"fence," as the Israelis and their
amen corner in the U.S. call it, is actually
a wall, about 25
feet high: higher
than the Berlin Wall. Like every atrocity carried out
by the Israeli government, it is being sold as a "defensive"
measure, but is in reality an act of aggression, cutting off
large swathes of Palestinian property from the main body of
the Palestinian community and preemptively establishing a
border on annexed land. As the Los Angeles Times reported:
red signs appeared one morning on the barbed wire. 'Mortal
danger; military zone,' they read. 'Any person who passes
or damages the fence endangers his life.'
just like that, Mohammed Habbas was forbidden to reach the
acres of fields and olive groves that have been in the family
for as long as anyone here can remember. The people of this
tiny hillside village were left behind when Israeli military
walls chopped away more than half of their property, snaking
all the way to the edges of houses to swallow the land but
exclude the people."
a few days ago, meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Abu
Mazen, the President declared the wall to be "a problem." But now
that Sharon's in town, the problem – but not the Wall – seems
to have gone away. Although Bush did not explicitly refer
to the Wall in his public comments, Sharon didn't deign to
be tactful. He brushed aside Bush's concerns, declaring his intention
to continue building his monument to Israeli arrogance,
but not without first patting the President on the back for
achieving Israel's strategic objectives in the region. The
Americans, he enthused, had not only invaded Iraq, and taken
out a longstanding thorn in Israel's side, but also have recently
their threats against Iran and Syria. The Israeli Prime
Minister then expressed his gratitude by telling Bush, in
front of the whole world, that the "fence" (as the Israelis
insist on calling it) is the President's problem:
had a useful talk today, where we examined ways to advance
the peace process between us and our Palestinian neighbors.
In this context, a number of issues came up: the security
fence which we are forced to construct in order to defend
our citizens against terror activities …
security fence will continue to be built with every effort
to minimize their infringement on the daily life of the Palestinian
population. Unauthorized outposts will be removed as required
in a law-abiding country. We'll continue to discuss all these
issues, both directly and to our bureaus, which maintain close
other words: You carried out your part of the bargain, Mr.
President – and now I'm reneging.
is typical of the Israelis to characterize the Wall of Separation
as a defensive measure, when it is really a land grab of huge
proportions, one that will ensure the failure of the American
diplomatic initiative. These are, after all, the original
authors of the doctrine of preemption, now adopted by the
injustice of this electrified, electronicized construction
of brick, mortar, reinforced steel and barbed wire, its forbidding
guard-towers festooned with weaponry, is clearly visible.
It is meant to memorialize the conquest of the land, a visible
insult to a conquered people, an architectural provocation.
the President made a moral appeal to Sharon, but it was bound
to fall on deaf ears: we are talking about the Prime Minister
of a country where extra-judicial executions, routinely carried
out by the Israeli "Defense" Force (IDF), are officially deemed
"focused prevention" or "pinpoint preventive operations."
Sharon's helicopter gun-ships – paid for by you, dear American
taxpayers – shoot down children barely into their teens as
a matter of course. Palestinian homes are regularly demolished,
often with the inhabitants still inside. "Settlements" spring
up close to Palestinian communities, outposts of an organized
terror campaign designed to "persuade" non-Israelis to leave.
Israeli aggression is relentless, and Sharon, unlike the President
of the United States, puts his own country and its interests
(as he perceives them) first.
knows that Bush is not about to abandon the Israeli cause:
the Prime Minister of Israel can be very useful to the Republicans
in what promises to be a close election, just as he
has been in the past.
for his part, has his own political considerations on the
home front. In return for conceding the existence of a Palestinian
state albeit one with no army, no foreign policy, and no
guarantee that it will not be re-annexed tomorrow – Sharon
must appease the most radical elements among his supporters,
who openly call for a "wall of separation" to be created via the expulsion of
all Arabs (including those who hold Israeli citizenship).
They will now be handed a conveniently snappy slogan: Put
them on the other side of the Wall!
details of the Wall's construction, and its progress so far,
reflect the lunge-and-grab policy of the Israelis, which is
focused on building the vision of a "Greater
Israel" at the core of the ruling
Likud party's ideology. The Times reports:
[T]he wall's path has shifted east to consume swaths of the
West Bank as one Jewish settlement after another demanded
to be included on the side of the fence that is closer to
Israel. Palestinians, Israelis and international peace mediators
all fear the fence will harden into a border. The wall's final
route is a mystery, even to the Israeli lawmakers who were
pressured last week by Sharon to set aside an extra $170.5
million for it."
final route of the Wall is open-ended, just like the military
ambitions of its builders. They will push, and push, and push
until they get what they want, without giving an inch except
under extreme duress – the sort of pressure that our President
seems incapable of applying. He's Bush the Conqueror, the
Hegemon, the Great Preemptor to the rest of the world, but
in the presence of Ariel Sharon, the leader of a tiny Middle
Eastern nation that is entirely dependent on American largesse,
suddenly he's George the Meek, George the Mild, deferential
to a fault.
up with that?
with a similar architectural monstrosity, Ronald Reagan –
for all his faults – did not hesitate to say what needed to
Gorbachev, tear down that wall!"
can hear the amen corner now: the Wall of Separation is meant
to keep terrorists out, not to keep people in. There is no
similarity. But isn't there? The Wall is meant to cut off
all contact between ordinary people on both sides, which is
precisely what the East German commissars sought to accomplish.
The Commies knew that the most powerful weapons in the Western
arsenal were the economic and social links which invariably
bind communities in close proximity. So they quite logically
– and murderously
– sought to isolate their subjects from such subversive influences,
thus ensuring their Marxist purity.
didn't work, and neither will the Israeli version. Markets
conquer all: they leap over walls, over oceans, to create
the most complex, interconnected, international division of
labor possible, given the limitations of present technology.
In a larger sense, the issue of the Wall illustrates the central
conundrum of Israel's predicament. The Jewish state cannot
continue to exist as an isolated Sparta, bristling with weaponry
and little else. Israel is so completely dependent on the
United States that it must continually conduct a major overseas
effort to sway international opinion – and especially American
public opinion – to ensure its survival from year to year.
Hobbled by socialism – crippled by it – the Israeli economy
is in a shambles, and there are other, more intractable problems.
wall, no matter how many American tax dollars are lavished
on it, is going to keep out determined terrorists, who have
a developing base of support among Israeli Arabs. The argument
could be made, from a security standpoint, that the Wall will
function as a lightning rod for terrorists, a provocation
in stone and steel. That, I fear, is the intent of its architects.
birth rate continues to outpace that of the Israelis,
the Jewish state will be no more. That is the real reason
for the Wall. The Likud government is replicating the Jewish
ghettos of Eastern Europe, only this time they will be given
the best land, not the worst, and they will conduct
the pogroms, thank you, if that is what is deemed necessary
to ensure Israel's survival.
empowering the Israeli state to carry out this program, by
subsidizing and supporting what amounts to a policy of state
terrorism, the President of the United States is pursuing
the interests of a foreign nation over and above his own.
The U.S., engaged in a deadly war with the terrorists of Al
Qaeda, has nothing to gain from such an arrangement, and everything
to lose. Why, then, does our unconditional support to Israel
continue? Why does the President of the most powerful nation
on earth allow himself to be insulted, in public, by this
horrendous toad of a man?
long as we continue to kowtow before the builders of this
viciously vindictive Wall, and become complicit in Sharon's
crimes, we won't need a "terrorism
futures market" to tell us what's in store. In that case,
the prospects for peace in the U.S., as well as in the
Middle East – are near to nil.
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