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Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Daniel Breslau [Virginia Tech and ex-Tel Aviv U]: "The wall is an organized crime"

Daniel Breslau http://www.sts.vt.edu/instructordetails.php?id=8 


Week 2143 of Occupation, 7 July - 13 July, 2008

7 July - 13 July, 2008

Daniel Breslau

The wall is an organized crime

Four years ago, on 9 July, 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that barrier that Israel is constructing through the occupied West Bank is not a legitimate security measure, and is in violation of international law. The court ruled that Israel is obliged to cease construction of the barrier inside the occupied territories, dismantle parts that were already built, and compensate Palestinians who have been harmed by the wall and whose property has been illegally confiscated for its construction. The decision also required that signatories to the Geneva Convention, such as the United States, to ensure that the ruling is upheld and enforced.

Israel's High Court of Justice has adopted the logic of colonialist courts, justifying innumerable harships imposed on the Palestinian residents for the sake of the purported security of the illegal settlers. In general, the court's definition of the settlers' security needs is taken directly from pro-settlement officials in the Defense Ministry. Occasionally, this apartheid court has been moved by evidence that the planned, or already constructed, path of the wall cannot be justified for security purposes, and unnecessarily harms the population living under occupation. The path of the wall has been adjusted, bringing slight reductions in the harm to property, livelihoods, and freedoms of the Palestinians.

Remarkably, as B'tselem has reported on 9 July, Israel has simply ignored the court's orders to move sections of the barrier that were already built. The state was ordered to move the barrier around the settlement of Alfei Menashe in September of 2005. This section of the fence creates two completely encircled enclaves, cutting off both from the rest of the West Bank. The village of Dab'a is cut off from 40 percent of its agricultural land. The barrier annexes to Israel lands belonging to the villages of 'Isla and 'Azzoun, on which a new neighborhood of Alfei Menashe is being constructed. Since the high court's order almost three years ago, the fence has remained in place.

On 15 June, 2006, the court ordered another section of the wall, also on the lands of 'Azzoun, to be dismantled and re-routed. And then in September of 2007, a recently constructed section that separated the town of Bil'in from much of its lands was ordered removed after protests and litigation by the village's residents. No action has been taken on either of these orders.


The real anti-terror

But action is being taken by Palestinians who are directly impacted by the apartheid wall. Joined by Israeli activists and internationals, they have taken to the streets in West Bank communities over the last two years. The scope of the protests is growing as the wall snakes through more villages, taking land and hemming in the residents. On Wednesday, 9 July, eight different demonstrations took place across the occupied territories.

The village Ni'lin has recently become the site of confrontations between the soldiers and the Palestinians on whose land the wall is being built. The wall will cut the village off from 2500 dunams of its privately-owned land. In order to suppress the protests mounted by the village, the IDF tried the same approach it had used on a much larger scale around the Gaza Strip: siege and blockade. On 4 July, after residents of Ni'lin had damaged bulldozers working on the illegal wall, the IDF confined the village to a daylight curfew and siege. No one was allowed in or out. On Monday, however, Ni'lin was visited by 400 residents from nearby villages. When the convoy was joined by the residents of Ni'lin, in defiance of the blockade, they were confronted by soldiers who fired tear gas and even live ammunition. Three were hit by gunfire, and one, Jamil Al-Far Srur, 26-years-old, was critically wounded by a bullet to the abodmen.

The Army and border police have shown that they are determined not to let Ni'lin become another Bil'in, and have used force to prevent any demonstrations. On 10 July, hundreds of demonstrators approached the barrier's construction site from several directions. Occcupation forces quickly opened fire with the tear gas and rubber bullets, injuring 25. Then on 13 July, a planned demonstration got as far as the entrance to the village. Citing an order prohibiting the villagers from excersizing their right to protest, soldiers entered the streets of Ni'lin and fired teargas and rubber bullets as the demonstrators attempted to proceed toward the settlements illegally constructed on village lands. Here is the video of the event:


The nonviolent resistance to the apartheid wall is a real challenge to the forceful appropriation of Palestinian land and resources, and the maintenance of the occupation. That the forces of occupation are taking it seriously and adopting harsher measures to suppress it is a sign that it needs to continue, and needs the support of all who profess to oppose the occupation. It is not only committed to taking down walls, but to building the solidarity that will be the basis for a real peace.


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