The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, June 12, 2002  

West Bank Palestinians to be Fenced In

The regime of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, fresh from its latest assault on Ramallah, yesterday began the process of creating a ghetto for Palestinians on the West Bank.

“The decision to build the fence came after Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, floated the idea of security zones in February,” according to an article without a byline in today’s National Post, “Work Begins on Sharon’s West Bank Wall.”

Sharon’s plan calls for the fence to protect Israeli from attacks allegedly arising from the West Bank. “The fence will also delineate the boundary between Israel and the Palestinian territories, which is at present unmarked,” notes the Post’s report.

“Israeli peaceniks [sic] say the barrier simply won't work -- it will be all too easily circumvented, like the vaunted Maginot Line that was supposed to render France impregnable to German invaders,” the Canadian paper says.

More important, certainly to Sharon, though not enough to get him to back away from his despicable project, “[h]ardline Jewish settlers fear they will find themselves abandoned on the wrong side of the fence.”

And certainly of no concern to the Israeli prime minister, “Palestinians, too, object to the barrier, seeing it as the final act of Israeli apartheid, transforming their territories into Bantustans.”

This clearly is a major project. “The continuous barrier will be comprised of a combination of fences and ditches, as well as walls in tense areas, all under the watchful eye of sophisticated electronic surveillance,” according to the Post, using language starkly reminiscent of the demilitarized zone separating South and North Korea and even the Berlin Wall.

The Post reminds readers that Israel already has built similar fences along its borders with Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, and adds that construction has begun on buffer zones to surround all of Jerusalem, the Israelis willfully and cavalierly ignoring years of internationally adopted resolutions and the longstanding position of the U.S.

“Although the fence will be located east of the Green Line -- Israel’s pre-1967 border -- it is not intended as a geopolitical boundary,” we read in the Post. “Rather, it will be a physical barrier, built to boost security and taking into account both the terrain and the needs of the IDF [Israeli Defense Force]….”

The Defense Ministry will expropriate whatever land is necessary to build the barrier, though, in a moment of uncharacteristic generosity, “landowners will be invited to discuss compensation for any land used.” That offer was rendered meaningless, however, when Amos Yaron, civilian director-general of the Defense Ministry, in the words of the Post, discouraged anyone from thinking about “getting rich from the land and the ministry won’t waste time on unnecessary disputes with the owners.”

As best we can determine, though we welcome edification on this matter, President George W. Bush did not raise the subject of fencing in the Palestinians during his meeting with Prime Minister Sharon on Tuesday. No surprise, that, considering Sharon was virtually running the show in Washington this week.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |