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Uri Avnery: The Evil Wall

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  • ummyakoub
    Uri Avnery: The Evil Wall Uri Avnery May 3, 2004 The Evil Wall For a fraction of a second, I was panic-stricken. The terrible monster coming towards me was
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2003
      Uri Avnery: The Evil Wall

      Uri Avnery
      May 3, 2004

      The Evil Wall

      For a fraction of a second, I was panic-stricken.

      The terrible monster coming towards me was not more than five meters
      away and continued to move as if I weren't there. The giant bulldozer
      pushed a great heap of dirt and boulders before it. The driver, two
      meters above me, seemed a part of the machine. It was clear that
      nothing would stop him. I jumped aside at the last moment.

      Some weeks ago, in a similar situation, the American peace activist
      Rachel Corrie expected the driver to stop. He did not, and she was
      crushed to death.

      I did not come on this occasion to demonstrate (we shall do this
      today) but to look around. In the olive grove, a few meters from the
      tents that were set up by the villagers of Mas'ha, together with
      Israeli and international peace activists, three monsters were
      preparing the ground for the "Separation Wall". They raised clouds of
      dust and a deafening roar, so that we could hardly converse. They
      work every day, even on Passover, 12 hours a day, without a break.

      The whole Israeli public supports the Separation Wall. It has no idea
      what it is supporting. One has to come to the place in order to
      understand all the implications of the project.

      First of all, it has to be said unequivocally: this wall has nothing
      to do with security.

      It is being sold to the Israeli public as a "security fence". The
      army calls it an "obstacle". The public, which of course yearns for
      security, is buying the goods eagerly. At long last something is
      being done!

      And indeed, the idea looks quite simple. Even the most
      unsophisticated person can grasp it. It seems almost self-evident: a
      Palestinian who wants to blow himself up in Israel has first of all
      to cross the pre-1967 border, the so-called Green Line. If a wall or
      fence is built along the Green Line, the terrorists will not be able
      to come. No more attacks, no more suicide bombers.

      But logic says that if this had indeed been a security-wall, it would
      have been built directly along the Green Line. All Israelis (except
      the settlers) would be on one side of it (the western one) and all
      the Palestinians on the other. The line should be as straight and as
      short as possible, because it will need inspecting, patrolling and
      defending. The shorter it is, the easier and cheaper it will be to
      defend it. That is the logic of security.

      But in reality, except for short sections, the wall is not being
      built on the Green Line, nor in a straight line. On the contrary, it
      meanders like a river, twisting and turning, approaching the Green
      Line and receding from it.

      Not by accident. The bed of a river is dictated by nature. The water
      has to obey gravity. But the design of the wall has no connection
      with nature. The bulldozers are quite indifferent to nature, they cut
      through it remorselessly. What then determines this design?

      Standing near it, the answer is clearly visible. The sole
      consideration that dictates its path is the settlements. The wall
      twists like a snake according to a simple principle: most of the
      settlements must remain on the western side of the wall, i.e.
      eventually to be absorbed into Israel.

      Standing on a hill which will be crossed by the wall, I saw down
      below, on the western side, Elkana, a large settlement. On the
      eastern side, only a few dozen meters away, there is the Palestinian
      village of Mas'ha. The village itself stands on the eastern side, but
      almost all its lands lie on the western side. The wall will cut the
      village off from 98% of its lands - olive groves and fields that
      stretch up to the Green Line, some seven kilometers away, near Kafr

      Mas'ha is a big village - like its neighbor, Bidia, where thousands
      of Israelis used to come every Saturday for shopping. Mas'ha, too,
      was once a blooming village. It has a big industrial zone, now
      completely deserted.

      One can reach the village only on foot, climbing steep tracks. At the
      beginning of the intifada, the Israeli army blocked the main road
      with two piles of earth and rocks. No vehicle can pass.

      "First they came to destroy our livelihood," the village chief, Anwar
      Amar, says bitterly. "Now they come again to take away our land."

      Indeed, the foul smell of "transfer" hovers over the wall. Its
      location leaves whole Palestinian villages on the western side -
      trapped between the wall and the Green Line. The inhabitants will not
      be able to move, to find a livelihood, to breathe. Other villages,
      like Mas'ha, will remain on the eastern side of the wall, but their
      land, on which their livelihood depends, will be on the western side.
      There are places, like the town of Kalkiliya, which will be almost
      completely surrounded by a loop of the wall, leaving only a small
      opening to the West Bank. One of the purposes of the wall is, without
      a doubt, to make the lives of the inhabitants hell, in order to
      convince them by and by to go away. It is a kind of "creeping

      Like the terrifying bulldozer pushing before it rocks and lumps of
      earth, so the occupation pushes before it the Palestinian population -
      always eastwards, always out.

      Historians can see this as a continuous process that started 120
      years ago and has not stopped for a moment. It began with the
      eviction of the Felaheen from land that was purchased from absentee
      landowners and continued with the Nakba of 1948; the massive land
      expropriations from Arabs in Israel after that war; the expulsions
      during the 1967 war; the creeping eviction by means of settlements
      and bypass roads throughout the years of the occupation; and now the
      expulsion caused by the wall. The Hebrew bulldozer rolls in front.
      Not by chance, Arial Sharon's nickname is "the bulldozer".

      The wall of Mas'ha and Kalkiliya, which continues to the Gilboa
      mountains, is not the only one. To the east of it, a second wall is
      already being planned. It will embrace the Ariel and Kadumim
      settlements and penetrate 20 km into Palestinian territory, almost
      reaching the central axis of the West Bank, the Ramallah-Nablus road.

      However, even this is not the whole picture. Sharon is now planning
      the "Eastern Wall" that will cut off the West Bank from the Jordan
      valley. When it is finished, the whole West Bank will become an
      island surrounded by Israeli territory, cut off on all sides. Also,
      the southern West Bank (Hebron and Betlehem) will be cut off from the
      northern West Bank (Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin), which will also be
      divided into several enclaves. [1]

      This map is very reminiscent of the map of Apartheid South Africa.
      The racist government set up several black "homelands", nicknamed
      Bantustans, ostensibly self-governing territories whose black leaders
      were appointed by the white government. Each Bantustan was completely
      surrounded by the territory of the racist state, cut off from the
      rest of the world.

      This is exactly what Sharon has in mind when he speaks about
      a "Palestinian state". It will consist of several enclaves, each one
      surrounded by Israeli territory, without an external border with
      Jordan or Egypt. Sharon has been working on this plan for decades,
      setting up dozens of settlements according to its map.

      The wall will serve this purpose. It has nothing to do with security,
      it certainly will not bring peace. It will only bring more hatred and
      bloodshed. The very idea that an obstacle of cement or wire could
      stop the hatred is ludicrous.

      The work continues now from early morning to late evening. Sharon
      talks about the Road Map while creating "facts on the ground".

      But this wall also has a deeper meaning. It is no accident that it is
      so hugely popular in Israel, from Sharon to Mitzna and Beilin. It
      satisfies an inner need.

      In his book "Der Judenstaat", the founding document of Zionism,
      Theodor Herzl wrote the following sentences: "For Europe, we shall be
      there (in Palestine) a section of the wall against Asia. We shall do
      pioneer service for culture against barbarism."

      This idea, that we are the outpost of Europe and need a high wall
      between us and Asiatic barbarism - i.e. the Arabs - is thus imbedded
      in the original vision. Perhaps it has even deeper roots. When the
      Jews began to congregate in Ghettos, before this was decreed from the
      outside, they surrounded themselves with a wall, in order to separate
      themselves from a hostile environment. Wall and separation, as
      guarantees of security, are deeply imprinted in the Jewish collective

      But we, the new Hebrew society in this country, did not want to be a
      new Jewish ghetto. We did not seek separation, but the opposite - to
      be open to the region. Not "a villa in the jungle", as Ehud Barak put
      it, not a European outpost against Asiatic barbarism, as seen by
      Herzl, but an open society that lives in peace and prospers in
      partnership with the nations of this region.

      This evil wall is not only an instrument for dispossessing the
      Palestinians, not only an instrument of terrorism masquerading as a
      defense against terrorism, not only an instrument of the settlers
      disguised as a security measure. It is, most of all, an obstacle
      facing Israel, a wall blocking our way to a future of peace, security
      and prosperity.

      [1] A map of the walls can be seen on http://www.gush-

      See another article about the wall: "It's not our nature"
      By Gideon Levy



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