Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Which Wall Would That Be?

Have a look at these earnest senior citizens in  central London, mutely demanding “Stop the Wall”. Few if any of us would even consider for a moment that they might be demonstrating against the construction of some high wall nearby that’s going to impede residents’ view of a park or of a lake or of a cathedral’s close or some other scenic vista, or against some stark modern structure that abides ill with the locality’s architectural heritage.

Alas, we’re all conditioned, we all respond on cue, like Pavlov’s dogs. Owing to the relentless crusade of delegitimisation of a certain tiny country in the Middle East – a country more sinned against than sinning – we all know which wall they, and others, mean by “the wall”. Israel’s “apartheid wall”, of course.

“Labelling Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ is the embodiment of the new antisemitism that seeks to deny the Jewish people the right of equality and self-determination among the nations”, Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University has rightly observed.

The people who are so swift to do so seldom if ever utter a word in condemnation of the male supremacist gender apartheid committed by some Islamic regimes, who prohibit the public space to their female chattels unless those unlucky enough to be of the "inferior" gender suborn their identities by concealing themselves behind grotesque portable walls (such as these shroud-like garments which make their wearers look like a nightmarish regiment of risen corpses in a horror movie ) that impede their vision, hamper their breathing, make them perspire, and give their unborn infants rickets.

No, sirree! If you observe to your average common or garden lefty that gender apartheid is a violation of human rights – as my then schoolboy son, bless him, did to his trendy lefty teacher during a class discussion on South Africa –you’ll most likely be met, as he was, with a shrug and a dismissive “Oh, but it’s part of their culture”.

I’m really going to have to return to this whole “Israel is an apartheid state” canard in a future blogpost (or two). For, like so many of the monstrous lies that the far left and the Islamicists who find themselves in an incongruous embrace owing to their common hatred of the world’s only Jewish State have fed the public over the past few decades, this one has been swallowed and digested, emerging – as is the case with so many lies about “The Zionist Entity” – with the status of an unassailable truth.

It’s the same with that so-called “apartheid wall”. All countries have not merely the right but the obligation to protect their people from harm, and Israel's security fence has certainly done just that. Those senior citizens in the top photograph are Friends of Sabeel UK, whose website features as a kind of logo a picture of that wall. There’s an organisation called “Stop the Wall”. Palestine Solidarity Campaign groups erect mock-ups of the wall in order to demonise Israel. Now, I learn from the blog of Paul Martin, a Methodist minister in Devon who supports his church’s notorious anti-Israel boycott, that Mark Thomas (a self-styled “libertarian anarchist” who, I believe, began his comedy career on Al Beeb as a smut merchant) has got into the act:
'The activist comedian Mark Thomas has praised Palestinian Christians for their role in the growth of nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation.
Thomas recently walked the length of the wall surrounding the Occupied Palestinian Territories, in preparation for a book and a film on the subject....
Thomas, an atheist, said, “When Christians get it right, they really get it right”.
He applauded the decision of Christian churches in Jerusalem to describe the occupation as a sin. And he quoted one Christian priest who told him that he was resisting the occupation to “save our Israeli brothers and sisters from committing a mortal sin”.
Thomas made his comments while drawing links between military occupation and the arms industry in a speech to the annual National Gathering of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) in London on Saturday (6 November).
He said that seeing the wall in Palestine reminded him that campaigning against the arms trade is part of a wider struggle against militarism and all that keeps it in place. Thomas has used comedy alongside more traditional campaigning methods to work against the arms trade over the last decade.”' (hat tip: Richard Hall http://theconnexion.net/wp/?p=8897#comments)
Indeed, so fixed is the world’s attention on Israel’s “wall” that few of us realise that Israel’s security barrier – most of it a fence – is just one of several of its kind in the world. A gruesome barbed-wire barrier separates North and South Korea. Britain built this wall (pictured) in Belfast, to keep the warring Protestant and Roman Catholic factions apart. An unattractive structure was erected in Cyprus with the UN’s blessing – yes, that same UN that is a hotbed of anti-Israel rhetoric – along the dividing line between that part of the island belonging to Greece and that belonging to Turkey.

Then there’s America’s fence, erected to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico. There’s the fence Spain has erected, funded from the coffers of the European Union, in its Moroccan enclaves Ceuta and Melilla, to deter incomers from sub-Saharan Africa. This hideous barrier (pictured) stands between Botswana and Zimbabwe, ostensibly to keep diseased cattle from the latter country straying into the former, but very conveniently keeping economic immigrants out.  A 460-mile barrier in Kashmir, lined with barbed wire and landmines, is India’s answer to infiltration from Pakistan. Israel itself had fences along its borders with Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, so its fence separating it from the Palestinian Authority can hardly be considered innovative.

In the Muslim world, Turkey erected a barrier in its formerly Syrian province of Alexandra, an area which Syria claims as its own. To combat terror raids from Sahrawi separatists bent on independence for their region (when is the Palestinian-loving far left going to rant and rave about the denial of Sahrawi autonomy, I wonder), Morocco built , in the 1980s, a massive structure of sand and stone, ditches, barbed wire and landmines that snakes across the Western Sahara for over 2,700 miles. (Part of it's pictured here.) Where are the thunderous protests from the international community?


Saudi Arabia constructed a 60-mile barrier along an undefined border with Yemen in order to stop incursions and arms smuggling, and in 2006 began work on a 500-mile fence along its border with Iraq – the head of Saudi Arabia’s border guard, Talal Anqawi, describing it euphemistically as “a sort of screen”. The Saudis are still in the expensive process of reinforcing barriers on the entire 5,590-mile boundary separating them from their neighbours. Their barriers are high-tech, and militarily very sophisticated.

As Shiraz Maher observed a year ago on Standpoint's “Focus on Islamism” blog (crossposted at http://www.spittoon.org/archives/3562) :
“Once the Saudi government lost confidence in Yemen’s ability to curb domestic terrorism, they decided to build a physical barrier. Much of it runs through contested territory. According to the 2000 Jeddah border treaty between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, a demilitarised ‘buffer zone’ should exist between both countries, protecting the rights of nomadic Bedouin tribes which live in the cross-border area.
Yet, parts of the Saudi barrier stand inside the demilitarised zone, violating the 2000 agreement and infuriating Yemen. The Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, made official representations to the Saudi government in 2003 arguing This area is supposed to be for pasturing. That was part of the agreement. The tribesmen have been allowed to cross over from one side to another for pasturing. That is a traditional way of life for tribesmen in that area.
Not anymore. A prominent leader of the Wayilah tribe which occupies the disputed area explains The barrier has hindered grazing and free movement by many tribesmen. The tribesmen have the right to be free, but the barrier is taking away their freedom.
As far as I know, this ‘siege’ hasn’t been covered by Press TV but I’m sure Yvonne Ridley and George Galloway will soon be leading a delegation to support the heavily persecuted Wayilah tribe who are discriminated against mainly because they are Shia – a minority sect of Islam despised by Wahhabis.
More recently, Saudi Arabia has also built a physical barrier along its border with Iraq to stop jihadists from the Kingdom going over to join the mujahideen. Talal Anqawi hailed it a major success saying that cross-border incursions had dropped by up to 40%.”
On its 900-mile border with Pakistan, Iran has been busily erecting a 10-feet high, 3-feet thick reinforced concrete wall to halt drug trafficking and terrorism. That this wall has deeply upset the population of Balochistan, upon whose territory it encroaches, separating family members s from each other by cutting across their land, has gone unremarked – and certainly uncondemned – by a world community obsessed only with the “wall” constructed by Israel. To quote Shiraz Maher again:
 “I’m hoping to join the next occupation of lecture theatres at universities around the country to protest against this insufferable outrage. I can hear it now: ‘Viva, Viva, Balochistina!’….
 Twenty [one] years on from the collapse of the Berlin Wall physical barriers continue to be employed around the world. They may not be pretty, but they are effective. Indeed, even Israel’s biggest critics would have to concede that suicide bombings have fallen away sharply ever since the construction of the security fence in parts of Gaza and the West Bank. Yet, Islamists and parts of the political left obsess only about Israel but do not extend similar condemnation to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, or Pakistan.”

12 comments:

  1. It is interesting how people equate Israel's wall with the Berlin Wall/Iron Curtain. I have visited two walls in my lifetime; the now defunct Hadrian's Wall and the Berlin Wall. I have been on both sides of both Walls.

    Hadrian's Wall, like the great Wall of China and every other wall that you have mentioned in your posting, was built to keep people OUT. The are all security measures to protect one set of people from another. The Belfast wall is unusual in that it keeps people out in both directions.

    However, the Berlin Wall is unique in that it was built to keep people IN. All its defences were aimed at the people whose governmemnt built it. East Germany in the sixties and the seventies was a pretty miserable place. The train window blinds would be pulled down, even in daylight, on a journey from West Germany through East Germany to West Berlin. It was to prevent people from seeing how awful the place was. The same disparity occurred in Berlin.It was easy enough to get into East Berlin but a lot harder to get out. There were places of relative wealth for the privileged few. I know this because I have been there.

    The Israeli wall, like all the others, is a defensive wall. The misery of the Arabs is down to the corruption of its rulers.

    I have in my possession an Israeli Government issued book called Development Options for Cooperation (1996). I know that the Israeli Government wants to transform the Middle East for the benefit of ALL. The Arabs are operating against their own best interests.

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  2. Many thanks, Ian, for that most interesting and insightful comment!

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  3. How about this for the apartheid state of Israel.
    The road signs are in Hebrew English and ARABIC.
    Funny way of "oppressing" and treating the minority population as second class citizens!!

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  4. Good point, Joe - thanks for your comment.

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  5. Nice post. Unfortunately, this won't be enough to stop all the unfounded claims against Israel.

    The next step for the usual leftist&islamist is to adhere to the ICJ principles that ruled over the illegality of the "wall". Is there anyone able to provide further information on the legal israeli position about "the wall"? I guess this could be sustained in a Green Line 'redraw' but I am just speculating.

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  6. An interesting question, eze - hopefully someone might have the answer.

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  7. Independent Observer13 November 2010 at 03:32

    It is interesting to peruse this list of two dozen separation barriers world-wide (including one built by the UN itself):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_barrier

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  8. Oh, yes! Thanks for that link, Ind Obs - I like the stated purpose of the first two listed (Baghdad and Belfast): "civil pacification"!

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  9. Eze - the Israeli position is that there should be no need for an anti-terrorist fence (which is what it is, rather than a 'wall').
    It was constructed reluctantly and intended from the very beginning to be a temporary measure to make it more difficult for suicide murderers to enter Israeli towns and cities.
    Hopefully one day the Palestinian Authority will renounce violence and it will be possible to then come to a mutual peace agreement which will facilitate the dismantling of the fence for good.
    Note that in Gilo, where the level of violence has decreased to one sufficient for Israeli security bodies to review the situation, the fence has been dismantled already.
    For a comprehensive view on why the ICJ's declaration re. the fence is null and void, I suggest the book 'Reply' by Eli Hertz.

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  10. It's great to have your contribution, Israeli Nurse.
    I'll be using some of Hertz's maps in a future blogpost.

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  11. This article has been recommended to me:
    "The UN, the ICJ, and the Separation Barrier: War by Other Means"
    Gerald M. Steinberg, Israel Law Review, Vol. 38; 2005 pp. 331-347.
    August 01, 2005

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  12. Many thanks Daphne & Israelinurse for your kind reply. Will be checking your references, cheers.

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