In Cold Irons Bound, The Walls of pride are high and wide, Can’t see over to the other side.-Bob Dylan
Ten years ago, Israel began construction of its 490-mile mostly cold concrete barrier without any agreement with the Palestinian Authority about borders.
Over 80% of Israel’s Wall has been built on legally owned Palestinian property because it lies beyond the Green Line.
The Wall has cost over $1 billion so far and it continues to grow:
“Financed with U.S. aid at a cost of $1.5 million per mile, the Israeli wall prevents residents from receiving health care and emergency medical services. In other areas, the barrier separates farmers from their olive groves which have been their families’ sole livelihood for generations.” [Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Page 43, Jan/Feb. 2007]
In Hebrew The Wall is called “Michshol Hafrada” which translates to “The Separation Wall” in English and “Apartheid Wall” in Afrikaans.
The Israeli spin has been repeated ad nauseam by US Media and Politicians who claim The Wall is against terrorist attacks.
Reality is that in the ‘holy’ name of SECURITY, the Holy Land is in pieces-enclaves-Bantustans!
According to international law, every settlement is illegal as is Israel’s Wall– unless it is built on the Israeli side of the Green Line.
The Jewish only settlements are in reality colonies that divide Palestinian neighborhoods throughout the occupied territories.
Israel’s Wall traps over 100,000 indigenous Palestinians and the over 600 checkpoints deny them access to their aquifers, land, jobs, families and holy sites.
In 2003, the UN General Assembly voted 144 – 4 to condemn the barrier, but the US vetoed that Security Council resolution.
In 2004, an International Court of Justice advisory opinion called The Wall “contrary to international law” and ruled that where ever it did not follow the Green Line it must be removed and reparations paid to the Palestinians whose land was confiscated and property destroyed.
Over one million fruit bearing trees have been destroyed by Israel’s Wall depriving the agricultural based Palestinian economy of money as well as food to feed their families.
The Israeli government and a misinformed America contend that the West Bank is not occupied territory because it was never previously an independent, recognized sovereign state.
Up until the Establishment of Israel-whose very statehood was contingent upon upholding the UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, the British occupied Palestine beginning in 1920 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled from the 14th century.
When Israel became a state in 1948, they promised:
“On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations.” – May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
Up until the Six-Day War in 1967, the West Bank had been under Jordan administration, but ever since the Israeli Military Occupy’s it.
Professor Reece Jones, author of Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India, and Israel published by Zed Books, wrote:
“Despite the official Israeli position that the wall is a temporary barrier against terrorism, its political consequences cannot be ignored…Arguably the most significant consequence is that the wall physically separates Jerusalem and its important religious sites from the rest of the West Bank.
“In January 2012, Palestinian officials reported that in closed door talks Israeli negotiators abandoned the position that the wall was temporary and proposed the wall route itself as the final political border between Israel and a new Palestinian state.
“In late May, Israeli Defense Secretary Ehud Barak stated publicly that Israel should consider unilaterally establishing a border between the two states. If the wall does become the final border, it will substantially expand the territory of Israel at the expense of longstanding Palestinian property rights and religious connections to the land. It will also demonstrate the power of walls to crystallize and formalize claims to territory by physically excluding other people from the land. Finally, it will undermine the international consensus against the annexation of territory gained through expansionary wars.
“Rather than setting this dangerous precedent, ten years after construction began the United States and the international community should reaffirm that the Green Line, rather than the route of the wall, as the starting point for any future talks about a border between Israel and Palestine. The territorial conflict should be resolved through a negotiation that respects the rights and concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians, not through the unilateral construction of a separation wall.” -read more at link here
In February 2003, Claire Anastas and her family of fourteen -whose three story home with a gift shop on the first floor that had been the closest shop to Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem- were informed by the Palestinian Authority that The Wall would be coming to their neighborhood.
Eileen Fleming at ‘Claire’s Tomb’ photo copyright Meir Vanunu
The family had moved into their home in 1967, and their back yard garden once had a view of open green space.
The family is now encircled on three sides by thirty-feet high slabs of cold concrete that which has imprisoned them from the rest of the Little Town of Bethlehem: which is Occupied Territory.
For months the family helplessly observed the preparation work all around them, and then one week before Christmas 2003, Claire’s children went to school and came home to discover that every view from every window was of the concrete monster.
The once economically thriving and vibrant main street in Bethlehem is now a ghost town and Rachel’s Tomb and ‘Claire’s Tomb’ are divided by the concrete barrier which is topped by guard towers and patrolled by soldiers in battle gear.
In 2003, Dr. Jad Issac, the director general of the Applied Research Institute examined a satellite photograph of the area and stated, “Bethlehem is the Bethlehem ghetto now…rather than seeking to ensure freedom of religion, Israel was pushing Bethlehem’s Christian Palestinians to pack up and leave. About 360 Palestinians would be left on the Israeli side and once they get rid of the Christians, then they will label the rest as terrorists.”
Dr. Shmuel Berkovitz, an expert on Jerusalem and Jewish holy places, said The Wall effectively annexed Rachel’s Tomb to Jerusalem from Bethlehem “as a matter of technical separation, without an official declaration. Right now, you can’t see any romantic place there; you can see it only as a military position.”
Rachel’s Tomb is a small stone building with a dome, which was built during the Ottoman rule, but is now completely enclosed by Israel’s cold iron fortifications, built in 1996 and 1997.
During my first of three visits to Claire’s home, she told me, “Six years ago when the Israeli army blocked the main street in Bethlehem we hoped it would be temporary. We could not imagine anyone could block another human being and isolate them like they have done to us. A week before last Christmas my children went to school and when they returned they were faced with the concrete wall in front of them. They cried and cried and wanted to know how could such a thing be done to them? We are living in a tomb, we are buried alive. My children suffer and their mother and father can do nothing.
“In another ten years there will be no more Christians in Bethlehem if things do not change soon. Everyone is leaving, we need work, and we need to feed our children. Jesus was born here but we are dying. My children suffer, they are angry and shout because nobody comes to visit us anymore and the children must stay inside after school.
“We use to enjoy being out in our garden watching the people, the trees, the cars that would pass by, but now we only see concrete walls. Our lives have been stolen!
“Do Americans understand what happens to children when they are buried alive?
“We need a solution fast so that our children can live like American children! We want human rights!
“When Hillary Clinton visited Jerusalem and said the wall was not against the Palestinian people, she killed us too! Christians who do not care kill us too!”
A few weeks after his Freedom of Speech Trial began in 2006, Israel’s Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu sent this invitation to Hillary Clinton and US Christians:
I do believe that man made walls can fall in a day, but the walls in hearts and minds must fall first.
I do believe The Truth Will Set US All Free but first must come the education that leads to compassion which is the way to bring in the change all people of conscience want to see:
A Holy Land that is Whole indeed!
Eye Witness Reporting on Israel Palestine j.mp/cuBTuV