The Separation Barrier – Bethlehem

Before reading this post, take a few seconds to analyze the direction of the separation barrier Israel is building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Compare the location of the Green Line and the location of the separation barrier. MAP HERE.

Every time I see the wall I remember a heated argument between a woman and I following a film screening during Israeli Apartheid Week (back in March). She insisted that the separation barrier was actually a fence and that I was a lunatic for thinking that Israel is constructing a wall in the West Bank. I pointed out to her that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) referred to it as a wall in its famous 2004 ruling. I also pointed out that credible organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International referred to portions of it as wall also. I acknowledge the fact that portions of the separation barrier are lengths of fence infused with barbed wire but a large portion of the barrier I’ve seen in the West Bank is comprised of 6-8 meter slabs of concrete. The fenced parts of the barrier (in Bi’lin for example) serve the same purpose as the concrete portions of the wall. They cut through the West Bank and annex portions of Palestinian land so that Israel can continue its colonization project. The separation barrier in Bi’lin is especially egregious because it cuts right through Palestinian farm land. The Israeli high court judged that the barrier in Bi’lin needed to be relocated but the Israeli army has declined to enforce the ruling.

From now on I am going to avoid arguing about terminology (wall vs. fence) and focus on the political motivations behind the separation/annexation barrier.

Most of the barrier Israel is building to annex East Jerusalem is comprised of these massive concrete slabs. We traveled to Bethlehem recently where Israel is building the wall past the Green Line in an attempt to annex land and fragment Palestinian communities. Here are some pictures I took with my cell phone.

Bonus: A few of the interns noticed an unintentionally hilarious sign as we were in our bus passing through the separation barrier from Bethlehem to East Jerusalem. Israel builds this massive illegal structure to annex land and then praises itself for being such a peaceful neighbor. The irony speaks for itself…

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4 Responses to “The Separation Barrier – Bethlehem”

  1. Deb83 Says:

    This is typical Israeli policy. Say you want peace and that’s all you have ever wanted while you create “facts on the ground” and build settlements and confiscate land. When questioned, which is not often, you say you need it for “security”. Clearly, this is a tremendous land grab and Israel has no real desire for peace. You can clearly see how the wall snakes around the settlements.

  2. Dennis Says:

    It is hard to imagine how Israelis justify this although I have heard that the suicide bombings provided the catalyst and the near cessation of bombings where the wall has been built is the ultimate justification for their “fence” policy.

    Whether it is this issue or any other, what efforts have been made to allow for Israeli participation in the internship process. I hear that ‘former’ Zionists are involved but what about hearing from someone who speaks to the Israeli perspective?

  3. Daniil Niyazov Says:

    You are absolutely right Dennis. The wall has helped an enormous amount in stopping the suicide attacks in Israel. The wall is an invaluable tool to Israeli security. The main issue at hand is not the existence of the wall, but the fact that it cuts through the West Bank instead of following the border. In many cases, the wall is simply built through a Palestinian village, cutting off communication and free movement.

    • Joel Says:

      Agreed Daniil. Calling the separation barrier a ‘security barrier’ isn’t completely accurate. The barrier does provide security for the state of Israel and prevents terror attacks, but it serves numerous other purposes. The long-term goal of the barrier is to cantonize and annex Palestinian land by building it throughout the West Bank. Based on what we know about terrorism/suicide terrorism, the location of the wall and the occupation will only increase the likelihood of future terror attacks. If Israel thoroughly cared about the safety of its citizens it wouldn’t be annexing and colonizing its neighbors land. A wall isn’t going to prevent a cunning terrorist from carrying out a major terror operation within Israel. However, a peaceful resolution of the conflict by establishing two states based on pre-June 1967 borders will neutralize Arab radicalism. There is nothing peaceful about the wall, the land theft and the settlement construction; these variables enrage and radicalize the Palestinian people. This is why I believe Zionism is evil at its core. It cares more about establishing the borders of “Greater Israel” than it does about the safety of all of the people involved in this conflict.

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