The Israeli Wall

The Israeli Government is currently building a security fence to separate the Israeli population from the Palestinian population. The fence is being established as a physical boundary in response to the Al-Aksa

Intifada in which 850 Israelis and 2600 Palestinians have died. The construction has triggered UN condemnations and various human rights groups to deter the erection of it. The route of the fence generates debate because sections of the fence are built on the eastern side of the pre-1967 border. The United Nations and Palestinians view this move as illegally annexing land and unlawfully confiscating Palestinian land. The official Israeli statement is the fence is not a permanent border, but only constructed to prevent the entry of terrorists and suicide bombers into Israel . The controversial move to complete the construction will put strains on the Israelis and Palestinians. After negotiations broke down, the non-diplomatic action of unilaterally constructing the wall was taken by the Israeli government. Contrary to official Israeli statements, the security fence will ultimately become the future borders of Israel and Palestine.

Currently the borders of Israel, as recognized by the UN, may be expanded in strategic areas if Israel decides to consider the fence a border in future negotiations. The route of the fence begins in Beit- Shean (Northern Israel) and continues to Arad (Southern Israel). The portion of the fence completed in the northern region of the country is the region that 75% of suicide bombers came from. There was less controversy over the construction of this area of the fence because it coincided with the pre-1967 border also known as the “Green Line”. The major areas in dispute include the hills around Jerusalem and the large settlements twelve miles inside the West Bank. A similar fence built around the Gaza trip has let in zero suicide bombers since its completion in 1996. The official statement from the Israeli Government is “The Security Fence does not annex territories to the State of Israel nor will it change the status of the residents of these areas. ” Therefore, Palestinians will be trapped on the Israeli side with no citizenship or rights. In turn, up to 100,000 Palestinians could be trapped in a “seam zone” between Israel and the West Bank. The Defense Ministry of Israel puts the number around 15,000 people. According to Miftah.org, a pro-Palestinian website approximately 10% of West Bank land will be incorporated west of the Security Fence. Contradicting that fact is Palestine Monitor.org, which claims that Israel will be illegally annexing 55% of West Bank Territory. The amount of land being included on the Israeli side of the wall is yet to be determined because the fence is not completed.

The International Court of Justice, part of the United Nations has condemned the construction of the wall in Israel. In a July 20, 2004 meeting, The UN called for the dismantling of the wall and the tearing down of sections already built inside the West Bank. The UN states “The Construction of the wall being built by Israel , the occupying Power, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, and its associated regime, are contrary to international law;” It should be noted that Israel won the West Bank in the 1967 war. Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 to recombine East and West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The UN and most of the rest of the world do not recognize this. A vote was taken on the condemning of the security fence also known as Resolution ES/10-15. The vote passed 150 – 6 – 10. 150 countries voted in favor of condemning the wall, six against, and ten abstaining. The United States sides with Israel on this issue.

The sympathy of the world belongs to the Palestinians. There is understandable reasoning for this because Israeli checkpoints and the construction of the fence make it difficult to travel from village to village. Farmland is cut off from Palestinian farmers as well. Over 60,000 olive trees have been replanted by the Israeli Government . Farming is the main source of income for many Palestinians. Therefore, when they can not reach their farm land, they can not make money. The checkpoints set up by Israel have set the stage for the beginnings of a downward spiraling economy. Over two thirds of Palestinians live below the poverty line, which is triple the amount of Palestinians living in poverty before the start of the Intifada. Equally, Israeli employers can’t depend upon the Palestinian workers because border closures can occur at any time. Pre- September 2000, approximately 130,000 Palestinians worked in Israel. Currently the number of Palestinians working in Israel is 15,000. This hurts the Israeli economy. The city of Qalqilyah, a city that lies on the Green Line is sealed on all side by the fence. There is one entry and exit checkpoint. The unemployment rate has risen to 60% since the beginning of the Intifada in September 2000. The downward economy makes suicide bombing more prevalent. The suicide bombings make the economy worse because of Israeli border closures due to the violence of the Palestinians. The Palestinians created a domino effect for themselves that only makes their situation worse.

When the construction of the barrier is complete, life will improve in both spectrums of society. Israelis will not live in fear of a suicide bomber entering their country. Palestinians will not have to go through as many or even any Israeli checkpoints when traveling from town to town inside the West Bank. If Israel decides to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank like it has from the Gaza Strip, the fence may eventually become the border between Israel and Palestine. According to the UN, this “de facto annexation” is in direct opposition to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The move by Israel has two possible outcomes. Violence in the region will dramatically reduce now that the two opposing populations are separated and the quality of life rises. The other outcome involves a greater Palestinian uprising, possibly a war, because Israel unilaterally acted without Palestinian intervention. Most Israeli officials envision borders close to those of 1967 with modifications for Israel’s security.

In conclusion, though Israel claims not to have thought of the security fence as a permanent border, the current situation does not suggest this. The cycle of terror does not present a situation in which Palestinians can move freely into and out of Israel. Palestinians know that the fence “creates facts on the ground” because location of it gives it a highly probable chance of being used in future Palestinian and Israeli negations. The true outcome and impact of the fence will be seen in the months and years to come. The fence’s main goal, to save lives, will hopefully prove true and keep both Israelis and Palestinians safer.

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