alert readers may have noticed that the Israeli-biased American
"Road Map to Peace", already being imposed on the Palestinians,
has not even been accepted by Israel's rejectionist government.
Asked about it, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that accepting
or not accepting it "didn't really matter" when
Israel is concerned, to be sure; I have a hunch that had the Palestinians
declined to accept it, the American reaction would have been quite
for once, I agree with Mr. Powell: it really does not matter.
A central function of the "Road Map" is to distract
from the actual map of the Palestinian territories. This map is
being radically altered, and unlike the Road Map, which will be
forgotten like all its cynical forerunners ("Zinni Plan",
"Tenet Plan", "Mitchell Report", "Regional
Peace Conference" etc.), the geographical map of Palestine
is here to stay, with a huge Wall now being built in its middle
– the "Security Fence" in official Israeli language,
in fact an Apartheid Wall.
Sharon has long opposed the idea of a barrier between Israel and
the West Bank. As late as April 2002, Sharon was still rejecting
it – in spite of public pressure, in spite of demands raised by
both Israel's President and the Head of the Secret Service, and,
above all, in spite of hundreds of Israeli civilian victims to
Palestinian terrorism, whose death could have been prevented by
such a fence. Not before June 2002, in what was portrayed as a
victory for Labour's leader Ben-Eliezer (then Defence Minister
in a unity coalition) imposed on Sharon against his will, was
the huge construction project finally launched.
unlike their ruling junta, most Israelis do want to end the occupation,
support for the Fence is overwhelming. Most Israelis believe it
will bring security, and eventually turn into a border between
Israel and a Palestinian State. Israel's millionaires, as Yedioth
Achronoth exposed (22.11.2002), have a special reason to celebrate:
hundreds of Palestinian olive trees on the route of the fence
are rooted out by the constructors, smuggled and sold for the
gardens of rich Israelis (up to $5.000 for an ancient tree). Palestinian
owners who dare ask for compensation for their often only source
of income are driven away by threats and beating.
junta's change of heart towards the Wall happened only after "Operation
Defence Shield" of April 2002. As long as Israeli terror
victims could be used to justify the repeated incursions into
autonomous Palestinians areas, no fence was built. After "Defensive
Shield", when Israel had finally managed to reoccupy the
entire West Bank and to destroy the Palestinian Authority (existing
in name only ever since), the Wall could be erected.
the deeper reason for the apparent change of heart is that the
junta found a way to use the Wall for its ends: as part of its
project of destroying the Palestinians. This cannot be grasped
without taking a look at the actual route of the Wall.
you may wonder: isn't the Wall following the Green Line separating
Israel from the West Bank? Not quite. If this had been
Israel's intention, we could have had Peace long ago. The whole
point is that Israel refuses to give up the West Bank, and building
a Wall on the Green Line is the last thing the junta had in mind.
The Wall is constructed deep in Palestinian territory, in order
to rob as much Palestinian land and water as possible. A good
example is the small village of Mas'ha, where a joint group of
Palestinians, Israelis and internationals has set a small camp
trying to attract attention and to fight the ongoing atrocity.
village of Mas'ha is adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Elkana,
about 7km away from the green line. On April 2003, Israeli bulldozers
started to separate Mas'ha by an 8m high concrete wall from its
only remaining source of livelihood: agricultural land, mostly
olive trees. 98% of the lands of Mas'ha will be placed on the
Israeli side of the fence. The fence also disconnects the road
from Jenin to Ramallah, a segment of which will now be in the
Israeli side of the fence.
wasn't only land greed that sent the bulldozers to the lands of
Mas'ha. These lands are on the western part of the large water
reservoir originating in the West Bank, whose waters flow under
the ground also to the centre of Israel. Out of 600 million cubic
metre of water that this reservoir provides in a year, Israel
withdraws about 500 million. Control over the water sources has
always been a central Israeli motivation for maintaining the occupation.
The first settlements, like Elkana, were located in critical locations
for drilling. Since 1967, Israel has prohibited Palestinians from
digging new wells, but in the lands of Mas'ha there are still
many operating older wells. In isolating the village from its
wells, Israel attempts both to control the water reserves, and
to eliminate livelihood sources, thus forcing its residents out.
went to Mas'ha a couple of weeks ago. The huge barrier was not
yet complete: it consisted of a 3m deep trench, which we could
still cross with some difficulty at a shallow point, and of a
razed plateau, 80 – 130m wide, on which the gigantic wall, with
barbed wire, cameras, patrol road etc. would be built (see picture
from another location). It's not a make-shift fence: it's a huge
barrier meant to be there for decades, creating a durable new
physical reality. It twists like a snake around the cultivated
hills, encircling the village on three sides just a few steps
away from its last houses. The owners of the lands were told there
would be gates in the wall, which would enable them to access
their lands; "they just didn't tell us who will hold the
key", say in bitter irony the siege-learned farmers, who
have already lost most of their lands to the settlements of Elkana
and Etz Ephraim, all built on Mas'ha's lands in previous decades.
Mas'ha is just one non-unique example. Out of 12.500 dunums of
the village of Jius, 600 dunums are confiscated for 6km of wall,
and 8.600 dunums will be on its Israeli side. The 550 families,
half of which used to work in Israel when this was still possible
and were then pushed back to agriculture, now lose their last
source of income (Giedon Levi, Ha'aretz 2.5.2003).
may be clear by now why the junta refuses to give information
about the route of the Wall, as B'tselem
Newsletter describes in detail. The Green Line is 350km long;
present reports speak of a 600 km long Wall on the west side of
the West Bank alone. – Alone? Yes: because – as
Ha'aretz (23.3.2003) mentioned en passante just once, without
any details, comment or follow-up – yet another, eastern wall
is planned. This crucial information virtually escapes public
attention. Since most Israelis think the Fence is built along
the Green Line, they do not even suspect another wall encircling
the Palestinians from the back as well.
two months before the fence plan was confirmed in his cabinet,
Sharon was quoted in Yedioth Achronoth (26.4.2002). The
journalist was outraged by what he considered Sharon's pretexts
against erecting a wall. Sharon is accused of exaggerations, turning
the simple project of a 350km fence along the Green Line into
an unfeasible 1.000km long enterprise:
favourite way to inflate data is simply to double the numbers.
'You cannot have a fence just on one side of the seam zone', he
told police officers, 'You have to have fences on both sides,
and there is the Jordan Valley where another fence on both sides
is needed'. […] To sabotage the separation […], Sharon is talking
about two different routes: two fences on different locations
on the seam line, and yet another two fences between Israel and
Jordan. This way, you really get to 1.000km".
Sharon was not exaggerating: we now know that the western barrier
is already 600km long, and adding a similar fence on the east
makes Sharon's numbers look rather underestimated. What the journalist
did not realise, was that Sharon was just pretending to oppose
the fence, while planning its actual route so as to maximize Israel's
share of the territory; that the Eastern fence would not be built
between Israel and Jordan, but in the middle of the West Bank;
and that Sharon, to get public support, wisely presented the Apartheid
Wall as his pragmatic surrender to Labour and to public pressure,
while in fact it was his scheme, elaborated by him long before
he found the opportunity to carry it out, camouflaged as yielding
to dovish pressure to strengthen his "moderate" image.
following map, prepared by Palestinian sources – based on the
parts of the wall already erected, those under construction, and
confiscation orders issued to land owners – shows approximately
what Israel is up to. Leaving the lion's share of the West Bank
outside the Wall in Israeli hands, even what looks like two contiguous
Bantustans are in fact crisscrossed by chains of Israeli settlements
UN Resolution of 1947 allocated 45% of British Mandate Palestine
to a Palestinian State. In 1948, Israel occupied 78% of the land,
leaving just 22% – the West Bank and Gaza – to the Palestinians.
This is all they have been demanding since 1993. Now, Israel is
robbing more than the better half of these 22% left. Six million
Israelis are to have about 90% of the land (and water), whereas
three-and-a-half million Palestinians, many of them refugees,
are pushed to starve into what is left, locked behind gigantic
walls in open-air prisons, with no land, no water and no hope.
The moral way to peace, love and security, no doubt.
Apartheid Wall will be 8m high and probably 1.000km long. For
Great Wall – the only human-made object seen from outer space
– is 6.700km long, whereas the Berlin
Wall was a dwarf, just 155km long and 3,6m high. Keeping silent
on this gigantic project and its genocidal implications, meant
to prevent any fair future settlement (not to mention the Road
Map), is a moral crime, of which almost the entire Western media