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  • Yes it's time for one of these again...

    West Bank fence 'will stifle Palestinian state'
    By Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem
    (Filed: 03/08/2003)
    Daily Telegraph
    London

    The Israeli army is planning to fence off almost half the West Bank, a move that would scupper hopes of establishing a viable Palestinian state, according to an influential Washington think-tank.

    A map produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace, which claims to have seen evidence of the Israeli Defence Force's (IDF) plan, shows 40 per cent of the territory surrounded by the 200-mile fence. It says that the projected final route is based on evidence from within the IDF, from contractors employed to build the barrier and from Jewish settlement leaders who have been consulted on its route. Neither the Israeli army nor the government has released maps of the fence.

    The foundation's map shows that the barrier will carve deep into the West Bank to surround existing Jewish settlements. Controversially, it also suggests that the fence could eventually fully encircle this truncated Palestinian area by slicing through the eastern side of the West Bank to cut off the Jordan valley, leaving the chopped-down West Bank entirely surrounded by Israel. Geoffrey Aronson, the deputy president of the foundation, wrote the report, which has been seen by advisers within the Bush administration. He said: "The map shows that, if anything, this is not a means of ending the occupation but a way of consolidating it. This helps only to create conditions under which Israeli settlements can remain for the foreseeable future. That is clearly what they intend."

    The barrier, of which about 80 miles has been completed, was at the top of the agenda last week when President George W. Bush met Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian prime minister. After the meeting, Mr Bush described the fence as a problem for Middle East peace and asked Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, to halt work on it.

    Mr Sharon shrugged off the request and vowed that the work would continue. Mr Bush appeared to back down when he said he realised that the issue was sensitive and made no firm commitment to try to influence Israel's thinking on the route.

    The barrier is part fence, part wall and is being built at a cost of $1.5 million a mile. Israel says that it is needed to reduce terrorist attacks but the Palestinians claim that it is designed to annex more land for Israeli settlements, given that it runs deep into the West Bank in places and separates Palestinian farmers from their land.

    In a recent interview with an Israeli newspaper, Pinchas Wallerstein, a prominent settler leader, confirmed that his community was influencing the route of the fence in order to get "maximum Jewish population, with minimum Arab population, over maximum area".

    According to the foundation, the route being carved out appears to fit not only with the settlers' thinking but also Mr Sharon's historical strategic objectives, which include the retention of command over the area between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, and the separation of Arab populations in Jordan and Egypt from the Palestinians.

    In March, Mr Sharon announced his intention to build a section of fence along the mountain ridge west of the Jordan valley, at once doubling the physical distance and cost of the project. When completed late next year, the separation zone could surround more than 50 per cent of the West Bank and up to 366,000 Palestinians.

    Michael Tarazi, a legal adviser to the Palestinian Authority, said: "Through our own research we have come up with a similar map to this one. The implications are serious and show that, while Mr Sharon may talk about a Palestinian state, in reality all that he has in mind is a glorified reservation."

    The Israeli defence ministry refused to comment on the foundation's map. Jacob Dallal, a spokesman, said: "It is clear that what has been done so far has not gobbled up even 20 per cent of the West Bank. I cannot say what has been decided on the future route. What I do know is that the various phases carried out so far have been clearly delineated."
    I found this quote especially funny:

    It is clear that what has been done so far has not gobbled up even 20 per cent of the West Bank.
    He seems to be referring to 20% as if it were 2% or some extremely small number.
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

    – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

  • #2
    A link to a map might clarify the arguments involved.
    Get the US out of NATO, now!

    Comment


    • #3
      Radical Solution

      A radical solution to the Israel-Palestinian question: the world cuts off all contact with the region if a complete peace deal isn't made by a certain date. If a deal isn't reached, no financial aid goes to either side, no flights connections are made in or out, and no trade goods sent or received. Basically the world gives up on the region and decides to cut its losses. If they can't get along, screw it and let them kill each other.

      This would give both sides a lot of 'stick' to deal with the darker side of their society. Israel would probably decide to give up on the settlement question while the Palestinians would have a strong incentive to wipe out militants. Right now there is no 'stick'. The status quo is probably better than really dealing with these tough issues.

      Of course this plan could back fire and start World War Three.
      "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

      Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

      Comment


      • #4
        A brief msn search turns up the following:

        http://www.mideastweb.org/israelfence.htm

        Get the US out of NATO, now!

        Comment


        • #5
          Notice the following in your link:

          Note - the path of the fence has apparently changed - Click here for update (Spring 2003)

          It has a link that takes you to this:



          You're not going to find official Israeli government maps on this, because they're not telling anybody what the map looks like (not hard to figure out why).

          These are based off of various things: land expropriation, fence construction in progress, what has been leaked to the Israeli press, etc.
          "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

          – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

          Comment


          • #6
            And here's the FMEP map:

            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

            Comment


            • #7
              Of course this plan could back fire and start World War Three.
              They should duke it out in TOAW, winner takes all.
              "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

              – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

              Comment


              • #8
                Model community split by a fence
                Daily Telegraph
                London

                The farmers of Jayous used to be the most fortunate in the arid lands of the West Bank, blessed with fertile fields and ample water. The village was chosen by aid agencies in the 1980s as a model for development, with hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in agriculture.

                Now those same aid agencies are distributing flour and cooking oil to the once rich farmers, who are about to join the rest of the Palestinians in poverty and dependence on foreign aid.

                The cause is a giant fence, one of Israel's largest construction projects, which is separating the 3,000 villagers from their farmland. The growling of Israeli bulldozers as they gouge out the hillsides and tear up the orchards to create the fence has drowned out the rhythms of agriculture.

                The fence is supposed to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out of Israel, but instead of being built on the old border between Israel and the West Bank it is mostly in Palestinian territory, running through its best farmland.

                More than 2,200 acres of land belonging to Jayous are now on the wrong side of the fence, including six wells. Villagers once blessed with gushing supplies now have a couple of hours water every three days in their taps.

                The structure is from 70 to 100 yards wide, made of barbed wire, trenches, patrol roads and a high fence with electronic sensors designed to alert the Israeli army to infiltrations.

                The army has installed "agricultural gates" to let the farmers reach their land, but these are opened only at the whim of the guards and no one expects the soldiers to be on hand to open them at 4 am when farmers start work.

                "When I come to the fence, the guards say, "This is the land of Israel. Go away", said Rashid Abu Daher, a farmer with 27 acres and a well beyond the fence.

                The well and its pump have been destroyed by fire since the Israeli construction crews arrived, a sure way to dry out the land.

                "For centuries we have lived here in dignity," he said. "We just want to work our land, not to depend on handouts."

                The fence is supposed to be a security barrier, but Israeli politicians increasingly view it as a future border between Israel and Palestine. If all planned sections are built, it will stretch more than 400 miles, enclosing all the main Palestinian population areas in rings of barbed wire, and will cost an estimated USD1.5 billion.

                In Washington, senior officials see it as a danger to the current peace plan, the "road map" to Palestinian statehood.

                "The continued construction will make the implementation of the next phase of the roadmap very difficult," Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, told the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

                "The president is concerned by this issue because the fence is a fait accompli which determines the borders of a Palestinian state."

                Israelis overwhelmingly support the fence as a defence against suicide bombers and generally want it to be as far inside Palestinian territory as possible.

                Four miles west of Jayous is the Israeli town of Kokhav Yair, where some of the army's top brass live. The original plans showed the fence running along the edge of the town, but residents did not want it at the bottom of their gardens, and it has been moved east to the edge of the Palestinian houses.

                Jonathon Rimon, the mayor, said: "We objected to it being 10 metres from houses. It was not practical. It would not be a security fence if it were 10 metres from houses." There had to be a "strategic distance" between the fence and what was being protected.

                Israelis like to say a strong fence, even if built on their neighbours' land, will make for good relations with the Palestinians.

                The people of Jayous, about 25 miles north east of Tel Aviv, say it will be a recruiting sergeant for extremists.

                "If our land is stolen, it is as if we have been killed. No one can be responsible for our actions after that," said Sufyan Shamasni, a farmer whose family are camping out on their 2.5 acres of vegetable plots and guava trees.

                There may be calm at the moment, he said, "but this fence will bring about another uprising".

                His father, Yooussef Shamasni, said: "The security guards made me unload my last crop of potatoes four times and damaged the whole lot. Their message is very clear. They do not want us to stay here."

                More than 40 families from the village are now camping on their plots, fearful that one day the gates will be locked shut, which is likely to happen if any terrorist uses them to enter Israel, and they will never be allowed to return to their land.

                Under an old Ottoman law used by Israel to confiscate Palestinian territory, farmland not used for three years reverts to the Sultan - that is to Israel, the occupying power.

                Though still being finished, the fence looks more like a political statement than a security barrier. The "agricultural gate" at Jayous was unguarded, but blocked by mounds of earth, stopping tractors coming and going but allowing free access to any terrorist who cared to walk through.

                The Palestinians had been relying on President George W Bush to halt the fence after he declared it to be a "problem".

                But Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, returned from a visit to Washington this week confident that he had resisted American pressure to halt.

                What is happening in Jayous is repeated all along the route of the fence. Under pressure from Jewish settlers, the route meanders like a Norwegian fjord, encircling the town of Qalqiliya to choke off any expansion, cutting off villages from doctors, hospitals and markets and forcing Palestinians to take detours of tens of miles to get to the nearest town.

                It is only the beginning. Within two years, if the army's plans are approved, most of the 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank will be behind barbed wire, restricted to 45 per cent of the territory.

                The main Palestinian population centres will make up four cantons, with other villages grouped in island enclaves, and the remaining 55 per cent will be the preserve of the Israeli settlers and army.

                Jeff Halper, of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions and a vocal critic of the fence, said the plans were paving the way for a Palestinian "Bantustan prison state" to arise "in the nooks and crannies between's Israel's settlement blocs".
                "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                Comment


                • #9
                  "Under an old Ottoman law used by Israel to confiscate Palestinian territory, farmland not used for three years reverts to the Sultan - that is to Israel, the occupying power"

                  This is plainly criminal.

                  So was the seizure of land, homes and belongings of refugees who fled in 1948 and were not permitted to return.

                  But it'll just as soon be forgotten I guess.

                  In the words of former Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak:

                  "If I were a young Palestinian, it is possible that I would join a terrorist organization."
                  "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                  – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I like it. A wall will help to materialize and throw into high profile the issues involved. Notice that there are Jewish enclaves that are outside of areas protected by the wall. Notice also that there are settlements inside the wall that do not qualify as enclaves at all. It suggests that there are so called settlements that are not in dispute. In some areas a wall may be less appropriate then others. In some areas it may be the only solution at all.
                    Get the US out of NATO, now!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well at least you aren't pretending that's fair.

                      Fair enough.

                      Nothing like a giant landgrab and total economic devastation to 'stabilize' the region and 'fight terror' though.

                      Seeing as Sharon just publically clubbed Bush, this wall will probably go ahead as planned.

                      Then all that's left to do is wait for a nuke to detonate in Tel Aviv and for the apocalypse to begin.
                      "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                      – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MikeJ


                        They should duke it out in TOAW, winner takes all.
                        Probably has a better chance than most ideas out there.
                        "There is no great genius without some touch of madness."

                        Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I think Sharone Peres said it best when he said, "The line is following a certain vision of the future. When that happens, it stops being a security fence and becomes a political fence." While Peres has political motives to criticize Sharon, but I agree with his opinion on a fence that cuts deep into Palestinian controlled terrority. Israel has every right to not trust Palestinians, or Arabs for that matter. However, I don't see a fence that penetrates deep into Palestine security. It's a threat.

                          I would support cutting aid to Israel to force a settlement. However, I do believe they have realistic security concerns that should not be ignored. I don't trust most of Israel's neighbors. If things go to *hit and radicals come marching toward Israel, I won't hold my breath for the world to come to their rescue. Giving Palestinians a state "might" end violence against Israelis. If it doesn't, it won't be Americans, British, French, German, Russians, Italians, or whatever dying.

                          The situation is so *ucked up it's difficult to form an undisputable argument concerning the entire crisis.
                          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Israel does have security concerns.

                            This fence will do nothing to solve those. Neither will making life impossible in the occupied territories.

                            I don't know. To me this seems plain as day. Obviously there is a case to be made that the cart can't go before the horse, but I can't imagine anyone thinking force, force and more force will solve this issue when that's all we've seen for the past half-century - and it's been a complete failure.

                            Sharon used to say that his goal was to inflict a 'mentality of defeat' on the Palestinians such that they would cave in to his terms.

                            I think he gave up on that and decided to build a big wall instead.

                            If that wall is completed as per the map (again, we don't really know, although its pretty clear already that Israel is going to annex the Jordan Valley, considering that part of the fence has been completed already that slices right down it) then just forget about a peaceful solution to the conflict.

                            Basically what we're going to have there is a bunch of big concentration camps, complete with barbed wire and Israel will have complete control over the Palestinian economy, seeing as they are going to great lengths here to ensure the Palestinian state will share a border with no one but Israel.

                            Interesting concept that, being able to turn off and on the Palestinian economy like a faucet by opening/closing the border at will.
                            "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."

                            – Associate Justice Louis D. Brandeis, Olmstead vs. United States.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The solution to this crisis is not simple, particularly from the United States' perspective.

                              I do believe the wall, fence, or whatever should be established for security reasons. However, I also disagree with the possible line. If PM Sharon acts to create the barrier too deep, the US should regard it as an act of aggression, not necessity, and cut-off support, with or without Arab promises to do the same to Palestinians.

                              If, on the otherhand, the fence is established along more acceptable lines, I don't believe it's something to pull our hair out about. Peace does not require complete trust.

                              Will the fence work?

                              No. I'm certain Germans didn't feel any more comfortable with the Berlin Wall. We have a fence stretched out along our border with Mexico. Still doesn't stop the flow of drugs or illegal immigrants. Yet, it makes someone sleep better at night. I don't expect centuries of hatred to go away overnight. That takes time.

                              So my problem is not with the fence. I'm concerned where the line will be. If Sharon cuts too deep, I agree we can kiss peace goodbye maybe for the rest of my generation.

                              On a side note:

                              Powell has announced he will not serve as Sec. of State if President Bush is re-elected. I expected this, but the timing is amazing. 17 months before Bush term runs out! Powell said his reason is a promise to his wife to serve only one term. If were anyone, but Powell, I would say that's crap. His decision was certainly encouraged by Bush's policies though.

                              National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz are high on Bush's list. I can live with Rice. However, if Rumsfield is a hawk, Wolfowitz is the beak and claws. We're so *ucked!
                              "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

                              Comment

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