towards another apartheid?

To wit was fortunate enough to listen to Nobel Prize Nominee Jeff Halper speak yesterday at an Amnesty International conference on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Jeff’s organisation is primarily a political one which seeks to stop the en-masse house demolitions perpetrated by the Israeli Civil Administration upon Palestinian homes within the Occupied Territories. The difficulty in gaining building permits has led many Palestinian families to build their homes without them, subsequently leading to their demolition. This issue highlights the complex nature of life within Palestine, and the tremendous difficulties faced by its citizens.

The Israeli West-Bank barrier is a barrier being constructed by Israel consisting of a network of fences with vehicle-barrier trenches surrounded by an on average 60 meters wide exclusion area (90%) and up to 8 meters high concrete walls (10%). It is located mainly within the West Bank, partly along the 1949 Armistice line, or “Green Line” between Israel and Jordan which now demarcates the West Bank.

The Israelis argue the wall is for security purposes, though it has succeeded only in further marginalising the Palestinian community and placing further strain on its economy. Ariel Sharon argued “A fence is not a political border. It is not a security border but rather another means to assist in the war against terror, and greatly assist in stopping illegal aliens”. The Israeli Government holds that Palestinian terrorist attacks and infiltrations have decreased significantly since the erection of the wall.

The Wall is nearing completion, despite the International Court of Justice’s 2004 ruling that it is in contravention of international law. When finished, the Wall will be 703km (436 miles) long. That’s the distance from London to Zurich. Human rights are being violated on a daily basis, while restrictions on movement have devastated the Palestinian economy and created a series of impoverished ghettos.There are currently over 500 checkpoints and physical obstacles restricting Palestinian movement within the West Bank. As former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan confirmed,“The Israeli closure system is a primary cause of poverty and humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Palestinian territory.”

To learn more about Jeff and his organisation (The Iraeli Committee Against House Demolitions): http://www.icahd.org/eng/

For information about the Palestinian ‘Security’ Wall: http://www.stopthewall.org/

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~ by k-rock and l-jive on June 4, 2008.

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