Israel - The Apartheid Wall Encircles The Apartheid State
By Brennan Luchsinger
On August 23rd Israel finished its "withdrawal" from the Gaza strip, and Gaza is now contained within the walls established by Israel. Palestinians living in Gaza are subject to what Israel claims is independence, but in reality is a life controlled by Israel. Within the pullout plan, Israel has maintained its control of the borders, airspace and sea surrounding Gaza, and promised that it will be the only ‘authority’ in the region. Goods entering and exiting Gaza will be under the ‘jurisdiction’ of Israel as well as control over electricity and water, which will not be handed to Palestinians. By withdrawing, Israel has reserved all the power it holds to repress Gaza, and further reinforces its borders with the Israeli Defense Force. Along the border of Gaza and Egypt, Israel has been preparing to hand over some authority to the Egyptian military, but Israel refuses to hand over any control unless Israel can maintain security control over the ‘traffic’ entering and exiting Gaza.
The Strategy of Containment in Gaza
Gaza is well known as the world's largest refugee camp, home to 1.3 million Palestinians that live on less than 400 square km, are suffering from a strategy of containment. Largely, the withdrawal from Gaza has served as a cover for Israel. It has provided Israel with the myth that it is willingly participating in a "peace process". But peace comes in many forms, and is afforded to some, at a great cost to others. The suffering of Palestinians in Gaza strip may have a new appearance, but the cause of the oppression of Palestinians has not changed: Zionist Occupation.
The Relocation of Israeli Settlers is a strategic move designed by Sharon to enforce specific settlements and territories in the West bank. Settlers have been offered Compensation for relocation, with huge discrepancies and incentive to relocate to specific areas. settlers that agree to relocate to the areas that Israel considers strategic receive an additional 30,000 USD bonus on top of regular compensation.
While the world watched Israel's "withdrawal" performance, behind the stage in the West Bank Palestinians saw the true nature of the withdrawal. On August 23rd Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared that he would be expanding settlements in the West Bank. Gaza and the haze left from the theatrical "withdrawal" are providing a smokescreen for Israel to continue to slice up the West Bank with the rapidly growing apartheid wall.
On August 23rd in an address to the Israeli government Ariel Sharon stated, "Each government since 1967, right, left and national unity, has seen strategic importance in specific areas [in Palestinian territory] I will build." This is the fact behind the withdrawal. It is nothing but a tactic in the racist strategy of the Israeli state.
Through the entire process of withdrawal this expansion and theft of Palestinian land has sped up, and the apartheid wall has been cutting it's path of segregation and destruction through the West Bank. In early August, Israel began delivering house demolition orders, seizing land, and constructing the wall. The wall is basically meant to achieve a many-pronged attack on the rights and lives of Palestinians in favor of Israel. While Israel is consolidating the land it has already stolen, it is using the construction of the wall to expand its control, to isolate Palestinians, and attempt to launch a stranglehold on Palestinian resistance.
The Strategy of Containment in the West Bank
In the West Bank the apartheid wall runs a weaving 730 km path through Palestinian land, pushing the boundaries of Israeli settlements outwards, and squeezing Palestinians onto smaller and smaller pieces of land. The construction of the wall itself has been a theft of Palestinian land. The sheer size of the wall Israel is constructing has made it an opportunity for Israel to plunder more Palestinian land. The wall is an 8 meter tall concrete barrier, with a 30-100m wide buffer zone enforced with armed watchtowers, electric fences, trenches, cameras, sensors, and military patrols. This is what is separating Palestinians from their lands, jobs, families, and lives.
Palestinian villages like Abu Dis, and Eizarya, located west of Jerusalem in the West Bank, are examples of the direct oppression that Palestinians are suffering. Abu Dis is surrounded on all sides by the apartheid wall, severing it's connection to 10,000 dunums (2,472 Acres) of agricultural land, Abu Dis has lost 26,000 dunums (6,425 Acres) of land to the apartheid wall. Eizarya has lost 2,000 dunums (495 Acres) of agricultural land and access to the main water supply of the village.
The route of the wall has been strategically placed through the west bank, dividing areas most densely populated by Palestinians, and surrounding smaller villages and cities. The apartheid wall effectively chops the Palestinian population of the West Bank into 3 major sections, ensuring that the movement of Palestinians is severely restricted.
In Jerusalem, the intentions of Israel's wall are clearly seen. The wall through Jerusalem is being built on Palestinian land, maximizing the amount of land Israel takes, while pushing a larger population of Palestinians into a smaller territory. 55,000 Palestinians will be cut off from jobs, schools, hospitals, and families by the wall. For Palestinians living in Jerusalem, the humiliation of being forced to pass through Israeli military gates for basic human necessities will provide a stronger push for Palestinians to relocate to other areas in the West Bank. Sharon and the Israeli government are hoping to build as much pressure on Palestinians as they possibly can in order to force this movement of Palestinians.
Jerusalem is a strategic point for the Israeli settler state and the Zionist drive to gain more control over the land is intensifying. The tactic of the apartheid wall exposes Israel's hope of establishing their hegemony over the region, and complete lack of interest in any "peace process". What Israel does hope to achieve is a forced division of highly populated Palestinian areas in the West Bank, restricting Palestinians to constantly shrinking plots of land where they live under severe repression, and the subjugation of Palestine to the constantly expanding borders of the Israeli settler state.
Israel is a Racist and Apartheid State
For Israel the greatest problem is the resistance of Palestinians. Through two Intifada's Israel learned that Palestinians will respond to Israeli oppression with strength, and that they pose a threat to ending the occupation of Palestinian land. The wall that slices across Palestinian land now characterizes the West Bank, isolating Palestinians from each other, restricting movement, and attempting to prevent mass resistance to Israeli occupation.
The repressive force that Israel uses to carry out attacks on Palestinians is nothing new; the apartheid wall is a physical representation of the military barriers Israel has used for decades. In Jerusalem alone, 50 Palestinian homes have been demolished since January 2005. Another 65 homes have been scheduled for demolition since the Gaza withdrawal. By removing all access Palestinians have to basic human rights, Israel engages Palestinians in a struggle for their own survival. They try to keep Palestinians down so they cannot fight against the occupation, and have to fight simply to live. But historically, as Israel increases its repression the struggle for Palestinian self-determination has only grown, within Palestine and internationally.
Sharon's tactical moves in Gaza and in the West Bank are a part of the Zionist land grab that has been going on for over 50 years. The more Sharon talks of a "peace process" the more land he steals. Right now Palestinian territory is being taken from underneath their feet.
Heroic Palestinian Resistance Continues
For all Palestinians, the smoke from the Gaza withdrawal will not last long, and when it clears, there will be nothing left but the Zionist occupation. Despite the increasing severity of the attacks that Israel is waging against Palestinians, there is a strong resistance. In mid-August Palestinians from the villages of Azzun and Kufr Tulth joined in a mass protest against the apartheid wall. The protestors joined forces to send a clear message to the Israeli government; that the apartheid project, and Israeli occupation will never defeat them. As Palestinians struggle for the right to self-determination, we must follow their demands, and organize in solidarity with resistance to the Zionist
Israeli occupation of Palestine!
Self-determination for Palestinians!
Israel out of Palestinian Land!
Dismantle the Apartheid Wall!
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