Why Sharon's Wall Is a Civilized Response to Terrorism





Ms. Muir is a historian, book reviewer and winner of the 2001-02 Massachusetts Book Award for Reflections in Bullough's Pond: Economy and Ecosystem in New England (University Press of New England).

In A.D. 122, the Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered construction of a wall that would run 73 miles across the width of England, from the River Tyne to Solway Firth. The idea was to keep barbarians from making trouble for the civilized people of Roman Britain.

In the Third Century BCE, the Chin Emperor ordered that a series of walls erected by sundry border states be linked into a Great Wall that ran from the Gulf of Chihli to the edge of Tibet, about 22 times the length of Hadrian's barrier. The wall succeeded in repelling many barbarians.

We no longer have barbarians. We have terrorists. It is hardly surprising that a nation whose citizens are being murdered should decide to construct a fence to stop the entry of terrorists, even though building such a fence requires demolishing homes, separating farmers from their fields, moving whole villages, and considerable hardship for the individuals affected.

India, therefore, is building a security fence, with all deliberate speed. Yes, India.

While the attention of the world focuses on the West Bank, India is surrounding Bangladesh with a fence about 2,500 miles long, similar in construction and purpose to that being built by Israel to try to protect itself from Palestinian terrorists.

India's seven northeastern provinces are wracked by violence as tribal insurgencies struggle for independence. The resentment that some members of these ethnic groups feel is exacerbated by the inundation of their homelands by waves of illegal Muslim immigrants. In recent years an estimated twenty million Muslims have illegally crossed the border from Bangladesh.

Several dozen militant groups exist in these seven provinces. Some are said to be little better than brigands, but others are substantial armed insurgencies seeking national independence for tribes that predate Hinduism. Their methods include bombing government officials and the murderous" cleansing" of villages of the"wrong" ethnicity.

The violence is facilitated by the ease with which these terrorists have been able to withdraw across the border to bases in Bangladesh.

The key fact about security fences is that they are highly effective in keeping barbarians out. The Great Wall of China gave excellent protection against raiders. That meant that generations of Chinese could lead secure and prosperous lives in the shadow of the wall. In England, meanwhile, life in the border counties was violent and impoverished.

Hadrian's Wall was abandoned when the Romans left England, but in the late Middle Ages the island of Britain was again divided into a civilized south and a barbarian north.

Well into the 1600s, Scottish border tribes raided northern England, looting and kidnapping. In 1745 Scottish Highlanders launched an invasion of England aimed at putting a Stuart on the throne. England defended itself from the risk of further invasion by pacifying the Highland tribes.

The process eventually brought prosperity to the Scottish Lowlands, which blossomed into an Enlightenment that lit the world -- but the price was horrific. England had purchased security by driving nine-tenths of the Highland Scots off their land, in the brutal"Highland clearances."

Starving and bludgeoning an unruly population until its people die or emigrate are one method of pacifying a region. I prefer walls.

Obviously, the best solution for the Mideast would be for the Palestinians to create a government that would abandon the goal of conquering Israel, and that would quash the armed terrorists in its midst. Israel could negotiate peace with such a government.

Failing that, building a fence is the most civilized way in which nations can defend themselves from the threat faced, throughout history, by civilized people who share a border with armed attackers who lack an effective government.

Related Links

  • Tom Engelhardt,"How to Build a Wall" (TomDispatch.com)


    This article first appeared in the Providence Journal and is reprinted with permission of the author.


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    Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

    Why can't the wall be built within non-disputed Israeli territory? That would obviate the need to demolish homes, separate farmers from their fields, move whole villages, and create considerable hardship for the individuals affected. Why must the Israelis define their security requirements in such a way as to require the violation of Palestinian rights when the same requirements can be met without violating them? The US has problems with illegal Mexican immigrants. Would this justify our building a "fence" that jutted 8-10 miles south of the border?


    Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

    I read your note after I posted mine. I'm assuming you mean this:

    "4) Building the barrier within 1967 borders leaves part of Israel open to sniper attacks from the higher plains. History of Lebanon and Syria indicate that any line of fire between terrorists and Israeli civilians will be taken advantage of. Building the barrier further from the 67 border, therefore, is a strategic decision as much as it is political."

    This whole line of argument is a red herring. The wall was not built to deter sniper attacks or mortar fire, as in "the history of Lebanon and Syria"; it was built to stop infiltration, as in the recent history of suicide bombings. I don't understand how a wall COULD stop sniper attacks or mortar fire. If I am a sniper or artillery person, and I want to shoot someone "over there", a wall is not going to stop me. All I have to do is shoot over the wall (or pour artillery fire on the wall itself). A wall does nothing. But if the function of the wall is to stop infiltration (as it is), there is no need to put the wall on Palestinian territory. It can serve its function standing on Israeli territory.

    Anyway, let's pretend that you're right for a moment. So Israel needs the wall to stop snipers from firing at it. On the other hand, Palestinians need to keep their land, need to harvest their crops, etc. So you have two conflicting sets of needs. I don't see why Israeli needs are more important than Palestinians ones, unless you somehow assume that Israelis have a moral status that Palestinians lack. Since I don't make that assumption, I wouldn't accept your defense of the wall even if I were to accept your claims about its strategic value (and I don't accept those, either). Israeli security concerns are not the only relevant issue.

    As to Mexico, I guess I would say: if we had decided to built settlements in Mexico whose existence made life impossible for the Mexicans, then if the Mexicans became terrorists and decided to infiltrate our borders, I would insist that we not build a fence on the Mexican side of the border to stop them. But maybe it was a mistake to have introduced this issue into the debate. It doesn't add anything.


    Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

    But "being hampered in employment and travel" in the West Bank really means "being hampered in trying to survive." The hardships you're referring to make life nearly impossible. They're not luxuries. And if you're admitting it's a subjective call, I guess I'd say that my argument stands.

    On the other hand, I do think Palestinians who are affected by the wall ought to be pressuring their own government to come down harder on terrorism. The one-sided focus on Israel is unfair, since the whole predicament is partly of the PA's making. It's disingenuous for the PA to say, "Tear down this wall--not that we're gonna do anything about terrorism, mind you."


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/10/2004

    If anyone is still reading this threat, I recommend this article and regret that I did not come across it sooner:

    http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/middleeast/Israels_Anti-Terror_Fence_The_World_Court_Case.asp


    Dan Buck - 3/7/2004

    While there have been good points made above about the applicability of Hadrian's Wall and the Great Wall of China, I'm not sure that they have any applicability to the Israeli one. More importantly, I wonder if there is any reason to believe that the Israeli wall will be effective in achieving greater security for Israel's citizens.

    Get your flames ready.....

    It seems to me like some people on this forum either completely ignore or marginalize opinions from the 'other side,' without trying to really understand them. I think it is important for critics of Israel to attempt to understand that many Israelis have a 'siege mentality' that is quite reasonable, given the situation. After all, an unfortunately huge number of Israelis know someone who has been cruelly murdered. Furthermore, given the very real anti-Semitism of the past century in particular, and the millenia of diaspora in general, it seems quite natural to me that this mindset would become prevalent among Jews, Israelis in particular. It's not exactly paranoia if everyone's out to get you. This leads to a heightened sense of fear, especially if you're an Israeli soldier, and scared people make mistakes, and sometimes commit very serious crimes.

    That said, look at the Palestinians. They have only to look through the wire to see a far more prosperous country, and they have to suffer the indignity of occupation as well. Furthermore, Palestinians live in fear as well: fear of arrest, eviction, and murder. While I think the IDF tries as best as they can (usually) to avoid killing innocents, among certain groups of fundamentalist settlers there is not this restraint. Given that, as well as the fact that there are many illegal settlements in the occupied territories, one can understand the rise of racism and hatred among certain groups of Palestinians. They are afraid of having more land taken, and feel that without taking the extreme step of a terrorist war against Israel, they will be left with nothing.

    So, it boils down to this: If you are a critic of Israeli policies, do you have any real reason to believe that if Israel retreated to within the 1967 borders, that certain organizations (Hamas, Islamic Jihad etc.) would abandon all attempts to 'drive the Jews into the sea'? Do you believe that the Palestinians have truly utilized all possible avenues of negotiation? And if you defend Israeli policies, do you have any reason to believe that the wall will actually make Israel more secure, rather than providing more ideological fuel for the terrorist fire? Do you think that those few fundamentalists who strive for Greater Israel will stop if Israel is recognized by the Arab world?

    I weep for both Israelis and Palestinians, because none of the magic bullet solutions that people offer up so frequently seem to have an ice cube's chance in hell of working. There are extremists on both sides who can agitate the moderates on the other side into more violent positions with very little effort, and they show no signs of going away. Indeed, we know about birthrates in the region, and since moderate Israelis and Palestinians have fewer children, it doesn't seem like anything will change quickly or bloodlessly. Finally, a question for those who know more about this. Does the state of Israel have any aid programs targeted specifically for improvements in education in Palestine? I think it would benefit Israel greatly if the entire Arab world was more educated, and had certain facts made common knowledge (that Jews don't eat babies, that the Holocaust really actually happened, that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are demonstrably b.s., etc.) It seems reasonable that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be drawn to terrorism (although the 9/11 hijackers were highly educated, it seems as though they were firmly indoctrinated in Saudi first).


    David C Battle - 3/6/2004

    The palestinian arabs were not to concerned about international law when they invaded Israel in '48, 1967, and in '73. You reap what you sow.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/5/2004

    1) "And as long as this tactic is employed to fight insurgencies, it will ultimately fail. As it did in Algeria; in the old Yishuv; in the Boston of 1770."

    You may very well be right but a failing war might very well be better than the alternative, which is Hamas’ solution. After all, neither England nor the French ever had to consider their national survival in deciding to fight insurgencies.

    2) "I'm certainly not giving the Israelis 100% responsibility here; but they must accept their share of it."

    A point well taken… especially about the 1956 Suez war.

    3) "I believe the biggest factor in the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967 has been the constant presence of the IDF among a civilian population, and the paralysis of the Israeli government (which still, 37 years after the Six-Day War, really haven't figured out what to do with the occupied territory). The Israelis, to a very large degree, created the problem; it is contingent to an equal degree on them to take moves toward a solution."

    You make some excellent points. Indeed, perhaps Israel should have created a Palestinian state in 1967, although given the strategic position of this new state and the inability of any country in the region to make peace with Israel, it is hardly surprising that they did not. I do believe that the settlements are a big part of the problem and that Likud party in Israel has less than peaceful goodwill towards Palestinian national aspirations. Any peace deal is going to have to include either the dismantling of the settlements, or giving the Palestinians land that belongs to Israel whose fertility as at least as good as what was taken. This, by the way, was exactly what Arafat turned down in 2000.

    Nevertheless, here we are, in 2004, and Israel has a situation that, if I may borrow a metaphor without its original subject coming back to kick me in the butt, is like holding a wolf by the ears: you can’t hold on forever but you don’t dare let go. So long as the Palestinians continue to teach pathological hatred in their schools, celebrate mass murderers, advocate the genocidal extinction of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, and support organizations that will never accept peace, I really don’t know what else Israel can seriously do other than what the United States did in hunting bin Laden. To me, the barrier is not some land grad, eagerly being built by bloodthirsty Israelis… it is a last resort action being propelled and justified by Palestinian terror. If the Palestinian people are tired of Israel "holding it by the ears," so to speak, perhaps they should seriously think of about assuring Israel that they will pose no future threat, something that, to date, they have never NEVER done.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/5/2004

    As I state in my first post, the West Bank is not Palestinian property in the legal sense. The last legal sovereign of the area was Jordan and they willing abdicated control after the Six-Day war.

    As for all this talk of international law, as I have said before I don’t believe Israel is in violation of international law and don’t even think non-states could qualify as any kind of sovereign entity. In any event, let us assume that the barrier is in violation of international law. Than what? For me to provide a list of countries who have violated international law would take up a lot of space, including, many have argued, the United States in going into Iraq (which is an entirely separate debate). To the extent that international law has ever effected states decisions on war and peace, why is Israel being asked to abide by it, when its enemies routinely slaughter innocent men, women, and children?

    We can debate the barrier on principle, on morality, or even on conflicting human rights, but if Israel believes that the barrier is protecting its citizens, no international law is going to stop them from doing so. This may be a deficiency on their part, you might argue. To me however, it is simply the reality of international law.


    Jesse David Lamovsky - 3/5/2004

    Mr. Moshe,

    What's to forgive? Your reply is welcomed.

    To reply point by point:

    1.) "I don't believe that this has ever been the goal of Israel. The enemy is not the Palestinian people, but the terrorists living among them."

    The stated enemy may be Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and the other Palestinian groups that target civilians, but the methods of warfare- land expropriations, house demolitions, curfews, closures, the rest- can't help but target the population at large.

    2.) "So long as terrorist continue to hide in civilians areas, among civilians who support them, there will be some element of collective punishment."

    And as long as this tactic is employed to fight insurgencies, it will ultimately fail. As it did in Algeria; in the old Yishuv; in the Boston of 1770.

    3.) "Since the beginning of Israeli history, its neighbors have utilized nothing but military attacks against Israel."

    This is mostly true. But the history of Israel since 1948 is replete with examples of the State attempting to change the regional political situation through military means, particularly in relation to Lebanon and the Suez Canal. I'm certainly not giving the Israelis 100% responsibility here; but they must accept their share of it.

    I freely admit I'm emphasizing the Israel role in the conflict, not because I'm "picking" on the Israelis, but because, as the strongest player in the conflict, and as the country that controls the land in question, they naturally (to me, at least) have the greatest share of responsibility for ending the conflict, and the most power to do so. That's why I don't dwell on the inadequacies of Yasir Arafat's leadership, or whether or not "the world" thinks this-or-that about Israel, or the fact that there is no Ghandi-in-a-keffiyah waiting in the wings, looking to assist the Israelis on the path to peace. I believe the biggest factor in the deterioration of the situation in the West Bank and Gaza since 1967 has been the constant presence of the IDF among a civilian population, and the paralysis of the Israeli government (which still, 37 years after the Six-Day War, really haven't figured out what to do with the occupied territory). The Israelis, to a very large degree, created the problem; it is contingent to an equal degree on them to take moves toward a solution.

    I do appreciate your compliments, though with some small qualifications. I don't really consider myself "pro-Palestinian", per se- insomuch as I am in full support of Jewish national aspirations in the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, I am as pro-Israeli as you or Messrs. Catsam and Battle (though I do think the Palestinian national cause is legitimate, in spite of the horrific methods this cause employs). And my comments, while critical in many ways of Israeli policy, come with the belief that a proactive approach toward a solution is the best thing for Israel, in the region and internationally.


    Howard N Meyer - 3/5/2004

    The argument is marked by total disregard of the fact that the Sharonian Wall is being built on someone else's property.
    The anecdotal story about walls all over disregards that simple fact.
    And that fact has to be viewed in the light of the norms
    prescribed by International Law a/k/a THE LAW OF NATIONS,which as the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan repeatedly wrote and said has been forgotten in the United States "a vast collective amnesia" has hidden the
    role of International Law in our history.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/4/2004

    Mr. Lamovsky,
    If you would forgive me, I know this post was directed towards Mr. Catsam, and I don’t mean to steal his thunder, but I would like the opportunity to respond to it nevertheless.

    1) "But treating the Palestinians as a military enemy is the wrong approach, because there is no way to defeat the Palestinians militarily."

    I don't believe that this has ever been the goal of Israel. The enemy is not the Palestinian people, but the terrorists living among them. This is why we have not seen, nor will we see, a full scale attack on Palestinians, such as a carpet bombing of the territory or full scale military control such as existed in Germany after WWII.

    2) "Any Israeli military action against Palestinian terrorism seems to inevitably diffuse into collective punishments against civilians, which inflames the spirit of resistance among the Palestinians."

    Sadly, this is very true, just as American action against al-Queda was, in a way, collective punishment on the Afghan people. Frankly, I really don't know how this can be ever remedied. So long as terrorist continue to hide in civilians areas, among civilians who support them, there will be some element of collective punishment.

    3) "Like they have always done, the Israelis are attempting to employ their military in an effort to solve a political problem. It isn't going to happen."

    I would argue that this is not what they have always done. Since the beginning of Israeli history, its neighbors have utilized nothing but military attacks against Israel. Thus far, every Arab country (as well as the Palestinians) that has tried to negotiate with Israel has received an enthusiastic response from Israeli leaders and society.

    Terrorism, like all dogmatic social movements, cannot be negotiated into moderation. Do you honestly believe that, after 9/11, we should have tried to negotiate with bin Laden? Unless the negotiations are simply total capitulation to all of the terrorists demands, a military response is the only solution, even if an imperfect one.


    Jesse David Lamovsky - 3/4/2004

    Mr. Catsam,

    But al-Queda's capabilities can be destroyed; its money flow shut off; its leaders captured. It, as an organization, can be physically destroyed (if it is constituted the way we are told, that is). In that way, al-Queda is more like a "belligerent" than the Palestinian resistance.

    But treating the Palestinians as a military enemy is the wrong approach, because there is no way to defeat the Palestinians militarily. Any Israeli military action against Palestinian terrorism seems to inevitably diffuse into collective punishments against civilians, which inflames the spirit of resistance among the Palestinians. Like they have always done, the Israelis are attempting to employ their military in an effort to solve a political problem. It isn't going to happen.


    Derek Charles Catsam - 3/3/2004

    Jessie --
    In your point #4, which Adam also excerpts above, you could substitute "Al Quaida" for "Palestinian" -- just because one does not have a state it is pretty easy to be a belligerant. What nation-state did the terrorists on 9-11 represent? You surely do not believe this. Further, the Palestinians see themselves as a nation even if they do not have a nation state. That too many of them concede leadership to Arafat is a tragedy, but at the end of the day it is their tragedy.
    dc


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    I agree 100% that Palestinian needs must be taken into account and do not mean to dismiss the damage that the barrier has done to many Palestinians. To me however, the need to protect lives from terrorism is simply greater than the need to be unhampered in employment and travel. It is a subjective call, I admit. But given the circumstances, I believe that continued terrorism inside Israel justifies a response that hinders the civil liberties of some Palestinians, just as American laws after 9/11 hinders the civil liberties of all Americans (not that I am making a direct comparison). As for those innocent Palestinians whose lives are made difficult by the barrier, I sympathize with them and hope for their sake that the terrorism stops so that the barrier can be dismantled.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    1) “If anti-Semitic describes someone who advocates against the violations of human rights law and humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict, I gladly accept the label.”

    But it doesn’t mean that. Like so many other terms (international law, genocide, etc.), you have simply changed the definition of a word to suit your argument. I wish I could, but I prefer to actually use facts and logic instead.

    2) “International law Mr. Moshe? Try the Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907,International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child,countless decisions of the ICJ, ICTY, ICTR, and countless Regional human Rights Courts.”

    Yes, yes, I am aware of their existence… and their relationship to Israel?

    3) “We have already discussed the GA Resolutions and how they hold a great deal of weight due to the fact that your saviour, the US has the ability to veto any resolution that goes to the Security Council...so they are relevant. If you want to deny that...that is your bias and is allowable.”

    Good to know… by the way, it is also the law. The UN charter clearly delineates what power GA resolutions have. Of course, that would mean you are wrong so let us simply ignore that, shall we?

    4) “The reason that Israel is only arguing the jurisdictional aspects of the case bfore the ICJ is because there is absolutely no legal case to be made...even Israeli analysts admit this.”

    Really? Thus far, you have yet to provide a single legal argument in any of your posts. In any event, the EU (hardly a friend to Israel) has also refused to participate, claiming that the ICJ, essentially THEIR OWN INVENTION, has NO right to hear this case. Let me guess… they must all be Zionists, right? Don’t I wish!

    5) “We have established that you basically interpret international law to serve your own purposes...so go ahead and continue to. you tire of asking me? i tire of your delusional rhetoric and having to continuously point out to you where the violations lie, only to have you try and disguise the violations in semantics and bs.”

    I wish I could interpret international law as I like but so far, I have had no need… you have yet to provide a single fact against Israel other than: Israel bad… international law good. Go ahead, make a case. Just try for your own sake… you might learn something.

    6) “I do advocate negotiation...in fact i have long advocated truth and reconciliation in the form of a Commission similar to that of South Africa. it is you who defends the oppressive human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Israeli government...never accuse me of advocating violence...i have long denounced the palestinian terrorists as well as the Israeli ones.”

    Really? So you never said: "Wait a minute...negotiation and compromise? On something that Israel is illegally occupying in the first place?" Clearly, that indicates shock that the Palestinians should have no negotiate. Actually, you have never denounced Palestinian terrorism and I believe (and I could be wrong on this) this is the first time you ever explicitly used the term Palestinian terrorism. I am glad to hear you can finally call the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children terrorism and not resistance.

    7) “As for the "guerrilla war" statement...it was you who stated that you considered Israel to be "at war"...i only logically extended the analogy to include both sides...something you seem unable to do. Or do we want to have it both ways as usual? Thought so...”

    The above sentence makes absolutely no sense so I am not sure how to respond. What are you saying exactly? That in times of war, there is no such thing as terrorism or that all sides in a war are guerrillas?

    8) “By the way...by your logic...the palestinians can invade Israel and take it over...then "negotiate" to give Israel back...even though the occupation itself is illegal. That is why your advocation of "negotiation" is foolish and inane.”

    Straw man attacks are rather desperate, but given your litany of petty insults thus far in our conversation, I consider this an improvement. Actually, by my logic, if the Palestinians stop murdering innocent men, women, and children, Israel will give them the state that they want. Pretty wild, huh?

    9) “When an action is illegal and violative of international law...you don't negotate away the violation, you have the action declared illegal and the offending country obeys international law and leaves.”

    You mean like Russia is doing with Chechnya? Or Turkey and the Kurds? How about the Southern Sudanese? The list goes on. Of course, the difference in all of those cases if that unlike the Palestinians, the nationalistic groups pose no mortal threat to the country in question. By your logic (like that?) the Palestinians should stop slaughtering innocent people, so there.

    10) “you must be a truly moral man.”

    Why thank you, I do what I can.

    11) “As for me...i tire of your Zionist stances and advocation of obvious crimes against humanity. It gets redundent repeating myself constantly and making you look foolish...hence i will retire from the banter for the week. I am sure...being the "scholars" that you are...you will want the last word, and can gladly have it. I just hope you realise that your facade fools no one other than your own kind.”

    My own kind? What am I, a Klingon? In any event, since you have made very little substantive points, I don’t know what you are tired of. In any event, let me give you some free advise in the future: when you want to make a point, do try and make it instead of simply calling people names. Then (and this is the important part) you should actually try to defend that point with data. Thus far, as everyone can attest to, every time I refute your rants, you simply start up with new ones rather than try and prove me wrong.

    12) “you realise that this analysis opens the door for the statement that the Berlin Wall was built "for security."

    How so? Oh yeah, that’s right you left the conversation and therefore feel no need to justify this statement. Well, for others, the Berlin wall was meant to keep people IN not keep them OUT. See the difference?

    13) “at least East Germany built its wall on its territory!! Not illegally!!”

    HA! East Germany WAS occupied territory! Friend, you are an embarrassment to yourself. The Soviet Union had occupied it after WWII!

    14) “When Israel and palestine finally come to peace through individuals like myself and those groups I work for...I hope you are ready to do your part in repaying the victims of the atrocities you support and egg on through your inflammatory and hateful rhetoric.”

    Israeli peace under your terms means the destruction of the State of Israel and the genocide of every man women and child in the country (that is, after all, what Hamas, IJ, etc. admit they want). I have little doubt that it will happen, unfortunately for you and “your people.”


    chris l pettit - 3/3/2004

    Don't worry boys...you still get the huffed up last words...just wanted to give you a link to an Israeli organisation and activist stating the same things I am...then you can wail and gnash your teeth all you want...

    http://www.amin.org/eng/uri_avnery/2004/feb28.html


    chris l pettit - 3/3/2004

    If anti-Semitic describes someone who advocates against the violations of human rights law and humanitarian law by both sides of the conflict, I gladly accept the label. It also means...using simple logic, that those who are Zionistic are anti-human rights law and humanitarian law...a fact that has been well documented by the inane and foolish responses that Mr. Moshe and Mr. battle post daily.

    Speaking of reading texts...why dont you both pick up Justice and Reconciliation: After the Violence, by Andrew Rigby...maybe it will enlighten your narrow little minds.

    International law Mr. Moshe? Try the Geneva Conventions, Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907,International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child,countless decisions of the ICJ, ICTY, ICTR, and countless Regional human Rights Courts. We have already discussed the GA Resolutions and how they hold a great deal of weight due to the fact that your saviour, the US has the ability to veto any resolution that goes to the Security Council...so they are relevant. If you want to deny that...that is your bias and is allowable. The reason that Israel is only arguing the jurisdictional aspects of the case bfore the ICJ is because there is absolutely no legal case to be made...even Israeli analysts admit this. We have established that you basically interpret international law to serve your own purposes...so go ahead and continue to. you tire of asking me? i tire of your delusional rhetoric and having to continuously point out to you where the violations lie, only to have you try and disguise the violations in semantics and bs.

    I do advocate negotiation...in fact i have long advocated truth and reconciliation in the form of a Commission similar to that of South Africa. it is you who defends the oppressive human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Israeli government...never accuse me of advocating violence...i have long denounced the palestinian terrorists as well as the Israeli ones. As for the "guerrilla war" statement...it was you who stated that you considered Israel to be "at war"...i only logically extended the analogy to include both sides...something you seem unable to do. Or do we want to have it both ways as usual? Thought so...

    By the way...by your logic...the palestinians can invade Israel and take it over...then "negotiate" to give Israel back...even though the occupation itself is illegal. That is why your advocation of "negotiation" is foolish and inane. When an action is illegal and violative of international law...you don't negotate away the violation, you have the action declared illegal and the offending country obeys international law and leaves. See the Libya vs Chad judgment of the ICJ for a good example of the respect that should be shown to international law. Once again...you advocate the position of might makes right...then we can negotiate even though Israel is clearly in the wrong...you must be a truly moral man.

    As for me...i tire of your Zionist stances and advocation of obvious crimes against humanity. It gets redundent repeating myself constantly and making you look foolish...hence i will retire from the banter for the week. I am sure...being the "scholars" that you are...you will want the last word, and can gladly have it. I just hope you realise that your facade fools no one other than your own kind.

    One last note about the article...as you had nothing to say regarding the substance of my note re: the wall comments and analysis...i figure you are pretty uneducated on the topic. The way the author presents her argument, for "security"...you realise that this analysis opens the door for the statement that the Berlin Wall was built "for security." Security to one is oppression to another...and Israel's wall fits the bill...it does not matter whether it is fence or stone...the argument is that it serves the same purpose. Therefore, the comparison is warranted under the terms of her argument. That is another reason why the article is such an atrocious piece of scholarship and why I of course expect you to support it. The assasnations and oppression, as well as illegalities committed in the name of "security" are similar...and again...at least East Germany built its wall on its territory!! Not illegally!!

    So I take my leave...hope you learn something this week, although i doubt it will happen since I feel as though you are a brick wall that I am constantly bouncing a rubber ball against and having it come right back at me unchanged. Racism and bigotry, as well as the violation of human rights may last you a while, but eventually all tyrant states fall...as historians you should know that. When Israel and palestine finally come to peace through individuals like myself and those groups I work for...I hope you are ready to do your part in repaying the victims of the atrocities you support and egg on through your inflammatory and hateful rhetoric.

    CP


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    I have posted above the reasons why I feel building the berrier beyong the 67 lines is legitimate. We may debate over whether the route is actually more effective in meeting Israeli security concerns, but I believe that it is.

    I did want to comment on your claim that "The US has problems with illegal Mexican immigrants. Would this justify our building a "fence" that jutted 8-10 miles south of the border?"

    In fact, if those immigrants were comming in to murder innocent Americans, I can assure you, we would do far more than build a fence to keep them out, we would likely take over the counrty unless the terrorism stopped like we did with Afghanistan. However, if building a fence on Mexican territory was the best way to stop terrorism, can there be any doubt that we would do it?


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    Mr. Lamovsky,
    I must say with all sincerity that you are the first person that I have read to oppose an Israeli policy with intelligence and clarity. I am going to respectfully disagree with you on some of your points, but I appreciate someone who can actually defend the Palestinians and reject Israeli policy without resorting to wild, almost pathological hatred.

    1) "Keep in mind, Mr. Moshe, that in terms of territory the Israelis are playing with the pocket aces: all of the land in dispute was won by Israel, from its Arab neighbors. Giving up only some of this land would constitute a victory; giving up all of it, up to the Green Line, would be a return to the pre-1967 status quo; but neither outcome can properly be seen as a defeat."

    I could not agree with you more. Indeed, in 2000, Barak offered the Palestinians 100% of Gaza, 97% of the West Bank, and East Jerusalem as the capitol, as well as a compensation fund for refugees. One could argue that nothing short of 100% of the West Bank would have been acceptable, but Arafat did not make that argument, nor did he present any counterproposal… he walked out of the negotiations.

    Let us all remember several important facts: Israel was willing to surrender the Sinai Peninsula, despite its accusation in a defensive war and despite the presence of some oil reserved in exchange for peace with Egypt. Further, the vast majority of the Israeli population (we know this through polls) support an independent Palestinian state and would gladly dismantle almost ALL settlements if peace were in exchange.

    2) "It seems to me that the Wall is intended as a de-facto border- and that border will include disputed land within the West Bank, land that, under international law, is not considered, and has never been considered, Israeli territory."

    Well, my friend, you may be right and I certainly hope that you are not. I do not despite the fact that the Israeli government intends to annex this land in the long run if peace is simply never achieved. The real issue for me is that, assuming that the barrier is indeed more effective on security grounds (this is what I have heard but frankly, I really don’t know) I don’t know what else Israel is to do. They cannot simply withdraw because then the security situation in untenable and the terrorist groups have said that they will not stop murdering innocent people.

    3) "And the fact is, Mr. Moshe, that if Israel desires peace, than at some point it will simply have to compromise, and surrender some, most, or all of the territory it won in 1967."

    I agree with this, as do most Israelis. The question is, will the Palestinian terrorist groups be willing to live in peace? Until that answer is yes, I cannot blame Israel, or any other nation, for refusing to trust agents who vow to continue murdering innocent people.

    4) "The Palestinians, however, cannot be considered a belligerent, because they have no legal national identity; no army; no territory; no real government to speak of. The Palestinians are a subject people, and their government, for all intents and purposes, is the IDF. They are not in a state of war with the Israelis; they are in a state of rebellion against their Israeli masters."

    I must disagree. There has never been a Palestine nor a Palestinian people in any legal or historical sense. There was never an attempt to make a Palestine under the rule of Jordan. For all intends and purposes, Palestine is no different from other infant nations and should be treated no different. I am sorry, but Israel cannot be asked to simply give a state to people who desire its extermination. I can think of many nationalistic groups throughout history who have desired their independence and none that I can think of has ever been as great a threat to the existence of the nation occupying them than the Palestinians are to the Israelis. Furthermore, none have been as brutal and indiscriminate as the Palestinians are to Israeli civilians, that I know of.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    1) "At this website there is an emphasis on argumentation and not wild charges of racism; as you know many besides myself have challenged Israel's unwarranted defence of racism, butchery and the murdering of women and children living in Palestine."

    And yet none has been able to provide any evidence that Israel engages in practices of "racism, butchery and the murdering of women and children living in Palestine" (assuming that you use the word murder to mean the intentional targeting of). You may simply dismiss all rational arguments as wild propaganda, but until you can actually back up your rhetoric with facts, I think you will find yourself at an intellectual disadvantage.

    2) "Yet you will probably state that all who oppose this illegal barrier are anti-Jewish. Now I am not sure how Dr Chomsky fits into your stereotypical views on such matters or the scores of IDF personnel who refuse combat in the slaughtering of innocent Palestinians."

    Fortunately, straw man attacks are easily refuted since I have never claimed that people against the barrier, or even people against any and all Israeli policies, are in any way "anti-Jewish." The charge of anti-Semitism is a very serious one, and I would be more than happy to defend any accusation that I make. You may feel free to ask.

    3) "Note "Adam Moshe" a message of mine was censored. None of yours has been. Also note no one has called you anti-Islam or a racist bigot."

    While I am unaware of the messages content, I can only assume that it contained some of the inflammatory terminology you feel necessary to litter your posts in order to avoid having to defend your positions. I should not have to thank anyone for not calling me anti-Islam since I have never said anything that would make someone thing differently. If you can find something I have ever said that was anti-Islamic, feel free to post it for all to see.

    By the way, in this entire you post, you have failed to refute (nor did you even try) a single point that I have made. Just thought I would point that out.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/3/2004

    1) "One thing...the wall is illegal under international law!"

    I get a little tired of having to ask this over and over but ah well: what international law has Israel violated? GA resolutions doe not have the force of international law and every other resolution is open to debate by legal scholars.

    2) "If you want to compare walls...at least the India wall is built on recognised international boundaries...whereas the Israeli wall is built outside of the internatioally recognised boundary of Israel...no matter what a Zionist wants to claim."

    It amuses me how you belief calling someone a Zionist is some kind of insult. In any event, what international community recognizes Israeli boundaries? Much of the Arab world does not recognize any such boundaries, and the rest of the international community considers the West Bank and Gaza either occupied or disputed territory. As for why Israel is building its barrier there, I believe I outlined my reasons in the first post here.

    3) "By the way, Mr. Moshe...since you are in a "state of war," that would meant that Israel would have to respect international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, which the Wall, house demolitions, indiscriminate attacks against Palestinians, attacks on peace workers, and countless other actions violate. is this subject to your Zionist interpretation of international law as well?"

    Since you have created a straw man to attack, it doesn’t leave me much does it? In point of fact, Israel does not indiscriminately kill Palestinians (although the Palestinians do just that). Further, the barrier and even entire occupation is perfectly consistent with wartime actions. I refer you to the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, etc. for examples of a warring party occupying enemy ground and preventing the enemy from advancing further into their territory.

    4) "Wait a minute...negotiation and compromise? On something that Israel is illegally occupying in the first place?"

    And the true extend of the problem is revealed! I don’t know why it is so difficult for you to understand why slaughtering innocent men, women, and children is not a legitimate form of resistance, but according to the UN and (you’ll love this one) INTERNATIONAL LAW, negotiation is the preferred manner of conflict resolution. It is because you don’t believe Israelis deserve peace that the barrier is absolutely necessary.

    5) "The fact that you think this land grab is only temporary almost made me roll on the floor laughing."

    When you were finally able to control yourself, did you then realize that between 1967-2002, Israel gave up the entire Sinai peninsula in exchange for peace and that no barrier was ever built and the Palestinians were achieving autonomy and eventual statehood in exchange for peace? I guess you felt pretty silly after you learned all that, huh?

    6) "By the way...Mr. battle...do you really think the PLO or PA...or Hamas actually represent even half of those individuals in Palestine."

    Actually, according to the polls, nearly 7 out of 10 Palestinians support the mass slaughter of innocent Israeli men, women, and children, with almost 60% expressing "strong support." In Israel, on the other hand, almost 60% of Israelis support the creation of a Palestinian state.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2072851.stm
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,604632,00.html

    7) "The interesting question… is how much culpability falls upon collaborators and supporters of both sides, such as Mr. Moshe and Mr. battle on the Israeli side, for stoking the hatred and violence in the region and continued US support for such violence."

    How interesting your mind must work: I and others advocate peace through negotiations instead of violence, you claim that there should never be any negotiations, and yet somehow, in your strange, uneducated mind, it is I (and others) who stroke hatred. Despite the fact that your language has demonstrated nothing but contempt and hate!

    8) "Once a peace is finally reached...if it is a fair and just peace...how will the Israeli government arrange to rebuild the Palestinian economy, as they are responsible to do under international law, and pay reparations to the families of the deceased and those who have lost businesses, as they are required under international law...how deep will collaboration stretch in terms of culpability?"

    I will never stop asking: What part of international law requires these things?

    9) "Lastly...how about the flip side...one the Israelis stop their illegal occupation and human rights violations, there can be talk about the cessation of the guerrilla war waged by the palestinians."

    Wow, a guerrilla war. Tell me, was the attacks on 9/11 simply a legitimate guerrilla tactic? When the KKK were slaughtering innocent men, women, and children for mush of American history, was that all simply a guerrilla war waged by an oppressed people who was trying to maintain their way of life? Palestinians TARGET innocent men, women, and children, and it is a guerrilla war? Israel builds a barrier in occupied territory, and they are Nazi/genocide/Apartheid/etc.? How little you think of human life… especially if that life is Jewish.

    10) "We must talk about international rights and the fact is that the wall encroaches on these rights and is thus illegal under international law (objective Mr. Moshe...I know not your "interpretation" based in prejudice, religious fervor, and disrespect for just about everything that international law stands for)."

    Question: what part of international law says these things?
    Another question: "religious fervor?" Name one thing that I have said that would lead you believe I have any religious motivation for my beliefs… one.


    Jesse David Lamovsky - 3/3/2004

    Mr. Moshe,

    The fact is, if the Israelis were to build their Wall within the pre-1967 Green Line, we probably wouldn't be seeing the same kind of widespread international criticism of its construction (with the exception of the usual suspects, of course). How such an action (building the Wall within the Green Line) can be construed as a "surrender" to terrorists is beyond me. If the Wall were being built in a way to cede, say, the Triangle and Nazareth to the Palestinians, you would have a point, but that isn't what is happening.

    Keep in mind, Mr. Moshe, that in terms of territory the Israelis are playing with the pocket aces: all of the land in dispute was won by Israel, from its Arab neighbors. Giving up only some of this land would constitute a victory; giving up all of it, up to the Green Line, would be a return to the pre-1967 status quo; but neither outcome can properly be seen as a defeat.

    I don't doubt your sincerity when you state that the "fence can be removed... when peace comes", but it isn't going to be that simple. The Wall is not being built along this particular route out of immediate security concerns, for building the thing along the Green Line, as far as is known, can just as easily be done, and can serve the exact same purpose. It seems to me that the Wall is intended as a de-facto border- and that border will include disputed land within the West Bank, land that, under international law, is not considered, and has never been considered, Israeli territory. I don't believe Sharon, or the present Israeli government, intends to ever give up the disputed land expropriated for the building of the Wall. To believe otherwise is to believe that there are real security-related reasons to construct the Wall to include Palestinian land, rather than along the old Green Line. If you can think of one, do let me know. And your claim that there are good "moral reasons" for including expropriated Palestinian territory in the Wall's route is, with all due respect, laughable. What it is, even by Ariel Sharon's standards, is an international political blunder of the first magnitude. No "moral justification" in the world can negate the damage the route of the Wall is doing to the Israelis abroad.

    And the fact is, Mr. Moshe, that if Israel desires peace, than at some point it will simply have to compromise, and surrender some, most, or all of the territory it won in 1967. You can claim that the Israelis are in a state of war with the Palestinians, but such a statement betrays a misunderstanding of the status of the Palestinians themselves. A "state of war" exists between belligerents. The Palestinians, however, cannot be considered a belligerent, because they have no legal national identity; no army; no territory; no real government to speak of. The Palestinians are a subject people, and their government, for all intents and purposes, is the IDF. They are not in a state of war with the Israelis; they are in a state of rebellion against their Israeli masters. There will be no "victory" by the Israelis in this war, because the only method the Israelis can use to achieve victory is one that is politically and diplomatically unthinkable.

    Will the Wall be effective? Perhaps to a degree, but not as effective as a wholesale change in Israel's occupation strategy would be. Hopefully such a change will come- sooner rather than later.


    Michael Edward Piston - 3/3/2004

    This article completely missed the point of Palestinian objections to the Wall. The Palestinian Authority has no objection to the Wall as an effort to combat terrorism whatsoever. They merely object to it being built in the West Bank and Gaza, territories which the whole world considers to be part of a future Palestinian state. The Wall should be condemned because it is being used to cut the Palestinians off from significant portions of the West Bank and Gaza, not because it prevents terrorists from entering Israel. If the Israelis want a Wall, let them build it in Israel, or even on the border between Israel and the Occupied Territories, not milies inside the West Bank. If the author's analogy to India was accurate, the Indians would be building their Wall in Pakistan. Instead they are building it in India where it belongs. It is difficult to believe that the author would have the gall to write an article on this subject and yet be ignorant of the reason for the Palestinian objections to the Wall. Therefore it must be concluded that this article is simply a poor contrived piece of Israeli propaganda. Shame on the author, and shame on HNN for letting it be used in such a transparent charade.


    Andrew D. Todd - 3/2/2004

    Of course walls are not invulnerable, but they do tend to contain and channelize attacks. What made the steppes barbarians formidable was not numbers but horses. The ecology of the Eurasian steppes could support vast numbers of horses, and their owners could ride twenty miles a day or more, probably fifty with remounts. China, India, Mesopotamia, and the Mediterranean were to densely populated to support horses on such a scale. What happened repeatedly was that someone like Attila or Temujin could simply collect horse nomads from a vast area, a hundred thousand or so of them, and choose a civilization to descend upon, and a particular province within that civilization. Granted, something on that scale was comparatively infrequent, and most attacks were on a smaller scale. Walls tended to slow barbarians down, The men might swarm over a section of wall easily enough, but digging out a breach to take their horses through would be a slow business, given that there would be limited space for men to work without getting in each other's way.

    The Chinese built their walls when they were at maximum political cohesion-- It was their form of putting money aside for a rainy day. The nature of a Chinese wall, approximately as thick as it is tall, is that it can go for a good hundred years without substantial maintenance. Chinese fortifications could slow even Temujin down for a while.

    Of course, the Chinese and Roman walls have nothing much to do with the Israeli wall. The Chinese and Roman walls were formidable in terms of their own technology, and were therefore reasonably effective against overt attacks from outside. Nowadays, a serious wall in the Chinese sense of the word would be an artificial mountain range a mile wide and a thousand feet high, built with the kind of specialized giant earthmoving machinery which is used for mining.

    The Israeli wall, on the other hand, is really a kind of prison wall. It works only on the assumption that the people it contains do not have easy access to the equipment readily available in the outside world, eg. bulldozers. Otherwise, Hamas would only have to get a dozer, convert it to remote control, and send it on a wrecking tour some night. Similarly, any light industrial firm capable of manufacturing small appliances such as toasters is capable of manufacturing some kind of rocket. The Israeli wall is really premised on denying the Palestinians any kind of arab-owned industrial capacity whatsoever.

    Incidentally, to understand walls, one should read De Vauban (Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban, , A manual of siegecraft and fortification. trans., with an introd., by George A. Rothrock, University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1968,*). One important point is that walls move, or rather, new extensions get continually built unto them. As applied to the Israeli wall, this means that it will gradually be extended to link up additional Jewish settlements, conversely, when a Palestinian village becomes sufficiently surrounded by walls that it becomes a "reverse salient," that village will be driven out on some pretext.

    (*) I am afraid that it is one of those books which are long out of print, only available in a university library, and yet still protected by copyright, and therefore not available on the internet. Write your congressman to support the Eldred Amendment.


    David C Battle - 3/2/2004

    >>>"Anti-Israel crowd? How about the pro-peace and pro-human rights crowd...even if I am the only representative and voice of common sense in this discussion."

    You aren't so pro-peace as to condemn arab genocide against Israelis though, are you? No, you call it "resistance". So much for "pro-peace" and "pro-human rights". It's a shame that you've turned both those terms into Leftist and anti-west slogans.

    >>>"Maybe the reason why we do not hear as much about the Indian-Bangladeshi wall is because our media is too interested in gay marriage (who cares) and Janet's breats..."

    Oh, but we're not so distracted by Janet's breasts to be distracted by "Sharon", and "the Wall", and "zionist genocide" no. Nothing will distract you from THAT. Anti-semite.

    >>>"By the way...Mr. battle...do you really think the PLO or PA...or Hamas actually represent even half of those individuals in Palestine."

    Regarding Arafat, I sure wish that not. But apparently, when the ISM activists run into his offices to "protect" Arafat from the evil zionists, these Leftists "human rights" activists are voicing their opinion that he DOES represent the palestinian people, and that's why they shield him. Conversely, it is the ISRAELIS who don't want to deal with him, and don't think he represents the best interests of peace. Regarding Hamas, if the Israelis won't take them on, who will???

    >>>"Lastly...how about the flip side...one the Israelis stop their illegal occupation and human rights violations, there can be talk about the cessation of the guerrilla war waged by the palestinians."

    Is that a guarantee? Or will we see a repetition of the pullout from Lebanon, where the pullout did nothing but to energize Hisbollah, who claimed that their only purpose was to see Israel leave Lebanon. Well, Israel has left Lebanon, and has Hisbollah stopped shelling Israeli border communities and kidnapping Israeli citizens? No. The Palestinians (especially Hamas) would be no different. Why? Because unilateral withdrawal will never be taken as anything but a sign of weakness in the Arab world. The Arabs only respect strength. Not compassion, not fair-mindedness, not consensus. Strength is the language they understand, and the entire history of this conflict is proof of that.

    Regarding your "international law", tell that to the Israelis, who see such "law" at the whim of the arab block and it's sympathizers at the U.N. When will the U.N. condemn the Paki wall? WHEN?


    Carl Roesler - 3/2/2004

    I think you should spend your time more fruitfully arguing your points and not attempting in your usual manner to justify a concentration camp edifice in terms of antisemitism v. prosemitism. At this website there is an emphasis on argumentation and not wild charges of racism; as you know many besides myself have challenged Israel's unwarranted defence of racism, butchery and the murdering of women and children living in Palestine.

    As I and others have pointed out. This wall is condemned by major human rights organisations throughout the world and I predict will be declared illegal by the World Court.
    A rogue nation, Israel, with one ally will ignore the decision and call its supporters anti-semitic and proterrorist.

    Yet you will probably state that all who oppose this illegal barrier are anti-Jewish. Now I am not sure how Dr Chomsky fits into your stereotypical views on such matters or the scores of IDF personnel who refuse combat in the slaughtering of innocent Palestinians.

    Note "Adam Moshe" a message of mine was censored. None of yours has been. Also note no one has called you anti-Islam or a racist bigot.

    The issue remains for those who support oppressive Israeli tactics. Build a true security wall in Israel with all the fortifications it desires. Do not build an expansionist edifice into Arab land, in disputed territory before a final settlement has been negotiated.


    Jonathan Dresner - 3/2/2004

    I've been teaching Chinese history for ten years now, on and off, and reading Asian studies literature for a bit longer than that, and I've never run across an actual analysis of the Great Wall's effectiveness, and I have doubts. The coincidence of wall-building with relative peace between China and its semi-nomadic northern neighbors is just that, coincidence, because the wall-building coincides with the periods of greatest political cohesion and government dynamism, when even the most aggressive horseriding tribes would be ill-advised to bother their sedentary trading partners. In the later years of most dynasties, the relationship between north and south again becomes troubled, and, oftentimes, ends in highly destructive attacks on the agricultural south by the pastoral warriors whom the Wall was supposed to fend off.

    In short, the Great Wall wasn't all that great except when China was great. And once gunpowder weapons are involved, the Wall was pretty much ornamental (which didn't prevent the Ming dynasty from rebuilding it in its current stone-clad incarnation).

    I'm not saying anything about Muir's conclusions: I've suggested partition as a component of an Israeli unilateral move towards peace, though I have doubts about this particular wall and whether it is part of something other than simple partition. Nor am I saying that the Great Wall wasn't effective, tactically, for some of the time. But so far all I've seen is assumptions and coincidences.


    chris l pettit - 3/2/2004

    Anti-Israel crowd? How about the pro-peace and pro-human rights crowd...even if I am the only representative and voice of common sense in this discussion.

    Good to see the Zionists out in support of this laughable, unfocused and simply unrealistic piece of "scholarship." One thing...the wall is illegal under international law! Of course...as Mr. Moshe proved so eloquently last week with his defense of Israeli genocide...Zionists have no interest in what the global community or international legal scholars think about international law, but "prefer to stick with their definition and interpretations." Forget about the fact that we are talking about a global peoples, not just Israeli jews and their supporters...we should ignore the global community and acknowledged scholars' and jurists' interpretations of international law...as well as precedent, and go with the pro-Zionist definition.

    Maybe the reason why we do not hear as much about the Indian-Bangladeshi wall is because our media is too interested in gay marriage (who cares) and Janet's breats (must be an election year) to actually focus on real news. I am writing from Sri Lanka, where I can assure you the Indian wall gets a lot of press and vigorous debate...and is also widely condemned. The current pact being constructed between India and Israel is a dangerous example of things to come. If you want to compare walls...at least the India wall is built on recognised international boundaries...whereas the Israeli wall is built outside of the internatioally recognised boundary of Israel...no matter what a Zionist wants to claim. The 1967 boundaries are the only ones to be recognised by the UN and international legal boundaries...and is the term used to describe the "state of Israel" as opposed to "the Occupied Territories" in ternational law and scholarship. By the way, Mr. Moshe...since you are in a "state of war," that would meant that Israel would have to respect international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions, which the Wall, house demolitions, indiscriminate attacks against Palestinians, attacks on peace workers, and countless other actions violate. is this subject to your Zionist interpretation of international law as well? Or perhaps you are arguing that Israel ignores applicable international law and simply rules by "might makes right," which would return us to an era before the Thirty Years War and Grotius writing his treatise on international law. If you would like to argue that Israel is 300 years behind in catching up to the rest of the civilised world in acknowledging international law, that is fine...just do not make any claims against the Palestinian suicide bombers as violating the laws of war. You need to realise that you cannot have it both ways. Those of us who condemn both sides for their trangressions and violations of international law tend to be neither Zionist nor anti-Semitic, although I will tell you that when I am accused of being both within the same hour I am more certain of the fact that both sides are dead wrong and those of us trying to actually come to a solution are on the right track. Wait a minute...negotiation and compromise? On something that Israel is illegally occupying in the first place? See UN Resolutions and your paranoia of last week...the aliens are coming!!! by the way, Mr. Moshe...take a look at your UN votes...one hundred forty something to four is not "everyone abstaining or voting with the US and Israel." If everyone voted with the US or Israel, the vote would not be as lopsided and would not pass...that is called simple logic. Also...why don't you do some more research as to why the Palestinians rejected some of the solutions placed before them...hint: search for economic reasons...right to return (which, by the way is a collective right and cannot be negotiated away...read the original resolution)...and security assurances. This is not to say that they are not responsible for walking away...they did choose to continue to terrorism...as did the Israelis...and both sides should be held responsible for the awful crimes against humanity perpetrated against either side. The fact that you think this land grab is only temporary almost made me roll on the floor laughing...I wonder what you were thinking...have you noticed what land has been taken and usurped? It is a form of economic warfare...get a grip...how about all the lives ruined economically for the unforseen future that the wall is in place? This is about human rights as well...not property rights. how long have the Palestinians been subject to Israeli snipers? Irrelevant point...both sides are subject to atrocities...so the solution is to insulate one side while still violating the rights of the other!!! Great idea...

    By the way...Mr. battle...do you really think the PLO or PA...or Hamas actually represent even half of those individuals in Palestine. As a historian, you must realise that we are talking about a very fractured society. one of the reasons consensus is so hard to come by is because there are so many different factions and representations within Palestinian lineage. i would remind you that, even according to Jewish scripture, what we have in this situation is actually people of the same descent fighting one another...they are all the same people. There are many individuals...some scholars have claimed a majority in both states, that only want peace and to be able to live their lives and that they do not care whether it is a uni or dual state solution. It is actually a trait of Israeli thought to be scared of a monostate solution due to the fact that they would be the minority in terms of "culture." All an absurd argument in my opinion. It is the extremists on both sides...the PLO, Arafat, and the terrorists on the Palestinian...and the Zionists, Sharon, Likud, and their supporters (of which Mr. Moshe and Mr. Battle are included)...that only serve to perpetuate the conflict instead of working towards a viable solution and peace. The interesting question...as was the question in South Africa, Chile, Argentina, and many other places where oppressive regimes who committed blatant atrocities, is how much culpability falls upon collaborators and supporters of both sides, such as Mr. Moshe and Mr. battle on the Israeli side, for stoking the hatred and violence in the region and continued US support for such violence. Once a peace is finally reached...if it is a fair and just peace...how will the Israeli government arrange to rebuild the Palestinian economy, as they are responsible to do under international law, and pay reparations to the families of the deceased and those who have lost businesses, as they are required under international law...how deep will collaboration stretch in terms of culpability? The compensation packages offered thus far by the Israeli government have been highly unrealistic and prejudicial in terms of real value.

    Maybe Haiti should have built a wall to keep out armed human rights abusers from coming and overthrowing the elected President of Haiti...abusers who were trained, armed, and sheltered by the US and who have been convicted in courts of law of crimes against humanity...but I am sure someone will come rushing to the defense of the death squads.

    How about another controversial wall...the wall between South Africa and Zimbabwe/Mozambique...a source of countless cases and contention in South African courts and soon the Constitutional Court (the case is pending). This wall (fence) has been denounced as a violation of basic human rights. Kind of interesting how individuals will trumpet the freedom of movement until it suits them to curtail it for another people, instead of addressing what has caused the problems in the first place...their own transgressions or fear of being inundated by those in need of aid...something all nations pledge to provide in the International Refugee Convention. instead, Israel would rather create refugees.

    This author seems to think that the fact that the Great Wall of China was somewhat effective (which is a very shaky assumption to make without including all the other factors that played into the numerous conflicts where the wall played a part) is at all relevant in this discussion...a laughable premise. Does the author even consider the fact that technology nowadays makes such a barrier absolutely obsolete? has this not been proven time and time again throughout history. Kinda funny that you see no mention of the Maginot Line in this "scholarly" article. I wonder why HNN even puts their approval on such articles...the only example post-industrial revolution that the author gives is the Indian-Bangladeshi wall, and that is a highly controversial and arguably ineffective barrier that has dubious legal standing, and is an entirely different legal situation than is the Israeli Wall.

    Lastly...how about the flip side...one the Israelis stop their illegal occupation and human rights violations, there can be talk about the cessation of the guerrilla war waged by the palestinians. See how silly this discussion is? All you do is go round and round since both sides are guilty of crimes against humanity and are in the wrong. To argue either side of this debate is an ignorant and foolish proposition. We must talk about international rights and the fact is that the wall encroaches on these rights and is thus illegal under international law (objective Mr. Moshe...I know not your "interpretation" based in prejudice, religious fervor, and disrespect for just about everything that international law stands for). If Israel wants to go by the might makes right rule, let them withdraw from the UN and decry international law... although they would still be culpable since, even if you do not subscribe to codified international law, you must adhere to universal (that word again Mr. Moshe) international customary law that is recognised by a universality of states. And no, there is no black and white definition of universality, but the UN votes on Israel's transgressions qualify. no, it does not mean that everyone has to agree, since it is recognised that it is not possible to achieve unanimity (what you want to call universality Mr. Moshe). even 100-4 would qualify.

    At any rate...I am sure there will be multiple denunciations and interesting twists and interpretations...as well as complete omissions of international law and history in response to this post and I amusingly await my Zionist propoganda for the week. Or maybe we learned something this week.

    CP


    David C Battle - 3/2/2004

    The Palestinians (Arafat) SAY they want a two-state solution...but they ACT like they want a binational solution. And Hamas doesn't even make any pretenses about their goal of a binational state and the dissolution of the Jewish state

    With that in mind, it sort of explains why the palis are sooooo averse to the security fence, doesn't it?

    And it explains why the Israelis view it as so imperative.


    Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 3/1/2004

    Before this article is beseeched with the usual anti-Israel crowd, touting their ability to create accusations against Israel vastly out of proportion to its offenses, I would like to take the opportunity to refute the one criticism that has the most validity to me and the one not addressed by this article; that is the complaint that the barrier is being built on Palestinian soil. The following reasons are why I believe that particular complaint cannot be allowed to dominate the route of the barrier:


    1) The Palestinians have repeatedly rejected their own state at the negotiating table, preferring instead of continue their tactics of terrorism. Thus, nationalistic concerns have no moral supremacy over Israeli military concerns, so long as the Palestinian leadership refuses to negotiate.

    2) If Israel were to create the barrier only within its pre-1967 borders, it would be claming to the world that instead of negotiation and compromise, the best way to deal with a conflict is to surrender territory, and give terrorists part of what they want. For moral reasons, if for nothing else, the barrier should not be built in any way that would indicate a final border exactly where some Palestinians want.

    3) Ultimately this barrier will have no effect on future negotiations. No Israeli negotiator is going to advocate keeping land simply because it is within the security barrier. Fences can be removed once peace comes, cameras can be dismantled… but the innocent people who are murdered cannot be brought back once the Palestinians decide that they want peace.

    4) Building the barrier within 1967 borders leaves part of Israel open to sniper attacks from the higher plains. History of Lebanon and Syria indicate that any line of fire between terrorists and Israeli civilians will be taken advantage of. Building the barrier further from the 67 border, therefore, is a strategic decision as much as it is political.

    5) Finally, let us not talk as if this barrier was built many years ago under different conditions. Terrorist attacks against Israel have still not stopped and terrorist organizations have still not halted their war. Once that happens, then we can debate the merits of the wall. Until then however, I consider Israel to be a state of war with the Palestinians and therefore comparable to land acquisitions for security purposes that any warring country engages in.