land completely. They already have difficult developing a combined effort to reach out and get help while negotiations occur.

    It is a controversial topic and the intentions could be debated. The efficacy of the wall, however, has been fairly miserable. The concept has lead to many deaths and a larger divide between the two communities than the wall itself could ever create.

    1 Ben Ehrenreich
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/magazine/is-this-where-the-third-intifada-will-start.html?_r=0
    2 Michael Bell
    http://www.jilir.org/docs/issues/volume_1/1_18_BELL_FINAL.pdf
    3 Ibid.
    4 Ibid.

  17. Bias is inherent; true objectivity is not consistent with the human condition. The best we can do is start with the assumption that all of us are speaking from a position of bias, speaking a different language which is just noise to eachother. The important thing is that we attempt to get as close to objectivity as we can, while exercising sensitivity, honesty, and open communication. Only then can we come somewhere close to perhaps understanding each other. Perhaps those should be the guidelines for all such discussions such as this one. With that prelude, I will, with your patience, endeavor to describe some aspect or another valuable to ponder, regarding the intentions and efficacy of the barrier being built in Israel.

    A quick search of various news stories yielded multiple official names and informal euphemisms for the dividing line between Israel and the West Bank (wait a minute, we also need the various names and euphemisms for the State of Israel and the Palestine Authority too, but that’s a whole different ball of wax). If we are looking for a measure of the intentions and efficacy of the barrier, part of its efficacy/lack of efficacy is how it is perceived – the Public Relations angle.
    So here they are: The Separation Barrier, Apartheid Wall, the Life-Saver, Berlin Wall, the Land Grabber, The Snake through the West Bank, the Anti-Terrorist fence, the Divide and Conquer Wall, the Security Barrier, the Prison Wall, the Atrocity Prevention fence, the Isolate and Conquer Wall, the Hopelessless Wall (see amongst others https://electronicintifada.net/content/it-fence-it-wall-no-its-separation-barrier/4715 and http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/news.htm). These various labels indicate that the barrier is extremely unpopular on the Palestinian side of the wall, and more popular on the Israeli side.

    And what of efficacy? From the Ministry of Defense site (http://www.securityfence.mod.gov.il/Pages/ENG/news.htm), the Israel Ministry of Defense spokesperson reported on the effectiveness of the “anti-terrorism fence.” They cited a decrease of approximately 90% in attacks before and after the building of the beginning stages of the barrier (over the period 8/2003 – 6/2004) in the northern part of the West Bank (indicated as Samaria in their report), from 26 to 3 attacks, and a drop in Israeli deaths from an average per year of 103 down to 28.

    So efficacy is measured here regarding the goal of decreasing terror attacks.
    But are there other goals of the barrier? Opponents would claim that because it essentially nationalizes (for Israel) by the method of possession, vast areas of land in the Palestinian Authority, that their goal must be the undermining of any peace deal, as the absconding of large tracts of land is such an obstacle to the opening of any negotiations between the two entities. Possession is 9/10 of the law, at least in terms of a US context. The ostensible and officially stated goal is to “protect the lives of its citizens against the vicious Palestinian terror”, according to the Israeli Supreme Court ruling in 2003 (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/convert1.html). But the goals for the barrier have been stated slightly differently by two Prime Ministers who were involved in the developmental stages of the barrier. While in each case discussions followed large terrorist attacks in Israel “proper,” statements reflected broader themes. Prime Minister Rabin (http://www.meforum.org/652/is-israels-security-barrier-unique) stated that “we have to decide on separation as a philosophy,” after a 1994 attack in Tel Aviv. Later in 2000 Prime Minister Barak expanded this, stating three goals: to ensure greater security by separation; preserve the Jewish identity of the State of Israel; and to “foster its [Palestine’s] national identity and independence, without being dependent on the state of Israel.” Some also argue that a major goal of any encroachment activity in the West Bank may be to gain control over the aquifers, especially those under the West Bank with fewer salinity problems. Whether the above exist as current goals or are main or ancillary goals, the efficacy of most of these cannot be determined yet because of their political nature. Effects upon business and agriculture activities on the Palestinian side of the wall/fence, especially where those areas are cordoned by the fence, have been profound.

    When I was living in Israel, I visited the Wall, and it felt oppressive, symbolic of exclusion, and the theme of communal punishment was strong. However I also became aware of the vastly reduced numbers of my countrymen dying in the streets. Still, I am uncertain this method is, overall, sustainable and advisable. The subjective experience on the Palestinian side and the way it cuts up and divides instead of bringing two economies together seems destructive.

    On the other hand, it was clearly an act of desperation, and one has to ask by what route such a position of desperation reached. There are those who say that left to their own devices, Israelis and Palestinians, like the kingdoms of the Hapsburg empire, may have been the recipient of far too much diplomatic intervention by their much more powerful cousins internationally, causing an escalation rather than a de-escalation of the conflict. The issues are not as complex or difficult as in other conflicts in the world, however with international tinkering, perhaps the complexity and entrenchment grew to what it is today. We will never know. And with that thoroughly and intentionally middle-of-the-road statement, I bid you all a good night and success. Yes, it’s stilted. And evasive. You try navigating the waters between two nations and see how it feels.

      • No worries, yes it is a byzantine and extraordinarily contentious problem…all we can do is shed light on as many parts of it as possible in the hope that airing the issues will lead to greater understanding.

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