A Cage for Palestinians: A 1,000-kilometer Fence Preempts the Road Map

Category: Middle East, World Affairs Topics: Ariel Sharon, Occupation, Palestine Views: 3717
3717

JERUSALEM -- A humorous e-mail circulating on the Internet explains the "law of diminishing territorial returns" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The first attempt at partitioning the land between Jews and Arabs, undertaken by the United Nations in 1947, resulted in the Palestinian majority being offered 47 percent of its historic homeland, with the rest allocated to a new Jewish state. The Palestinians rejected the plan and the ensuing war established Israel.

The Palestinians had to wait 46 years for the next offer: Under the 1993 Oslo accords, the Palestinians were to receive 22 percent of their homeland - the territories of the West Bank and Gaza. They accepted the terms, but Israel never got around to returning most of the land. Then Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel decided to speed things up and negotiate a final agreement at Camp David in 2000, "generously" offering the Palestinians 80 percent of the 22 percent of the 100 percent of their original homeland. Yasser Arafat refused to sign and the second intifada began.

The e-mail's payoff line is that Barak's successor, Ariel Sharon, has devised an even more miserly take-it-or-leave-it deal: the Palestinians can have a state on 42 percent of the 80 percent of the 22 percent of 100 percent of their original homeland.

The funniest part is that it isn't a joke. Sharon is deadly serious. The proof is not to be found in the "road map," which is diverting attention from Sharon's real goal, which is to redraw the territorial contours of historic Palestine himself - in concrete and barbed wire.

The security wall Israel is hastily constructing around the West Bank - officially justified by the need to stop terror attacks - will cage in more than 2 million Palestinians. Another electrified fence is already imprisoning 1 million Palestinians in Gaza.

Little attention has focused on this wall, mainly because it is assumed it follows the Green Line, the internationally recognized border that existed between Israel and the West Bank until the war of 1967. But Sharon admitted in a recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that the wall will be at least 1,000 kilometers long (625 miles), whereas the Green Line is only 360 kilometers long.

Why does it need to be so long? Because Sharon is less interested in preventing suicide bombers than in creating a tiny de facto Palestinian state before the road map forces a bigger one on him. For decades Sharon has maintained that the Palestinians should not be allowed a state that controls its own borders, airspace and water or one that comprises more than 40 percent of the land of the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian research based on land expropriation orders issued by the Israeli Army produces a map that shows the wall winding its way deep into the heart of the Palestinian state, twisting and turning in an elaborate route designed to keep a large number of the settlers on "Israel's side" of the wall and minimize the amount of territory left to the Palestinians.

Israel is also preparing a second, similarly tortuous wall near the eastern border of the West Bank, which it shares with Jordan, that will steal even more land from the Palestinians and offers no obvious security benefits.

After the wall is finished, at a cost of more than $2 billion, the Palestinians will live in two minuscule states behind concrete and electrified fencing, restricted to their main population centers. Thousands of rural Palestinians will live outside the West Bank cage in military controlled zones, denied rights as citizens of either Palestine or Israel. The rest will live inside the prison. Palestine will finally be born from 42 percent of 80 percent of 22 percent of the historic Palestinian homeland.

The writer is a free-lance journalist living in Israel.


  Category: Middle East, World Affairs
  Topics: Ariel Sharon, Occupation, Palestine
Views: 3717

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Older Comments:
MAT FROM MALAYSIA said:
Yup..the second intifada was designed by Sharon.That old fat, I mean fart.. really know how to stir Arab emotion.
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MARTIN FROM USA said:
Ken's comment was correct, but ill-informed regarding the creation of middle eastern states.
Most states in the region have been "created" and obtained their independence only since the 1930's and later. He would profit from reading "A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict", by Mark Tessler and "The Middle East ,A Brief History of the last 2000 years" By Bernard Lewis. The trouble with so many people is they are not well-informed and know only how to copy-cat the propaganda they read, from both sides of the dispute. Knowledge should come before argument.
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ARIF CHAND FROM U.K said:
i am a young muslim but i am surley not racist in any form i have many friends from all relegious backgrounds and i am very open minded what i have to say about this matter is that both groups have to learn to trust each other and need to look at this from an humanitarian aspect if it has to come to a wall to divide and safe gaurd lives so be it but give each other a fair share of the land in palestine i also disagree with the suicide bombers as my religion has taught me that this is forbiden but i also believe that israely army demolishing houses and killing people in refuge camps is also not right. America has to treat both partys equally and not be in favour of the jewish authoritys it is not fair that they have the better of this situation all the time.Arafat is deffinetly a good man and i believe he has been thrown out of the picture so that ariel sharon can get away with this type of proposition and make life harder for the palestinians why can people not read the (QURAN or TORATE) and read for them selfs that this type of action is forbiden we are taught to love each other not kill. What ever the circumstances just another point a very good jewish friend of mine has recentley told me from experience that in the state of palestine jewish and muslims are taught to hate each other from there first years in school and there are reminded of events which had taken place years ago this is a very bad form of practice and venomas behaviour from both partys now if this isnt malpractice of religious beliefs then what is? Even if we manage to create peace between these people in years to come these children are still going to hate each other from what they have been taught for the sake & love of GOD and all living beings can we please make peace once and forever and make this world a better place to live in where ever we are without thinking what or who might be round the corner or whos just got into this bus or why an army has just demolished houses and refuge camps
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JAFAR ISMAIL FROM US said:
Correction - The second intifada began because of Ariel Sharon's visit to the Masjid-Al-Aksa.
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MARY FROM ENGLAND said:
I'm an English Christian, of a "liberal tendency"
and have been studying the Jewish Scriptures for
years. But it is undeniable that the Israeli govt
and their conscript army are not in the tradition
of devout believers. Earlier this month I was
able to travel through the West Bank on an
accompanied pilgrimage to Christian sites. Your
correspondent has not stated the half of the
story. This infamous wall/fence is wickedly
unjust. When will the israelis realise that their
best defence is to act justly? Some do try - look
up the account of Kibbtz Metzer on the Gush Shalom
site - but they don't get support when they do try
to do the right and just thing. The old
-established settlements can hardly be expected to
move out; it would be possible for Jewish persons
to live as full citizens of a viable Palestinian
state, and harmonious living as genuine neighbours
is far safer for both sides than armed
confrontation. Those who challenge the
percentages of land occupied by the two sides need
to recall that the Israeli figures leave out the
Jerusalem area. The support from abroad is
exacerbating this conflict, and I'm not just
referring to USA. The world banks fund the US
deficit, so we're all guilty. And which countries
supply Israel with oil? How about cutting it off?
But of course, the US now controls Iraq's oil, so
that's a bit late. But what about the "weapons of
mass destruction?" Whose intelligence services
told the US and UK about that fairy tale? I
des[perately wish this report we
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KEN FROM UK said:
Most people think that Israel has been around for thousands of years thanks to Media. Israel was created 50 years ago by removing people against their will from their homeland, inspired by US based UN. Ripping up trees, bulldozing home, killing children, raping the women, murdering the innocent, torturing the weak and gleaming with power - power supplied by the US, giving Apache helicopters to a country to defend itself against atone throwing children. I have just one word to describe Israeli leaders: Murderers.
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AKBAR KHAN FROM CANADA said:
WOW...so the Israeli's are caging Palestinians as if they are animals?? That's very ironic, seeing as Mr. Ariel "The Butcher" Sharon recently admitted on May 26th, that "It is not possible to continue holding three and a half milliong people under occupation." HMMM OCCUPATION? That is the very first time he ever used that word, in fact he is admitting it is an occupation.

After stating all that, are any of people going ot refute my statement, when I say that the Israeli government is playing a two-faced game? And have been playing this game SINCE the ILLEGAL INCEPTION OF ISRAEL? Will you cynics believe it now that it's true that Israel has the single largest top-security prison in the world without legal justification? Don't worry, Guantanamo Bay and it's so called "Unlawful Combatants" is soon catching up. Yes we all know you don't call them POW's so that International Law does not apply to...but please, Israel with it's two-faced actions when it suits them the best!

Those who favour Israel's stance, but live their lives of luxury in the West, many do not even know what real suffering is. How can you justify Israel's actions of literally caging millions of people in order to stop these so called Suicide attacks? To turn a blind eye to the illegal intervention of Israeli assasinations of random Palestinians is something that even Dubya must acknowledge that these ARE assasinations, not a casualty, or kill as the media's bias shapes the thinking of Western minds.

Christian Palestinians, estimated to have been 20 percent of the population before 1948, have dwindled to fewer than 2 percent of those living in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. B'Tselem counts housing policies of the Israeli government one of the most severe injustices forcing Palestinians out.
"Massive land confiscation from Palestinians to build for Jews increases overcrowding in Palestinian neighborhoods ...

YES, ARIEL SHARON U FINALLY RECOGNIZE ISRAEL IS I
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SAIF FROM USA said:
well SHARON is a rare breed and all i can say is that resistance to this inhuman greediness and selfishness must be waged by all people regardless of religion or race. we need to stand up to this maxim that might is right. we will show that the meek can get justice. there are many isreallis who can see this injustice and have joined us in this fight. salaam to them and may we bring justice to PALESTINE.
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JOHN NORMAN FROM UK said:
Stan: I don't quite understand yr. question to me. As an American, you know better than I do how Texas, California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and a part of Colorado became part of the US. "the most unjust war waged by a great power against a weak power" said Ulysses Grant.. That is what I know. What it has to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict somewhat escapes me. Perhaps you could be clearer in what you are trying to say.
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MEBROCKY FROM USA said:
I am not familiar with this wall, so thanks for the warning. There are however, many inaccuracies in this article, especially about what was offered and when. Putting that aside, the big losers in all of this are the Palestinian people. The Palestinian leadership, as well as the leaders of several Arab states convinced the people that they were being treated unfairly in 1947, perhaps they were, but thanks to this decision to go to war as well as all the subsequent idiocy from both sides that followed, they will never get back to what was originally offered. Since '47, everyone - including other Arab states, has mistreated the Palestinians. I pray the politicians on all sides really do something this time. Far too many innocent Palestinians and Israelis have suffered and died.
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ALAN JAMES FROM USA said:
The planned murder of men, women, and children by ANYONE is savage, barbaric, and an affront to God. All population groups have the right to exist in peace and freedom. Declare that Israel has that right, stop the homicide bombings, and demand that Israel do the same.
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STAN FROM USA said:
John Norman

Would you mind enlightening me about how Texas and California became annexed to the US? I am just curious. Please!
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ALAN BELL FROM USA said:
THE PLANNED MURDER OF INNOCENT WOMEN AND CHILDREN BY ANYONE IS A SAVAGE AND BARBARIC ACT. STOP THE HOMICIDE BOMBING AND PUBLICLY DECLARE THE RIGHT OF ISRAEL TO EXIST, THEN THE BURDEN OF COMPROMISE IS ON THEM, to extend the same rights to Palestinians.
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MIKE FROM USA said:
I hope people would see things as you see them right now in your article and would stop turning the blind eye on all issues facing the Muslim Ummah. But don't you think it is us(the Muslims)who are altimately responsible?
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JOHN NORMAN FROM UK said:
There never was a Palestinian Arab state in the area. Indeed, this was Ottoman territory in which Arabs, Jews, Armenians, Druze, Maronites, Circassians lived. This is the territory that the British inherited and which they handed over to the UN in 1947. The UN decided in its wisdom to partition the land and to return to the Jewish People a portion of their ancient homeland and to give the Palestinian Arabs, for the first time on their history, an independent State. The only correct statement in this article is "The Palestinians rejected partition".
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AVERAGEMUSLIM FROM USA said:
Salaam-

The numbers used by the author are a bit over the top, frankly they are incorrect. This is what we muslims often call propoganda when we are the victims of the story.

Is this article being published because of the mid-east issues or because it leans towards those who we muslims identify and feel for?

If it's a lie, it's a lie and we should know better.

I wonder if the censorship at Iviews will let this go through.

Salaam
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CHESLEY JOHNSON FROM USA said:
You would think that the Palestinians would get a clue and settle for what they can get, rather than lose it all on an impossible dream of destroying the "Zionist entity".
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RASHAD ABDEL-AZEEM FROM USA said:
The world community really needs to address this wall and not allow it to be built. I can't believe that the US and Europeans are unaware of it. One is left to wonder if peace and justice wil ever come to the Palestinians. I have to believe that it will one day arrive, because Gd is Just. It looks dim, because there are very few in this country (in government) that is interested in really working for justice for the Palestinians, and that goes for the State Department whose first concern is for Israels interests.
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DR F.M.QURESHI FROM INDIA said:
Barbaric and savage acts of Israel exposed again
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DR.F.M.QURESHI FROM INDIA said:
The article exposes the horendous state of affairs in Palestine. It gives a slape on the face of so called civilised nations who are witnessing these large scale savage and barberous acts of the illegal child (Israel) of America.
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