But The Wall Stopped The Suicide Bombings And Wouldn’t You Want A Wall If Your Neighbors Were Trying To Kill You etc etc etc


Lawrence of Cyberia


January 25, 2010

I see that Adam at Mondoweiss has written a post today about the Separation Wall in the West Bank, and the cost it imposes on the people who live there.

Whenever
you see a blog post on the subject, it is virtually guaranteed that
someone will show up with the boilerplate response about how its’s not
really a wall it’s more a fence because part of it is made of barbed
wire and besides it’s all for security reasons and it stopped the
suicide bombings so what are you anyway some kind of anti-semite who’d
rather see Jews dead and anyway you’d want a wall too if your neighbors
wanted to kill you…

To which the answer is this:

1. It’s very unlikely that the halt in suicide bombings came about because of the Separation Wall. The wall is only about 60 per cent complete,
and progress on the remaining 40 per cent has ground to a halt because
the whole process is bogged down in legal challenges. It is hard to
believe that Hamas cannot find a way around a wall that is 40 per cent
unfinished with gaps as wide as 30 kilometers.

2. It’s also unlikely that the wall stopped the suicide bombings seeing as the wall is incapable of stopping migrant workers
entering Israel from the West Bank. On 27 Sept 2007, Israel’s Channel 2
aired a news report about undocumented West Bank Palestinians working
in the Tel Aviv area, in which the Israeli Border police said that each
week they arrested on average more than 1200 Palestinians who had snuck
in from the West Bank, and concluded: "The wall, siege, security
cordon, police patrols and border guards have not prevented tens of
thousands of workers from reaching Tel Aviv every month". News stories
about the arrest of migrant workers caught working in Israel by the
Border Police continue to be a regular fixture in Palestinian news outlets.
It is hard to believe that on average 1276 Palestinian laborers can
sneak over the wall and disappear into Israel’s black economy every
week, but not a single suicide bomber can work out how to do it.

It
is much more likely that the reason suicide bombings stopped was
because their primary perpetrator was Hamas, and Hamas redirected its
efforts away from suicide attacks onto a new target in 2005. Unlike
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the underlying strategy of Hamas was that
Palestinian society should first be Islamized, and only then would
Palestinians be strong enough to launch an armed struggle against
Israel. Therefore the primary target of Hamas should be "the pork
eaters and wine drinkers" of Fatah and the PLO, as Ahmed Yassin put it.
Hamas moved away from this path during the first intifada, because
Fatah’s leadership of massive civil disobedience threatened to make
Hamas irrelevant. (Ironically, the process was reversed in the second
intifada, when it was the pressure to be seen to be doing something
against the occupation that led Fatah to imitate Hamas’ use of suicide
bombings). This is why Hamas entered into armed attacks on Israel from
1988 onwards.

But in 2005, with the approach of Palestinian
elections and a Palestinian electorate that absolutely did not believe
any more that the negotiated route Fatah was following would ever lead
anywhere, Hamas saw an opportunity to return successfully to its first
goal of toppling Fatah and the PLO and becoming the primary Palestinian
nationalist movement. Hamas’ subsequent win in the Parliamentary
elections has hardly led (yet) to the united, Islamized society that is
Hamas’ immediate goal.  Nevertheless, it seems much more likely that
Hamas’ switch away from armed struggle against Israel in favor of first
toppling the secular nationalists of Fatah better accounts for the end
of suicide attacks than a wall with 30 km gaps in it that is
circumvented on a weekly basis by hundreds of undocumented workers.

As
for Israel having neighbors some of whom want to destroy it, well that
would be an inherent problem in any plan to create a "Jewish state" on
a land with a preexisting population that is overwhelming not Jewish,
and which has to be endlessly exiled or disenfranchised in order to
gerrymander and maintain an artificial Jewish majority. It is the
scenario itself that is a recipe for insecurity and instability, not
some collective failing in the preexisting population. If Israel wants
security, it is going to have to find a way to become a state that
belongs equally to all its people. If it would get out of the West
Bank, its people would be 80% Jewish, and it would not be haunted by
the "demographic threat", but it shows no capability of doing that. It
is the very idea that Israel can continue to be a sectarian state where
most of the emerging Palestinian majority should be left forcibly
disenfranchised that is the basis for Israel’s insecurity, not some
inexplicable defect in its non-Jewish citizens and subjects that some
punitive Separation Wall will take care of.



:: Article nr. 62573 sent on 26-jan-2010 02:14 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=62573

Link: ow.ly/100PC

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