January 24, 2004
Israeli Security Wall
at Abu Dis
[Bethlehem, West Bank] A few days
ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Israeli security wall
at Abu Dis. My friend S gave me a good tour of the wall and shared
its implications. S told me about 24-hour a day construction that
keeps all of the residents from sleeping at night. Sometimes people
are unable to return to their homes. S told me of daily shooting
and rock-throwing. It's a real mess there now -- not that it will
get much better when wall construction is complete.
The wall will separate residents,
keep students from getting to school, keep families from getting
to the closest medical facilities, and keep people from getting
to work. Israel hopes that the security wall will also stop suicide
bombers. I have to agree that a 25-ft wall will definitely make
it harder for a suicide bomber to get into Israel. (Heck, it might
also be hard for birds to get into Israel.) It won't stop every
bomber, but I'm sure it will stop some of them. If you don't agree,
take a look at the low number of bombers from Gaza, which is fenced.
Almost every suicide bomber has come through the West Bank. There
have only been a few from Gaza. So I suppose putting people inside
prison-like conditions does make it more difficult for them to
I think it is perfectly within the
rights of Israel to build a wall -- if it is around Israel's internationally-recognized
borders. The problem comes when they build it on Palestinian land.
If the wall was just about security, it would have been built
on Israel's borders. But because the wall is also about land-grabbing,
the route of the wall cuts deep through the West Bank. No one
can legitimately claim that the wall is just about security.
Abu Dis is a small community between
Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I had visited about a year ago (Jan
03, 2003 Abu
Dis Wall), but the situation
there has changed dramatically. Now the small wall running through
the middle of town has been replaced by a 25-ft high monster.
The sheer size of the thing is amazing -- and terribly sad.
The wall must fall! There is no way
this thing will stand. Will the international community sit by
and let it continue with impunity?
For more on the wall,
Israeli Security / Apartheid Wall