Why the WALL must FALL


Israel is building a gigantic Wall in occupied Palestine on the pretext of security - yet it is building it well within the West Bank (not on its border). The first phase is already completed. The second phase, scheduled for completion in 2005, will exclude a wide swathe of the Jordan River Valley. The Wall will then have effectively annexed nearly 50% of the West Bank. It is clear that in building the Wall, Israel's goal is to seize more Palestinian land for a “Greater Israel”.

For Palestinians, the Wall means isolation, restriction of movement, the loss of land and water, of markets and homes. It means living in an open air prison. It means difficulty getting food, education and health care. This translates into pressure on Palestinians to leave their land - and make way for yet more Jewish settlements. If this pressure is insufficient, expulsions will undoubtedly follow. Recently, Palestinian residents living between the Wall and the border have been told they must apply for "permits" to remain on their land - permits which may or may not be granted. (The order was called "Announcing the Closure of the Seam Area").

This is all totally illegal. Yet the US continues to support Israel both financially and diplomatically. The US gives Israel 5 billion dollars in aid annually, plus "loan guarantees" - de facto gifts. Without US aid, Israel would be unable to pursue its brutal military occupation of Palestine and the building of the Wall (to a staggering cost of over $2 million per kilometer). Yet there is virtually no opposition in the US to this policy of uncritical support. In September 2003, the US Congress again approved $9 billion of loans - with no mention of the Wall.

US law forbids giving military assistance to any country that violates internationally recognized human rights. The US continues to arm Israel, and to allow these weapons to be used against civilians, in violation of its own law.

In October, the US vetoed a United Nations resolution condemning Israel’s Apartheid Wall. The US has vetoed a total of over 60 UN resolutions which are critical of Israel. (Israel chooses to ignore another 71 resolutions which the UN has passed).

US leaders consider Israel to be an ally in their own strategic plans for the Middle East. The US arms industry is delighted to have such a good customer, at US taxpayers' expense. US elected officials and candidates for office, even when they privately disagree, seldom dare to oppose pro-Israel policies for fear of charges of anti-Semitism and of the powerful pro-Israel lobbies, notably the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Some are sincerely concerned for Israel's security. But cruel and oppressive treatment of the Palestinians is not the way to guarantee the security of Israel and its people. An end to the occupation would better serve that cause, and would also lead to peace and security for Palestinian men, women and their children.

The European Union has given lip service to “deep concerns” about the Wall, but has yet to show the courage of its convictions. EU countries also arm Israel. Although the European-Israeli Association Agreement, in force since 2000, explicitly requires the parties to respect human rights, the EU has not seen fit to suspend the treaty despite the obvious and persistent human rights violations stemming from the occupation and the Wall.

We say that support of oppression is not only unlawful and immoral, but extremely dangerous. State terrorism will not crush individual terrorism. No wall can bring security. Only in a world where human rights and law are prized over brute force may we hope for peace and freedom from terror.