The Great Apartheid Wall Land Theft

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released a report on the humanitarian impact of Israel’s apartheid wall, 85% of which snakes through the West Bank, appropriating 9.4% of West Bank land and isolating 23,000 Palestinians. The main points of the report are:

  • The Barrier consists of concrete walls, fences, ditches, razor wire, groomed sand paths, an electronic monitoring
    system, patrol roads, and a buffer zone.
  • The Barrier’s total length (constructed and projected) is approximately 708 km, more than twice the length of
    the 1949 Armistice (‘Green’) Line, which separates Israel from the occupied West Bank.
  • Approximately 62.1% of the Barrier is complete, a further 8% is under construction and 29.9% is planned but
    not yet constructed.
  • When completed, some 85%, of the route will run inside the West Bank, rather than along the Green Line,
    isolating some 9.4% of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
  • 71 of the 150 Israeli settlements in the West Bank and over 85% of the total settler population are located on
    the ‘Israeli’ side of the Barrier’s route.
  • Palestinians with West Bank ID cards who are granted special permits can only enter East Jerusalem through
    four of the 14 Barrier checkpoints around the city.
  • Around 7,500 Palestinians who reside in areas between the Green Line and the Barrier (Seam Zone), excluding
    East Jerusalem, require special permits to continue living in their own homes; another 23,000 will be isolated if
    the Barrier is completed as planned.
  • There are about 150 Palestinian communities which have part of their land isolated by the Barrier and must
    obtain ‘visitors’ permits or perform ‘prior coordination’ to access this area.
  • Access to agricultural land through the Barrier is channelled through 80 gates. The majority of these gates only
    open during the six weeks olive harvest season and usually only for a limited period during the day.
  • During the 2011 olive harvest, about 42% of applications submitted for permits to access areas behind the
    Barrier were rejected citing ‘security reasons’ or lack of ‘connection to the land.’
  • Despite the presence of the Barrier, Israeli sources estimate that some 15,000 Palestinians without the required
    permits smuggle themselves from the West Bank to look for employment in Israel every day in 2011 (Israeli
    Government Special Committee).
  • The UN Register of Damage (UNRoD) has to date collected over 26,000 claims for material damage caused by
    the construction of the Barrier in the northern West Bank.

In May 2012, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had this to say:

Many black South Africans have traveled to the occupied West Bank and have been appalled by Israeli roads built for Jewish settlers that West Bank Palestinians are denied access to, and by Jewish-only colonies built on Palestinian land in violation of international law.

Black South Africans and others around the world have seen the 2010 Human Rights Watch report which “describes the two-tier system of laws, rules, and services that Israel operates for the two populations in areas in the West Bank under its exclusive control, which provide preferential services, development, and benefits for Jewish settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians.” This, in my book, is apartheid.

Palestinians and their supporters who protest the illegal apartheid wall are subjected to attacks by Israeli Occupation Forces, as evidenced last Friday:

Yousef Abu Maria, coordinator of the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements in Beit Ummar, stated that the army violently attacked and clubbed the protests leading to several injuries.

Abu Maria added that the army also closed the area and declared it a military zone in an attempt to prevent the peace activists from holding their protest and to prevent them from reaching the lands that became isolated behind the Annexation Wall, in addition to the lands Israel intends to steal for settlement construction and expansion.

Similar to other villages and towns in the West Bank, Beit Ummar holds weekly protests against the wall and settlements; Israeli and international peace activists join these protests, Israeli soldiers continuously resort to the use of excessive force to stop these protests.

Israel’s land heist must be reversed, the apartheid wall torn down and the rights of Palestinians to their lands preserved.

Related Links

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Eightieth session
13 February – 9 March 2012

The Committee is particularly appalled at the hermetic character of the separation of two groups, who live on
the same territory but do not enjoy either equal use of roads and infrastructure or equal
access to basic services and water resources. Such separation is concretized by the
implementation of a complex combination of movement restrictions consisting of the Wall,
roadblocks, the obligation to use separate roads and a permit regime that only impacts the
Palestinian population (Article 3 of the Convention).

The Committee draws the State party’s attention to its General Recommendation 19
(1995) concerning the prevention, prohibition and eradication of all policies and
practices of racial segregation and apartheid, and urges the State party to take
immediate measures to prohibit and eradicate any such policies or practices which
severely and disproportionately affect the Palestinian population in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory and which violate the provisions of article 3 of the Convention.

In its most recent session in Cape Town, South Africa, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine concluded that, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.”
Israeli Apartheid is Worse Than Apartheid Practised by White South Africa
End Israel’s Apartheid & Bring Down Its Illegal Wall
Israel’s Apartheid is ‘a present-day reality’ : Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Greater Israel Watch
Greater Israel Watch, Ctd

Palestine / Israel Links

Israel’s cruel imprisonment of Akram Rikhawi continues despite 94 days on hunger strike.
Reclaiming the PLO: an urgent call to unite all Palestinians
Reasons for optimism and answers to BDS critics. ‘This book is about much more than answering the critics of BDS, however. Hind Awwad, a coordinator with the BDS National Committee, makes a powerful argument for why BDS not only unites Palestinians but also unites the Palestinian struggle with other popular struggles, including those in the US that seek reforms in education, healthcare, and social justice. “The BDS movement,” she writes, “has provided a way for us to break our collective chains.”’
American Carolyn Cicciu after a visit to Palestine: “Why should we be sending money to a country that is enslaving a people?” she said. “We make it too easy for Israel to follow a military solution when they don’t get their way.”
Nutanyahoo bars access to sites of inquiry to an all female UNHRC panel set up to probe illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Zionist now supports BDS
‘Last night in Tel Aviv, during the social justice #J14 demonstration, a 57 year old man set himself on fire and is currently in the hospital. According to his letter, he was about to become homeless after going bankrupt and not receiving state assistance. In Israel, a person over the age of 55 is not eligible for housing assistance; a person who owned an apartment in the past 5 years – regardless of his current economic situation – is not eligible for rent assistance. These are the results of the continuous decline in eligibility for any form of social aid – this is part of the tragedy of the ongoing draining of social services, described by ACRI in this recently published report.’ (See ‘Crushing the opposition by delegitimizing labor unions and workers’ struggles’ – this is what fascist governments do.)
Juan Cole examines five key areas where Israel’s image is cracking like an old dry creek bed. Perhaps add another – institutionalised racism and bigotry which ridiculous mountains of hasbara highlight, rather than obscure.
Lecture in Melbourne, Victoria with Dr. Virginia Tilley