The next time you use the Internet, do a Google images search for “Israel wall.” What will appear are thousands of pictures of the enormous concrete barricade separating Israel from Palestine, something we should all vehemently condemn.
When the Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961, the entire non-Communist world immediately denounced the structure and the purpose it was designed to serve. President John F. Kennedy traveled to Berlin shortly after the wall’s construction to publicly condemn the Soviets with his memorable “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech.
Where is the similar backlash and outrage at Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s most loathsome act? Two years after construction was completed on the barrier that separates the West Bank from the rest of Israel, there has been no comparable reaction from the United States.
There will be no such response in the future. After all, it would not make sense for the United States to denounce a project it subsidized.
Each year, Israel receives more foreign aid from the United States than any other country. This aid does not come in the form of food and medicine, but rather, dollars.
The barrier is simply the latest in a long line of vicious Israeli projects funded by the bastardization of well-intended U.S. aid.
If our dollars buy the missiles aimed at Palestinians and the helicopter gunships from which those missiles are launched, why wouldn’t we finance the barrier with which Israelis prohibit Palestinians from moving about their land?
The barrier, which was underhandedly and illegally built upon Palestinian land, has reduced much of what was already meager holdings by a growing population with at least as good a claim to the region as the Israelis.
It occupies over 10 percent of the very limited arable land in the West Bank, creating additional famine in an already desperate population.
This new barrier makes it difficult for Palestinians to go to work in Israel. Families and friends have been separated.
It has even disrupted the vital flow of water to and from the West Bank, increasing the malnutrition and disease that are already a significant part of West Bank life.
The Bush administration, like all those before it, has given the Israelis carte blanche to do as they please in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, be it bulldozing Palestinian homes or erecting ominous “Apartheid walls.”
When construction first began, the United Nations General Assembly voted 144-4 to condemn the project as contrary to international law. These four countries in support of a wall were the United States, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and of course, Israel itself.
Only the support of the world’s hegemon has been enough to cloud the overwhelming transparency of Israeli brutality and cruelty toward Palestinians.
I have been careful thus far not to refer to either the Israelis or the Palestinians as innocent. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the most trying issue facing the entire world today, hands down.
Without U.S. aid, the Israelis would have been crushed many times over the past 60 years. Actually, they would have never even established a homeland.
Nevertheless, the Palestinians hold an equal claim to the land along the eastern Mediterranean. Israel claims that what it calls the “fence” is an example of its “right to take reasonable, necessary and proportionate measures to protect the security of its citizens and its borders.”
Yet the wall is neither reasonable, necessary or proportionate.
It is not reasonable when it tears apart families, communities and food supplies. It is not necessary when you consider the already inadequate land holdings of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the success of the current truce to end violence.
The wall’s dimensions exceed those of Berlin’s – it is three times as long and twice as high. And yet the American-backed Israelis play it off as a proportional response.
Israeli supporters are quick to defend the barrier, noting that much of it is barbed wire and not concrete. These supporters conveniently do not mention that where wire serves as the barrier, it is accompanied by anywhere from 100-300 feet of electric fences, trenches, cameras and security patrols.
It is certainly not proportional, but that is to be expected from the Israelis. Their history of proportional responses include rolling tanks and bulldozers over Palestinian homes while children throw rocks and empty bottles at the goliaths.
Israeli government assassinations of suspected Palestinian terror threats are so “proportional” that they hover Apache helicopters outside Palestinian mosques and unload everything they’ve got on the buildings, killing not only the suspected terrorist, but every attending man, woman and child as well.
These “proportional” responses by the Israelis only exacerbate an already protracted and complex conflict.
The U.S. government would like Americans to see Israel as a lone oasis of democracy in an otherwise totalitarian-dominated region.
It cannot stand by idly, even supporting wicked Israeli tactics against Palestinians, and expect to fool the American public. Respectable governments do not build gigantic “Apartheid walls” and argue that they are instead just “fences” designed to maintain peace.
The world mourned for the East Germans. Free peoples everywhere should not just mourn for the Palestinians – they should take action against the Israeli tactics.