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The Wall, 10 years on / part 11: Security for Israel?

The immediate trigger to start building the wall was the security of Israeli citizens. Ten years later, with all the known accumulated effects on Palestinians, nature, economy and political affairs – has the barrier fulfilled its stated goal for Israelis?

The Wall: 10 years on (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Project photography: Oren Ziv / Activestills

Standing on the cemetery mount in Budrus, at first sight the separation fence seems to make perfect sense. Over the clouds of tear gas rising from the field below where the village youth and the army youth are exchanging stones for grenades, beyond the fence which is now almost on the Green Line after the famed local popular struggle led the army to change the route of the fence and give back 95 percent of the village’s lands, and through the brownish fog of car smoke that sits on top of the heart of the land – one can clearly see the Tel Aviv skyline. Only twenty kilometers away, one can actually recognize some famous buildings that seem surprisingly close.

Standing here, one can easily understand why Israel wants this fence to be here. As mentioned in the first chapter of this series, it was the wave of suicide attacks on Israeli cities that created public pressure on the government to build the wall, and this fence here that prevents Palestinians from accessing the biggest metropolis in the country freely and quickly seems to be just the solution.

View from Budrus' cemetery mount to Tel Aviv (Photo and infographics: Ruth Edmonds)

View from Budrus cemetery mount to Tel Aviv (Photo and infographics: Ruth Edmonds)

Yet a second glance is also needed here. Taking one’s eyes away from the city’s skyline, one can also see the demonstration dispersing, the gate in the fence opening, the army jeeps storming in, the cannon installed on one of them shooting some 20 tear gas canisters into the village, the soldiers attempting to make arrests and the families trying to seal their doors and windows in face of the gas.

This second glance can also be a reminder that some 100 dunams of land are still caught on the other side of the fence, that the army (like any Israeli) can still freely enter this place and do as it pleases, that had it not been for the struggle the fence was due to annex twenty times more land, costing farmers their livelihoods, and that in most places there was no such struggle, or no such success in it. It also reminds one that the current state of affairs is still unacceptable to the millions living under military regime, and that they will go on fighting it one way or another until independence. This makes things a little more complicated.

“There is no doubt that the route endangers troops”

“Ask the average Israeli what he thinks of the wall and he’ll say ‘look, I’m saving my skin here, so hell yeah – let them stand the extra two hours in a checkpoint, because he’d think the question is whether to build a wall or not,” says Colonel (res.) Shaul Arieli, a member of the Council for Peace and Security and co-author of The Wall of Folly (“Khoma U’Mekhdal”). “In such a case I think he’d be totally right, because life always supersedes anything else. But that’s just the bluff – as there is no real argument on the question of whether Israel has the right to build a wall. The entire world says we can use a fence, a wall, a river filled with alligators, just as long as it’s on the Green Line. This is where Israel is in disagreement, and where the government willingly chose to endanger its citizens for the benefit of other interests, such as settlements.”

"A long and winding wall". The wall near Jerusalem (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

“A long and winding wall.” The wall near Jerusalem (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

As mentioned earlier in the series, the length of the zig-zagging barrier is more than twice that of the Green Line and is thus clearly harder to protect. But it’s not just the route as a whole that offers less than the best defense possible, it’s also certain specific fragments of it. In 2005 the High Court of Justice repealed its own ruling, and shifted the fence built near the settlement of Tzufin. Justice Aharon Barak ruled that the state lied to the court by hiding the fact that this section of the route was planned for the benefit of future settlement expansion – and not solely for security reasons. It was a ruling that would cost the fence planner and the settler Colonel (res.) Danny Tirza his job – but not to worry: the same Tirza has recently been hired by Prime Minister Netanyahu to sketch a future border for Israel to present in negotiations.

In a different case, that of the village of Bil’in, the court found that not only was the route planned with the expansion of the Matityahu East settlement in mind, but that it was actually tactically inferior. “There is no doubt that the route endangers patrolling troops,” wrote former Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. “Considering previous cases in which we were told of the importance of keeping the fence in dominant topographical positions the current route raises some questions.”

While it is possible to argue that cases such as these prove the security value of the wall, as the system appears to be able to mend its own errors where the route requires it, I wish to add some skepticism to the equation: for who is to say that the local Palestinian community even bothered going to court in all places where planners chose an annexing route? Who’s to say that evidence such as that hidden by the army and revealed by the petitioners in the cases of Jayous and Bil’in could have been revealed elsewhere? And what about the long term security implications of the High Court’s own consistent choice to accept the state’s odd claim that the wall is “temporary” and may thus be allowed to engulf and protect major settlements?

Spliting the countryside. The fence near Ariel (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Splitting the countryside. The fence near Ariel (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

The Palestinian choice

Even if we choose to ignore the long and winding route or the instances in which wall planners lied about their true motives – we cannot ignore the security implications of four parts of the wall not yet being built. In three of these (Adomim Plains, Gush Etzion and the Judean Desert) construction is not even planned to resume anytime soon, and even in the fourth – southwest of of Jerusalem– one can still see the capital’s skyline from neighboring Palestinian villages and unlike in Budrus, one can simply cross over.

“These gaps allow infiltrators, drugs and weapons to pour in, as well as murderers,” says Arieli. “Yet they are not sealed off only because the government wants to annex large chunks of land and it knows the court would not allow it – so it forfeits our security.” “There’s no problem crossing the gaps in the fence and tens of thousands of illegal workers cross it back and forth every day, and there should be no problem getting suicide bombers through with them” stresses Ilan Tsi’on, co-founder of “A Fence for Life.” “So why don’t they? Because that’s the Palestinians’ choice. They know that if the fence is complete they will be faced with more facts on the ground, and will take away their option of influencing us. So in fact, our security is really an illusion.”

"Tens of thousands go though the gaps daily". A deserted construcion site (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

“Tens of thousands go though the gaps daily”. A deserted construcion site (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Arieli and Tsi’on’s answers highlight a new attitude to the security question: While the number of suicide attacks in Israeli cities has dropped significantly since construction of the wall began and while the wall did have its effect on this goal, it was not the only cause. Brutal oppression of the Second Intifada, reoccupation of Palestinian cities, mass arrests, pressure applied on civilian populations, and the work of the General Security Service all had their effects – as did the Palestinians’ choice to turn to a course of unarmed popular resistance, of encouraging economic, academic and cultural boycott, and of diplomatic work on the international level. “Yes, we have a barrier with armed patrols and that gives something to security, but does it bring calm? Of course not,” says Arieli. “The proof of that is that would-be terrorists are not captured around the wall as they used to be in Gaza before we started shooting anything that comes close to the wall there. If nobody is captured – it means that the wall itself is not what’s stopping people.”

The wrong question

IDF commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, Col. Amir Baram, recently told Ha’aretz that “Before the fence there was no efficient defense. The General Security Services (GSS) would warn that a suicide bomber was on the way, and I knew there wasn’t much we could do other than place soldiers on the road and hope for the best.” Yet even this combatant knows that the barrier cannot be a solution in the long run. A fence can be cut, a wall climbed over, and of course missiles can fly above anything. As Ilana Hammerman recently wrote in an op-ed, “no historic circumstance has been invented in which such a-symmetry (between occupier and occupied) would guarantee a life of calm and security.” These words were echoed in Sheerin Al-Araj’s grim prophecy earlier in the series in which she said: “It might take 10 or 15 years, but things will change, and when they do Israel will most likely not only have to deal with Palestinians but with the entire Arab world. I really hope Israelis understand this now and find a solution that won’t lead us to killing each other.”

"A wall can alway be climbed over". The wall in Walajah (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

“A wall can alway be climbed over.” The wall in al-Walajah, near Jerusalem. (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Most countries in the world, the ICJ, the Palestinian leadership and most the activists struggling against the wall in their villages and cities (aside from supporters of the one-state solution) would agree to Israel’s building a security wall on its recognized border, the Green Line. Yet as long as 85 percent of it is built beyond that on Palestinian land, as long as it is transparent to Israelis, as long as it harms farmers and workers the way it does, and as long as the occupation continues – no solution and no barrier can truly offer Israelis security.

The question, therefore, is not whether or not a wall, any wall, offers security (which it probably does to some extent) – but rather whether this specific wall with this specific route offers true and lasting security more than other existing alternatives. The answer to that is almost certainly: No.

(As mentioned in previous chapters, despite my repeated requests, the Ministry of Defense refused to grant an interview with any official regarding the planning or construction of the wall for this series.)

But does the wall offer securtiy? A wall turned fence (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Does the wall offer securtiy? A wall turned fence (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

Previous chapters in this series:

Part 1: The great Israeli project
Part 2: Wall and Peace
Part 3: An acre here and an acre there
Part 4: Trapped on the wrong side
Part 5: A new way of resistance
Part 6: What has the struggle achieved?
Part 7: A village turned prison
Part 8: A working class under siege
Part 9: Dividing land – water, fauna, flora
Part 10: My encounters with the wall in space

Next and final chapter:
Part 12: Where do we go from here?

Before you go...

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    1. Daniel de França MTd2

      So, roughly, The Wall is a dirty excuse for politicians to laundry money in construction companies. Whatever influence it had is to fuel Palestinians arguments for the end of the occupation such that this is the reason why its construction is not fully complete.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Daniel de França MTd2

      I forgot to add. Laundry money and make Israeli’s discourse shift to the right, by lying to them and making them more alienated and thus more susceptible to these politicians’ lies. It’s a kind of vicious cycle.

      Reply to Comment
    3. This is a wonderfully well done series. I don’t know if a compelation as an e-book is viable, but I suggest it anyway.
      One event reminds that there was, even after the suicide bombings, contention in the eilite over what the Wall should do:
      “In 2005 the High Court of Justice repealed its own ruling, and shifted the fence built near the settlement of Tzufin. Justice Aharon Barak ruled that the state lied to the court by hiding the fact that this section of the route was planned for the benefit of future settlement expansion – and not solely for security reasons. It was a ruling that would cost the fence planner and the settler Colonel (res.) Danny Tirza his job – but not to worry: the same Tirza has recently been hired by Prime Minister Netanyahu to sketch a future border for Israel to present in negotiations.”
      this demonstrating both contention within the elite and the political reply to a small legal defeat–the appointment of Tirza in a fat cat post. I know it a small hope, but if there was such contention, there can be again. For that, though, there has to be greater political variance within the eilte, which is why I see (or saw?) J14 as important.
      West Bank Palestinians do not sit around in some giant council deciding whether or not to suicide bomb. Phrases like “the Palestinians decided not to suicide bomb…” reflect no real causation; they are just another verison of race war logic. There was, and is, social competition within the Bank over suicide bombing, and it indoubtedly spills into other groups such as Hamas. That tens of thousands cross daily through gaps (to provide cheap labor) suggests that something is happening on the Bank ground that, for now, prevents the re-emergence of bombers. While the Wall undoubtedly retarded the landslide like nature of the bombings, I doubt that even the incursion security of the IDF is enough to turn the spiket off total; something within the Bank is suppressing the (rather difficult to implement) ideology. That the Israeli State cannot see the nonviolent Bank movement as an ally is stupifying; Israel must negotiate wins with that movement because of this suppressing effect (which I suspect real, at any rate).
      As you say, there are missiles which fly above walls. And there are biochemical possibilities. It took a long time for suicide bombing to evolve into a horribly common executed (in more than one sense) strategy. What Israeli policy sees as a security win of tranquility could be a lull leading to worse if the clearly nonviolent attitudes and hopes growing in the Bank are frustrated beyond continuance. These weekly actors in the Bank are the ally of all who want to end the human evolution of further ways to destroy.
      And that’s why I think this a wonderful series.

      Reply to Comment
    4. pelsar

      are your readers so gullible?….i keep reading statements like:
      High Court’s own consistent choice to accept the state’s odd claim that the wall is “temporary”

      every hear of the Berlin Wall? the Maginot line?…the thing is made of concrete, of course its temporary if the security/political environment changes.

      or another one
      while the number of suicide attacks in Israeli cities has dropped significantly since construction of the wall began and while the wall did have its effect on this goal, it was not the only cause….

      again statement for the naive and those who don’t like reality. The wall, is simply another part of a multifaceted security system that is the israeli standard. It would be just stupid to rely on a single system for defense. The fact that the write wrote the above, clearly states either ignorance, in which case he should not be writing, or he prefers to hide such a basic israeli working policy….

      credibility is not the strong point here

      Reply to Comment
    5. Haggai Matar

      Of course the wall is temporary in the broad sense of the word. As in, it will fall one day. However, it is not temporary in the sense that it lacks political significance, or that it doesn’t effect the status of the lands annexed de-facto by it.

      And yes, it is one of many parts of the Israeli defense system. That’s what I said. It’s important to remember that it’s not the only one, that it’s contribution would have been limited were it not for other measures, and above all: that it could have been much more effective were it to go on the green line.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Kolumn9

      Greg, you have no idea what you are talking about. Like almost everything else in life, suicide bombings are not random events. They were organized phenomena behind which stood Palestinian terrorist organizations. In order to get a suicide bomber to blow up in Israel, an organization needs at least the following:
      – knowledge of targets within Israel
      – explosives
      – explosives construction experience
      – the explosives engineer recruiter
      – some place to build and store the bomb
      – the suicide bomber
      – the suicide bomber recruiter
      – money for the suicide bombers family
      – PR after the bomb goes off (printing posters, putting out videos, making statements, etc.)
      – transportation
      – the organizational ability to put all this together
      – the organizational ability to keep the system running when Israel is busy knocking off or arresting every single person in the chain

      The position that the ‘Palestinians decided to stop bombing’ has nothing to do with a race war, but has to do with the simple fact that the organizations that had organized the suicide bombings either chose to stop or were suppressed brutally. Fatah chose to stop. Hamas and Islamic Jihad were suppressed by both Israel and the PA/Fatah. You can seek esoteric explanations for why PA/Fatah changed its policy, but there are pretty obvious explanations for this..

      There is no magical ‘nonviolent’ movement suppressing suicide bombings. No terrorist group at the moment has an interest in renewing suicide bombings. The ‘nonviolent’ attitudes and hopes have minimal core strength in the territories and those that hold them are politically marginal except as PR fodder for gullible foreigners. They also seem to generally be attached to the whole idea of ending Israel and perhaps that should alleviate your stupefaction as to why they are not seen as ‘allies’ by the state of Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Kolumn9

      Haggai, the wall was built to help end suicide bombings. Between the wall and the other security measures this has most certainly been achieved [for the moment]. The argument against the wall’s route on the basis that it protects settlements is problematic on the basis that the purpose of the wall is to protect Israeli civilians from suicide bombings… even if they live in the settlements. Whether the ICJ or whoever wants to close their eyes and pretend that there are not 300,000 Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, they remain a civilian population who the state of Israel is obligated to protect.

      You and many others argue against the wall on the basis that it is doesn’t provide ‘true and lasting security’. If you can find me a single serious Israeli politician/diplomat/general that argues that the wall is intended to do that then your argument has merit, otherwise what you are repeatedly doing is attacking straw men.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Haggai Matar

      I don’t think anyone is “pretending that there are not 300K Israelis” in the West Bank. It’s just that everybody, more or less, agrees that there living there is illegal.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Kolumn9

      Haggai, for the purposes of talking about the wall, yes, there are people pretending that there are not 300K Israeli civilians who the state of Israel is obligated to protect on the other side of the green line. That is the basis for arguing that the route of the wall in curving around the settlements is not justifiable.

      Reply to Comment
    10. pelsar

      you actually wrote this?

      that it could have been much more effective were it to go on the green line.

      effective for what?….

      the concept was to save israeli lives, we don’t differentiate between israelis who live in ramat gan, tel aviv jerusalem or Efrat.

      Clearly you are stating that the settlers are ‘second class citizen” not worthy of basic security….its that it?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Haggai Matar

      K9 and Pelsar –
      I’m saying settlements are illegal, as all states in the world but Israel agree. Settlers live outside Israeli borders. As such, the state has to either extend its borders and annex the occupied territories, and protect everyone living there from all harm, or tell them to come back into its safe and legal borders. Because right now – settlers are not “second class citizens”, but rather masters of the land, enjoying a military rule in which they get every civil right Israel has to offer, while their Palestinian neighbors (one whone land they live) are not even second class citizens but less than that.

      Oh, and a small technical point: because Israel knows it’ll have a very hard time actually building the wall in Gush Etzion – there IS no wall near Efrat, though the route is supposed to go right by it. So now, aside from its own regular fence, neither Efrat nor Tel Aviv is protected from this direction. Just saying.

      Reply to Comment
    12. pelsar

      so their illegal as per the “consensus” (which btw, is one of the dumpiest arguments to ever use, the world was once flat, to use the most famous “consensus, blacks were dumb, jews crooks, as per the consensus in certain geography areas……(i never was much for groupthink, it tends to dull the mind).

      but more to the point, you basically saying these illegal israelis do not deserve the required security measures because they are criminals, hence they shouldn’t get the walls protection…..and we do know that without the wall the situation was much worse in israel.

      so in your view, a summary would be: as i understand it “criminals” don’t deserve the appropriate security as those who are not “criminals”
      and the definition of criminal in this case is based on “world opinion.”

      a good summary of your view?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Haggai Matar

      No, a very bad one. I never said settlers are criminals, nore that they don’t deserve protection a people. I said settlements were illegal, and to help you out here – also quite unjust as they are part of a racial segregation system. This means, as I said, that either you get settlers back into Israel, where you can protect them, or you annex them and everyone around them gets citizenship and protection.
      I’m saying that the option of leaving things as they are, totally ignoring Palestinians on the group and their rights, is NOT an option. Clearer?

      Reply to Comment
    14. berl

      Definition of crime: “An action or omission that constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law”.
      Am I wrong or settlers act in a way that “constitutes an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law”?
      What Israel is doing in the palestinian occupied territories does not have anything to do with ‘security’. This is just a stunt that a person from his sofa in NY or Tel Aviv could believe. Go by person – if possible not with an uniform – and see with your own eyes

      Reply to Comment
    15. rose

      Mr. Haggai Matar,
      not always I agree with the things that you write. But you always put your face in the brave battles that you carry. Moreover you have often to deal with people full of hatred and racism. Just for this you have all my respect. Yashar koakh

      Reply to Comment
    16. pelsar

      clearer..but too simplistic a solution and not very realistic…i.e. a fantasy solution that has nothing to do with reality.

      first, the wall, a structure that is temporary was demanded by israelis to protect israelis..it has worked.

      your concept of annexing the west bank totally ignores the will of the Palestinians, i get the impression that they do not want to be israelis. Are you going to force it down their throats?

      More to the point, whatever the solution may or may not be, it is not going to happen “tomorrow” and the bombs that were the reason for the wall, demanded an immediate solution…the wall

      Given that any annexation/negotiation would take lots and lots of time and could easily fail at any time….it appears are more than willing to let the settlers be potential victims until such time as some solution is arrived at.

      same conclusion, you prefer for the settlers to be exposed until such time as a “permanent” soution is found…when ever that may be

      Reply to Comment
    17. pelsar.

      side question..why is racism so constantly brought up when a serious discussion about the conflict is brought up?

      my impression is that those that do bring it up, just can’t seem to understand the actual complex issues and need a ‘consensus” to give them answers.

      never ceases to amaze me
      sorry bearl..i may live in n. israel, but i’ve been to the west bank/gaza both in and out of uniform (try someone else to talk down to)

      Reply to Comment
    18. berl

      If you don’t notice the racism that there is in most (not all but most) of the comments written by people that support the settlements in the OPT is your problem, not mine.
      when was exactly last time that you have been in qalqilya or in gaza without an uniform? and how long have you been there? you can try to cheat me but you cannot cheat yourselves.
      While you use your selective arguments the Israeli administration continues to provide money and free services for new settlers.
      The psychological humiliation and exploitation of natural resources that are taking place beyond the wall cannot in any way be justified by the legitimate need for Israel to rely on safe “borders.” Even today, as confirmed by the filmed video that u can see below, dozens of quarries are currently active in the West Bank, providing some 12 million tons of stone, gravel, and dolomite annually, 75 percent of which is used for construction inside Israel. Millions of Palestinians are deprived of their freedom of movement, thanks partly to dozens of checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Moreover, in the Palestinian territories, new drilling of aquifer systems for the consumption of settlers and Israeli citizens are being built. Finally, in about 60 percent of the West Bank, there is exclusive control of the Israeli authorities over every aspect of civil life. Only a simplistic approach, or one marred by bias, could accept such a reality in the name of “security.”

      Reply to Comment
    19. Pelsar.

      i notice the “racism accusation,” in my experience has been (having been called that on numerous occasions ), its that is actually used when some “progressive” disagrees. Its more of an accusation of intolerance for an opinion you don’t accept. Supporting the settlements hardly makes one hate Palestenians or means one look down upon them…only a “racis”t would put all of the settlers and israelis in that basket….

      For example, i can look at the gaza experience, look at the west bank, seem similarities in the politics of the Palestinians (corrupt PA, underground hamas movement etc) and come to the conclusion that if we leave the west bank, as we did gaza, its a real possibility that we will receive rockets just as we are with gaza.

      so am i now a racist for having such an opinion in your view?

      whether or not israel is exploiting the natural resources or not has little to do with the opinions of most israelis in terms of the settlements, that is just a result of the occupation.

      You seem to be under the impression that just because you believe its so important, that we all have to believe its so important, well your wrong, most of us don’t really care .. that is neither a statement of bias, racism or simplicity. Your just being egotistical to believe that we have to believe what you do.

      many of us have other concerns that are more importance to us.

      sorry “mom” but this statement? shheessh where do you get off telling me about whether or not i’m cheating myself?..talk about being egotistical….
      you can try to cheat me but you cannot cheat yourselves.

      and to answer you question its been a few years since i’ve been to the west bank, and have in fact little need to visit.

      Reply to Comment
    20. berl

      “its been a few years since i’ve been to the west bank, and have in fact little need to visit”. The Palestinians can live in their cage. You have little need to give a look inside the cage but you want to write and to judge the life in the cage. Barur.
      as for your question. Gaza withdrawal was a disengagement and not an end of occupation. It is the Israeli ministry of defense that determines how many calories per day should be allotted to each Gazan and how much currency should be allowed to circulate in Gaza: these are just 2 secondary examples, but they show quite well that to imply that gaza is “free” is just a stunt useful for people that “have in fact little need to visit” it.

      it is funny to me that u accuse me to act ‘egoistically’. you write that “whether or not israel is exploiting the natural resources or not has little to do with the opinions of most israelis in terms of the settlements”: you put Israelis at the center of everything and then accuse others to be egoistic. What matters is that the persons that are suffering the occupation are denied to access their own natural resources: it is not the opinion of the occupier that can judge if this is central or not. Only the persons that suffer these policies can tell us if these aspects matter or not.

      Many Israelis – among the ones that support the occupation – do this claiming that West BAnk is nothing else than “Judea and Samaria”. Then, when you clarify them that with this way of thinking Israel should give back all the coastal plan between Ashdod and Ashkelon, that was never ever “isralite”, they answer that it not a matter of religion but of “security”. Than, when you say that exploiting the natural resources and denying freedom of movements to millions of people cannot be justify with “security reasons” they start to tell you that if they leave the West bank they will receive rockets as happened in gaza: these are always the same egocentic excuses.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Pelsar


      If there is one thing i actually have little patience for, and it signifies for me someone whos argument is based on emotion and therefore little substance is obvious inaccuracies (willful lies, or leaving out real info).

      First you can correct what you wrote:

      It is the Israeli ministry of defense that determines how many calories per day should be allotted to each Gazan

      I assume you know about the tunnels, the two 5 star hotels, the new shopping center in Gaza, etc If you don’t, then you know little about the econ situation in gaza, and if you do, then you know the the IDF has very little control over the food intake of the gazans today.

      Lets start with that…..so which is it?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Haggai Matar

      Pelsar, in short:
      1. I thing racism is mentioned in this context when people look at a specific part of the land, and see (or care for) only one kind of population. When you talk only about what Jews want and need, ignoring completely the Palestinians living right by them – that’s racism.
      2. Of course that either retreat or annexation would have to be agreed upon in a peace process. Otherwise what have you gained? And Palestinians won’t turn you down if you offer them equal rights within the new one state, which would no longer be the Israel we know. Why would they?
      3. You say the wall is temporary, ignoring the fact that there are those (not few) politicians who suggest using it as a border. You talk of a solution for suicide attacks which is needed “today or tomorrow”, but ignore that fact that they’ve been building it for ten years, that attacks have already stopped without the wall being complete for some time now, and that it won’t be finished any time soon. That’s no immediate solution for “tomorrow”.

      Reply to Comment
    23. pelsar

      your confusing nationalism and racism…..not only do i not agree to people ‘forgetting facts” i also don’t agree to changing dictionary definitions…as per your new definition of racisim.

      in fact i think i’ll change the definition of racism to be one that is based on ethnocentricity, that claims ‘they know” what people in a different culture will do, as per your “Palestinians won’t turn you down?
      really, are members of the hamas no longer Palestinians? wow, because they would certainly turn me down, guess we can call you a racist now, since you exclude hamasnikim, or the opposite you include them and “forget” their values that reject western democracies, either way your opinion is ethnocentric and racist.
      and the wall? oh your now complaining that its successful (there are still attempts..did you not know this?) and it would be pretty stupid of our politicians to not look forward and see the weak spots and fix them BEFORE the attacks start up again….thats called being a smart government and not do things after the fact, which is what most do.
      since when has any politicians word permanent?…so some want it as a border, ever hear what sharon, rabin, begin used to say?…or did you forget those too, seems they said a lot to things and changed their minds with the environment changed…..again those are what i expect out of my politicians, to change when the events change.
      i’m not impressed, you either don’t really know anything, or you prefer to surpress information. The suppression works on the useful idiotes but not on those us who actually know something or two.

      Reply to Comment
    24. berl

      Pelsar, you are getting nervous. Relax, we know that we “don’t really know anything”. My impression was always that those that do bring up these kind of sentences, just “can’t seem to understand the actual complex issues”. But now thanks to your datas and factual analysis I changed my mind. So strange that all these deep inputs come from a person that does not put a feet in OPT since years: amazing.
      For you knowledge extreme nationalism and racism are too side of the same coin. There is a vast literature on the issue.
      As for Gaza, they dig tunnels because they don`t know another way to go in or out.
      Gaza was turned into an open-air prison and nothing changed for the people inside the cage, except that they could now drive around inside without being stopped at Israeli checkpoints. Goods and people are still blocked from entering and leaving.
      I totally reject the ideology of Hamas. But Israel played a big role in helping it to get power. Starting from a far past, i.e. from the day in which the people of Najd (present day Sderot) and Majdal (inside present day Askalan; btw, in the Amarna letters is not by chance called Askalan, as the Palestinians use to call it, and not Ashkelon) were forced to leave their homes for the refugee camps in the Gaza Strip.
      Could be that you are not impressed by our attempt to show that you (Israeli opinions) are not the center of the universe. But believe me, I am really not impressed by what you write. On the contrary, I feel pity for Israelis and Palestinians because I know that not few of them share your same egocentric approach: this will never bring any possible kind reconciliation

      Reply to Comment
    25. pelsar

      whereas extreme nationalism has connections to rasicm so to does extreme ethnocentricity/liberalism….as per your views.
      Your blaming israel for hamas, yet if you ask a hamasnkim, he wont be ‘blaming israel” for his views and religion. Not only do you disrespect the hamasnkim but you belittle his own views of the origin of his political party.(god)….tsk tsk tsk tsk….i would call that classic racisim

      Plus we can combine that with your view that if israel annexes the west bank with it social democracy all Palestenianians will accept it, as if islamic jihad, al aska etc will suddenly throw out their beliefs and way of life for the “superior political system’. are your discounting their views and beliefs as “unworthy to respect.” as well?)

      guess who’s has the racist view that mimics that old “white colonial viewpoint.”
      nor do i appreciate it when one “moves the goal posts” your made the claim that the IDF decides how many calories the gazans eat. I just taught you about the tunnels, that their import business is thriving an that there is no shortage of material goods. You were either ignorant of the existence of the tunnels, ignorant of the position in the gazan economy of the tunnels or preferred to blame israel for something israel has no control over…..so its either ignorance (which hopefully your now more knowledgable on) or you prefer to lie (i forgot what the proper pc terminology is.). I asked you before but you didn’t answer, so which is it?


      along those same lines about the gaza prison, i have no idea if you know how to read a map or understand geography, but the egyptian/gaza border is exactly that. Hence if a gazan wants to leave gaza all he has to do is “walk south” cross over to Rafah and he/she is out…..israel is not involved there,….or is this, like the tunnels you didn’t know about as well?

      i get the impression you don’t seem to know much about the gazen economics nor its geography, nor do you respect the beliefs of its elected government……

      Reply to Comment
    26. I see K9 agrees with me that suicide bombing is not an inherent trait but the outcome of a group network structure; and that there can be more than one kind of such strucutre in the Bank; and that intergroup competition for supporters and resources among these structures can have an effect on the relative probability of a suicide bombing event. Gald your on my side on this one.
      The settlements are not illegal in the eyes of the Israeli regime. While I suspect many in Ariel live there for the benefits, the vanguard settlers, those burning fields, taking water resources, engaging in Price Tags, destroying crops, who can rely on soldiers, occasionally firing guns themselves; these vanguard settlers clearly believe they have the law of God on their side–and the Israeli State, allowing them to grow, complicitly affirms this.
      The Wall is incomplete and the bombings have stopped. We are missing part of the causal process. K9 seem to think brutal suppression is the sole reason. I doubt this. I think there is contention within the Bank over the issue, with those opposing the move losing. I will risk giving credit to people who do not want that option and argue against it. Not the sole factor, but there.
      I’m with Rose, above:
      “Mr. Haggai Matar,
      not always I agree with the things that you write. But you always put your face in the brave battles that you carry. Moreover you have often to deal with people full of hatred and racism. Just for this you have all my respect.”

      Reply to Comment
    27. oops
      I meant “those opposing the measure winning.”
      I’m too used to being on the losing side. Wouldn’t believe a win if it slapped me to show me it was here.

      Reply to Comment
    28. berl

      Pelsar you are such a source of informations! thanks for teaching me about the tunnels. this is really a scoop..you should publish an academic article out of it

      I am sorry to inform you that I could not care less about “hamaskim”. the way you approach this argument is childish. palestinians were historically one of the most secular populations in the near east. religion never played the role that it had in other contexts. you should wonder why hamas got such a power: hamas is a consequence, not the point zero. continuing the occupation, providing new money for new settlers, destroying buildings such as the ones in anata&co, continuing to exploit the natural resources in the OPT…ect…this is the best way to support the islamic jihad, “hamaskim” and all the strange convoluted sentences that you have written above.

      as for the tunnels, I already thanked you for this great infos. what is incredible to me is that you really think that the economy (and the life) of the palestinians of gaza should or could prosper thanks to that tunnels. Israeli naval ships prevent Gazan fishermen from sailing more than 4 kilometers from shore and so to access to their most important resource..and what is your answer: they have the tunnels:-)
      Egypt, now that Mubarak is out of power, keeps sometimes its border with Gaza open these days; it is Israel that maintains a blockade on Gaza – not Egypt. Moreover Israeli drones monitor Gaza from the air and what you have the braveness to write: that I prefer “to blame israel for something israel has no control over”. mazkhik.

      I have been to gaza few times, I am quite sure more than you did. but i was not with an uniform. on the contrary i was there first and foremost in order to understand why one of the most secular populations of the middle east arrived to the point to rely on a obscurantist movement such as hamas

      I never implied that the palestinians of gaza do not have other ways to access to food or other primary goods. Israel decides the calories per day that should be allotted to each Gazan, but thanks god they find other ways to cope with this situation. not only the principle remains, but this is far from being an acceptable situation. they have rarely access to electricity (the only facility – in order to produce electricity – that they had in the strip was bombed by israel and now they are obliged to ask electricity to israel), the water is polluted and many goods are not available.
      you don’t have anything to teach, believe me, except perhaps the things that you have seen with your uniform in the OPT.

      Reply to Comment
    29. pelsar

      you appear to be letting your ideology interfere with your ‘claimed knowledge. The results are contradictory statements. This is not good, since it means your whole credibility is in question.
      i’ll give you a few short examples:

      your wrote:
      I never implied that the palestinians of gaza do not have other ways to access to food or other primary goods. Israel decides the calories per day that should be allotted to each Gazan, but thanks god they find other ways to cope with this situation.

      so clearly israel in fact does not decide the calories per day as per your original implication.

      same holds true for the israeli shekels that circulate….do you really think i don’t know they use US dollars, jordanian dinars, egyptian pounds?
      electricity?…so you don’t know that egypt know supplies gaza and may increase it, if the gazans play nice?
      as to why hamasnikim found god? ask the muslim brotherhood, ask khomeni and friends….they will probably explain to you, that, through their efforts they have been successful in teaching the gazans about the right path and they will probably tell you, that you as a western secular you cannot possible understand and you should take your superior racsist attitude and ‘go home.” But that is the point…you don’t believe them, you don’t respect their opinions and you insist that they are religious because it was something israel did.

      your disrespect/attitude for them is palpable in your writings.
      finally your weak on logic…..it goes to ideology being more important that actual facts and events:

      Israel cannot have a blockade as per your claim, if egypt shares a border with gaza. That means if egypt decides to open its border, there cannot be by definition be blockade-try using a dictionary, it will make it more difficult for you, but you will be forced to write more accurately (if that is relevant at all?)

      so far we’ve seen this that the writing of yours is loose with facts, forgetful of information, loose with real definitions and finally a very superior racist attitude towards the locals…..your claiming that the Palestinians can’t even get religious on their own/vote in hamas, it has to be israels fault!!!!!
      (hamas members might just disagree with you, but you of course will discount their opinions as being “not worthy.”—-kind of racist no?

      Reply to Comment
    30. berl

      you continue to write randomly putting in my mouth your thoughts.

      You write: “you don’t respect their opinions and you insist that they are religious because it was something israel did…your claiming that the Palestinians can’t even get religious on their own/vote”.
      What? Did I write it? I said that if the extremist ideology of Hamas took ground among an historically secular population is mainly (not only) due to a long series of attempt to simplify and to “erase” the other: a process that from Najd (sderot) arrives until the present day oppression. Racism? Are you sure that do you feel fine?

      “Israel cannot have a blockade as per your claim, if egypt shares a border with gaza”. Really?
      If Israeli naval ships prevent Gazan fishermen from sailing more than 4 kilometers from shore and so to access to their most important resource, where is the logic in what you claim?
      Moreover, although the shameful behaviour of Mubarak is thankfully a matter of the past, this does not mean that present day Egypt treats the “Palestinian brothers” as they should. Palestinians are o3 times victims: first, of course, of the Israeli strategies, then of the “arab brothers”, finally (or peraphs first) of the british colonial approach. There is not any contradiction in it.
      But, as you probably noticed on the spot in your touristic visits with the uniform, Israel controls all the anagraphic registers in the strip, the amount of shekel, the fishing, cement and other building supplies from entering the Gaza strip by ship or land…ect…so nowadays it has not exactly the same responsabilities on the ground in respect of the others protagonists of this tragedy

      once again, the fact that the palestinians find other ways to cope with this situation does not erase the fact that Israel decide the calories per day. Due to the fact that for you only Israel or the Jewish people are worthy of attention, I provide you an example that shows how weak is your logic. First a warning: I don’t compare at all nazi germany with what is going on in the gaza strip and i believe that people that use these comparisons are ignorant. So image for a second that during the Warsaw’s ghetto times the nazis decided the calories per day in the ghetto, but that the people could find smart ways to receive food or other goods through tunnels: you would think that it is a normal situation and that the nazis do not control that aspect? also in that context the “principle” would remain quite clear: it would be far from being an acceptable situation.
      thanks god gaza has nothing to do with the atrocities of the nazi times. but you are just able to put israelis and jews at the center of everything, not caring at all about the sufferances of other human beings: so we don’t have other choice than to provide u an example that your egocentric (and, unfortunately, ignorant) approach can understand

      Reply to Comment
    31. pelsar

      this one is for you…i assume you write, publicize in order to build public opinion on your site and eventually create enough political power and influence to create change…..
      that change in fact will require people like me…..were the easy ones since we sit on the “left side of the line.” So now i shall give you some advice. I do not know much about u, (i was pleaded with to post here….) but my advice is free:
      The “Berls” are not helping your cause, they infact damage it. If you want “my” support in your plans, then have your “supporters” stop with the the philosophy of “the ends justifies the means.”
      if i have to stop the conversation to correct the definition of racism, remind someone that the egyptians control the egyptian border and hence can end the blockade in a second, explain that rockets from the west bank are in fact a reasonable possibility, the hamas can in fact take the west bank, (and being called a racist for seeing the settlements as part of that defense), then your “partners” and perhaps you clearly do not need us.

      if in your arguments (and your supporters) you have to suppress information, then clearly your targets are the “useful idiotes” that believe far more in nationalism (right wing) than western civil rights and not israelis like me that can spot the difference.

      which brings us to my favorite subject: the racism of the “liberal.” you know the one that believes that once everyone has western style civil rights all will be well, and those that express a non interest in them (hamas members for instance) or reject them entirely, simply don’t know enough and once taught they will be “enlightened.” i.e. intolerance for those believe something different.


      just a few thoughts for your readership…..

      Reply to Comment
    32. berl

      I can image that Haggai is laughing now.
      You build up a new movie, because you know that your claims are weak and egocentric.

      As for Haggai, I agree with Rose. I add that if Haggai is looking for support from people like you he is in a very bad condition. You don’t have any clue about what is the life in the Gaza strip or the West Bank. The maximum that you can provide about the present day conditions of the Palestinians is an outlook from your “military uniform perspective”: nothing more, nothing less.
      but I am sure that even you can stop a second and understand that your logic is weak. If Israeli naval ships prevent Gazan fishermen from sailing more than 4 kilometers from shore you have to explain how exactly “the egyptian border and hence can end the blockade in a second”

      to perceive “settlements as part of that defense” and to continue to pay new settlers is indeed disgusting. but for a person that consider Israeli necessities as the only thing that matter I could not expect more than this.

      Let the Palestinians to have a normal life and you will see that rockets from the west bank will be less and less a reasonable possibility. After that for decades the Palestinians suffered what they suffered, you want to treat them like animals and then you complain if they dare to protest: this is too easy.

      Reply to Comment
    33. pelsar

      Ok Berl
      we shall keep this as simple as it gets:….we’ll even use a dictionary, in which case you will have two options in the end: to claim the dictionary is wrong, or to explain how you’ve changed the definition:
      An act of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.
      The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.


      now those are dictionary definitions. You might note the active words: isolate, seal off

      Israel cannot possibly seal off gaza, isolate gaza as long as their is a border they do not control. Israel can control 3/4 borders but as long as israel does not control the 4th, gaza is not isolated, nor is it sealed off by israel.

      those are called facts, you will note, that within those definitions there is nothing about politicians or intent or any other then the physical ability to isolate, something israel cannot do to gaza today.

      its really that simple, use a dictionary

      Reply to Comment
    34. pelsar

      i can’t resist:
      your wrote:
      Let the Palestinians to have a normal life and you will see that rockets from the west bank will be less and less a reasonable possibility

      really? so is a “normal life” living under a secular dictatorship under the PA, with a possible result like we see in syria? or perhaps hamas will redo the gaza thing and your definition of a normal life for the Palestenians is living under hamas, with their own view foreign policy.


      are you going to now tell me that those two possibilities are racist to even consider them?

      Reply to Comment
    35. pelsar

      Berl:use a dictionary…

      your wrote
      If Israeli naval ships prevent Gazan fishermen from sailing more than 4 kilometers from shore you have to explain how exactly “the egyptian border and hence can end the blockade in a second”
      it is Israel that maintains a blockade on Gaza
      blockade definition:

      The isolation of a nation, area, city, or harbor by hostile ships or forces in order to prevent the entrance and exit of traffic and commerce.
      preventing entry or exit

      israel can have a 1000 ships off the gaza coast, as long as gaza has a border with egypt that israel does not control Israel cannot blockade gaza, nor can it prevent goods from entering.

      that is why we have dictionaries, The definition has nothing to do with politicians or intentions, it relates only to whether gaza is isolated or not, as per your claim that israel has blockade gaza-it can’t since it only controls 3 out of 4 borders.

      perhaps now you can explain how israel can blockade gaza when there is over 12 km of egyptian/gaza border that if and when egypt chooses they can import and export anything they want…just as they are now doing with the tunnels

      Reply to Comment
    36. berl

      I am glad that now you like so much the word “racist”..u use it in every sentence:-)
      although I am not for sure a symphatizer of the PA, the comparison with the alawi dictatorship seems to me quite weak.
      in any case here it is the answer. a normal life means to have freedom of movement at least inside the OPT; a normal life implies a final stop to the attempts to “judaicing” east jerusalem and the west bank; a normal life implies a final stop to the money that the Israeli administration continues to provide to settlers that comes from russia&co; a normal life implies that Israel should not have the right to destroy palestinian houses and deny them the possibility to built new ones in their territory; a normal life means them the possibility to have access to their natural resources; a normal life implies the chance to receive always a process and not that the occupier can force you in prison in administrative detention or in places LIKE the facility camp 1391; a normal life implies the moral duty to free ghettos such as shuafat camp; a normal life implies an acknowledgment of the price that the palestinians paid in order to make your dream true (Zochrot and Eitan Bronstein can teach u a lot about it); a normal life implies much more than these things, but you can be sure that once that the palestinians will have at least half of their rights back will not have as an option the PA (that is useful just for Israel) or Hamas (about which we already have written), but a free country with free human being, a country “built” on decades of unjustice and sufference.

      blockade definition:
      “The isolation of a nation, area…” thank you for the assist: if, among other things and preventions, Israeli naval ships prevent Gazan fishermen from sailing more than 4 kilometers they are implemeting the isolation of an entire vital AREA. do you suggest that the people of gaza should pass the frontier and go to egypt with their boats and then to start to fish there once that they get the permission? are u joking?
      btw, I read this interesting article. I suggest you to read it:

      If settlements are ‘legal’, the ground is laid for annexation

      Jonathan Cook
      Jul 18, 2012

      The recently published report by an Israeli judge concluding that Israel is not in fact occupying the Palestinian territories – despite an international consensus to the contrary – has provoked mostly incredulity or mirth in Israel and abroad.

      Left-wing websites in Israel used comically captioned photographs to highlight Justice Edmond Levy’s preposterous finding. One shows an Israeli soldier pressing the barrel of a rifle to the forehead of a Palestinian pinned to the ground, saying: “You see – I told you there’s no occupation.”

      Even Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, seemed a little discomfited by the coverage last week. He was handed the report more than a fortnight earlier but was apparently reluctant to make it public.

      Downplaying the Levy report’s significance may prove unwise, however. If Mr Netanyahu is embarrassed, it is only because of the timing of the report’s publication rather than its substance.

      It was, after all, the Israeli prime minister himself who established the committee earlier this year to assess the legality of the Jewish settlers’ “outposts”, ostensibly unauthorised by the government, that have spread across the West Bank.

      He hand-picked its three members, all diehard supporters of the settlements, and received the verdict he expected – that the settlements are legal. Certainly, Justice Levy’s opinion should have come as no surprise. In 2005, he was the only Supreme Court judge to oppose the decision to withdraw the settlers from Gaza.

      Legal commentators too have been dismissive of the report. They have concentrated more on Justice Levy’s dubious reasoning than on the report’s political significance.

      Under international law, Israel’s rule in the West Bank and Gaza is considered “belligerent occupation” and, therefore, its actions must be justified by military necessity only. If there is no occupation, Israel has no military grounds to hold on to the territories. In that case, it must either return the land to the Palestinians, and move out the settlers, or defy international law by annexing the territories, as it did earlier with East Jerusalem, and establish a state of Greater Israel.

      Annexation, however, poses its own dangers. Israel must either offer the Palestinians citizenship and wait for a non-Jewish majority to emerge in Greater Israel; or deny them citizenship and face pariah status as an apartheid state.

      Just such concerns were raised on Sunday by 40 Jewish leaders in the United States, who called on Mr Netanyahu to reject “legal manoeuvrings” that threatened Israel’s “future as a Jewish and democratic state”. But from Israel’s point of view, there may, in fact, be a way out of this conundrum.

      In a 2003 interview, one of the other Levy committee members, Alan Baker, a settler who advised the foreign ministry for many years, explained Israel’s heterodox interpretation of the Oslo Accords, signed a decade earlier.

      The agreements were not, as most assumed, the basis for the creation of a Palestinian state in the territories, but a route to establish the legitimacy of the settlements. “We are no longer an occupying power, but we are instead present in the territories with their [Palestinians’] consent.”

      By this view, Oslo redesignated the 62 per cent of the West Bank assigned to Israel’s control – so-called Area C – from “occupied” to “disputed” territory. That explains why every Israeli administration since the mid-1990s has indulged in an orgy of settlement-building there.

      According to Jeff Halper, head of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, the Levy report is preparing the legal ground for Israel’s annexation of Area C. His disquiet is shared by others.

      Recent European Union reports have used unprecedented language to criticise Israel for the “forced transfer” – diplomat-speak for ethnic cleansing – of Palestinians out of Area C into the West Bank’s cities, which fall under Palestinian control.

      The EU notes that the numbers of Palestinians in Area C has shrunk dramatically under Israeli rule to fewer than 150,000, or 6 per cent of the Palestinian population of the West Bank. Settlers now outnumber Palestinians more than two-to-one in Area C.

      Israel could annex nearly two-thirds of the West Bank and still safely confer citizenship on Palestinians there. Adding 150,000 to the existing 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, a fifth of the population, would not erode the Jewish majority’s dominance.

      If Mr Netanyahu is hesitant, it is only because the time is not yet ripe for implementation. But over the weekend, there were indications of Israel’s next moves to strengthen its hold on Area C.

      It was reported that Israel’s immigration police had been authorised to expel foreign activists from the West Bank. The new powers were on show the same day as the army arrested foreigners, including a New York Times reporter, at one of the regular Palestinian anti-wall protests in Area C.

      And on Sunday, it emerged that Israel had begun a campaign against OCHA, the UN agency that focuses on humanitarian harm to Palestinians in Area C from Israeli military and settlement activity. Israel has demanded details of where OCHA’s staff work and what projects it is planning.

      There is a problem, nonetheless. If Israel takes Area C, it needs someone else responsible for the other 38 per cent of the West Bank – little more than 8 per cent of historic Palestine – to “fill the vacuum”, as Israeli commentators phrased it last week.

      The obvious candidate is the Palestinian Authority, the Ramallah government-in- waiting. But the PA’s weakness is evident on all fronts: it has lost credibility with ordinary Palestinians, it is impotent in international forums and it is mired in a financial crisis.

      If the PA refuses to, or cannot, take on these remaining fragments of the West Bank, Israel may simply opt to turn back the clock and once again cultivate weak and isolated local leaders for each Palestinian city.

      The question is whether the international community can first be made to swallow Justice Levy’s absurd conclusion.

      Reply to Comment
    37. pelsar

      BERL lets try again, the blockade of gaza. you seem to believe that israel by blockading the coast of gaza is equal to israel blockading ALL of gaza
      did i get that right? since you continually mention the 4km limit.
      the dictionary definition of blockade disagrees with you since to blockade ALL of gaza, israel has to isolate gaza and since there is an egyptian/gaza border that israel does not control…israel cannot isolate gaza.

      any problem with that logic?

      just answer that…either you wrote sloppily, which happens you prefer to tell a story that is not accurate, or your redefining the capabilities of israel.

      we’re defining your credibility here,

      Reply to Comment
    38. berl

      wow pelsar, “we’re defining my credibility here”, and you are the judge?:-) May be a third person could say something, but please, read our posts and you will see that you simply don’t have enough arguments and knowledge on these issues.

      now, after that we discussed in the previous posts 10 different topics all your arguments rely on the definition of blockade. I am glad that u finally realized that the rest is clear.
      As fo gaza, for me it is enough that you know that 35% of Gaza’s farmland and 85% of its fishing waters are totally or partially inaccessible due to Israeli imposed restrictions.
      And that since June 2010, 73% of UN reconstruction projects submitted to the Israeli authorities have been approved; dozens of other projects have been pending approval for an average of 18 months. moreover over 90% of the water from the Gaza aquifer is unsafe for human consumption without treatment because israel bombed the facilities for the depuration of the water and for the same reason a severe fuel and electricity shortage results in outages of up to 12 hours a day.
      Moreover since the intensification of the blockade in 2007, at least 172 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 318 injured while working in tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and during during this period, nearly 2,300 Palestinians have been killed and 7,700 injured by Israeli forces, about two thirds of them during the “Cast Lead” offensive. Over a quarter (27%) of all Palestinian fatalities were women and children.

      if you are tired to get informations from the army you can find a few new inputs from the ocha: http://www.ochaopt.org/gazablockade/

      all your persuasive argument is based on the fact that there exists the rafah crossing. you are able to ignore all the datas just for this aspect. do you realize now how weak and immoral your position is?

      Reply to Comment
    39. Pelsar

      Its quite simple Berl….communication is impossible if people use different definitions while using the same words. I chose the gaza blockade because its the most obvious and clearest example.
      if one can agree to use dictionary definitions, as the base for the use of words, then it becomes possible to understand each other without the use of emotional laden words and get a better understanding of the environment.
      You can site all the statistics you want about what israel does or doesn’t do, you can state the fact that the israeli navy limits the gazans to 4km and shoots on those that go beyond, takes their boats etc, you can claim that the sea is vital to the food supply of the gazans…. all of that doesn’t do dibble squat to change the dictionary definition of what constitutes a full blockade of gaza.

      you earlier claimed and obviously still do that israel has a full blockade of gaza, yet you’ve already admitted that rafah (and its 12 km border ) are in fact not guarded by israel and in fact israel has no control over that border.
      hence using the dictionary definition of what constitutes a blockade of gaza,….israel is not blockading gaza.

      Cleary you don’t like to admit to that, because the implication of that are far reaching not just to the Gazans but to the israelis as well, but that can be discussed once you agree to using the dictionary as the basis for words and what they mean.
      because you use your own definitions of words, you can make up anything you want, describe it anyway you want and claim “its the truth” blame who you prefer to blame and not have to prove anything or even accept a counter argument…..its a good system, especially designed for those who don’t recognize it-but i do.

      get back to me when you agree to use the dictionary as the basis for word definitions

      Reply to Comment
    40. berl

      In a range from 1 to 100 the Israeli administration(s) bears the strong percentage for the current blockade (and the related sufference of the people of gaza), that started 20 years ago, but that has its roots in the thousands of palestinian refugees that were forced to leave their houses in najd, majdal&co. the fact that also egypt bears a minor responsability does not change anything of what we have written. and i am sorry if this does not satisfy your need and your world of definitions

      Reply to Comment
    41. Pelsar

      I can go with that….i hardly expect full and complete capitulation from you.
      I’m not big on what is referred to as “historical injustice” mainly because it ignores its consequence of “enduring injustice” which is generally of a lesser concern for those who invoke the “historical injustice meme, but i can get back to that later. (gaza being a good example).
      I don’t doubt that the physical situation in gaza is not “ideal”, the only thing you don’t want to hear, is that if Egypt/Gaza decide to open their border, it is israel that becomes the minor player and egypt becomes the major trading partner, an option that is not in israeli hands.
      in fact as of today as far as i know the only one who has the statistics of the importing from Egypt (hamas taxes those imports via the tunnels) vs importing from Israel is Hamas, and they don’t publicize the stats.-though we do see the results of 5 star hotels, new cars etc. So scarcity is not a problem today; (distribution by hamas is the core of any scarcity).
      and Since gazans seems to have a need to attempt to murder israelis almost every day (i assume your visits do not include the border areas-mine do), its a safer land route to use the egyptian/gaza border with the Al Arish port a mere 20 minutes away.

      my impression and you can confirm this, is that your less interested in improving that actually day to day living of the gazans and more concerned with your definition of “justice’ which i’m sure is based firmly in western definitions and not in the local cultural definitions.
      clearly if hamas and egypt make a political deal that opens the 12km border up, the gas they shut off from the sinai can go to gaza, water piped in from El Arish, hospital visits to Cairo as opposed to Tel Aviv.

      gaza like other counties that have no accessible port do survive by making nice with their neighbors, but thats not your primary goal is it? its not the well being of gazans, it first and foremost, making israel ‘pay for its sins” and whether or not the gazans have to continually suffer until that time comes, well thats the price of “justice.”
      Gazans getting a better life, without israel paying for it sins is not “justice” and canon be accepted, from your point of view
      anything wrong with that conclusion?

      Reply to Comment
    42. berl

      i can go with that…i hardly expect full and complete acknowledgment that you don’t know enough about the reality that you think to know

      “I don’t doubt that the physical situation in gaza is not “ideal”…too nice from you. you are such a sensible soldier
      “if Egypt/Gaza decide to open their border” the situation would remain in any case difficult (not least because the sea and the air will remain under control of the occupier), but for sure would improve. but as you know, although president morsi would like to make a step in that direction, Israel clearly said that would consider it an hostile step and an explicit sign of the will to put aside the peace treaty. and, even assuming that the egyptians remain with the same positions of mubarak, this does make the palestinians less victims of israel (and egypt). but peraphs your militaristic approach push you to think that if there are 2 “offenders” you are less or not at all guilty. peraphs is the same approach that hitler and mussolini had in the WWII

      “Since gazans seems to have a need to attempt to murder israelis almost every day”…funny, I thought that “in 2007, at least 172 Palestinian civilians have been killed and 318 injured while working in tunnels between Gaza and Egypt and during during this period, nearly 2,300 Palestinians have been killed and 7,700 injured by Israeli forces, about two thirds of them during the “Cast Lead” offensive. Over a quarter (27%) of all Palestinian fatalities were women and children.”
      If you think that these terrible gazans are in big part refugees from the houses where you or most of the israelis live in najd, musrara, ein houd ect ect ect, probably you can think twice about these criminals of gaza

      my impression and you can confirm this, is that you are less interested in the fact that these palestinians will continue to live with new settlements that your government finances or in a little cage such as gaza and more interested in serving your country with your uniform, thinking to know the society and the culture, and the history, and the suffarence of the people inside the cage
      anything wrong with that conclusion?

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    43. pelsar

      first me: i’m not interested in the Palestinians way of life, other then how it affects me, my family etc. I care as much about them as you do the Tatars and their forced exile from the Crimea. The only difference is, that their failure to create a just and stable govt will affect my way of life and security, hence my interest.
      but i do love your imagination, what you have “hinted” at, is that israel will go to war with egypt if egypt opens their border. Funny thing about that belief, is that i’ve heard it before, it was claimed that egypt couldn’t let the gazans in to egypt, couldn’t bring in food, couldn’t let electricity in……israel would attack. Guess what? never happened, if fact a few days ago, no visas necessary for young gazans to enter egypt-should i get my gun ready now?
      i’m too familiar with the “throw the enough mud and some will stick” mentality. and i’m familiar with false statistics. I told you, i’ll know when your either lying or manipulating information:
      all the gazans killed in the tunnels?…tell egypt to open the border, its not as if all those trucks coming everyday to rafah are invisible. Its pretty obvious when they stop and unload where the tunnels are. All egypt has to do is, open the border wider and no more tunnel deaths.
      funny thing about israeli attacks on gaza, you’ll notice that we’re much better at killing than hamas and friends. Thats why its a good idea not to provoke us with random almost daily attacks. Its called cause and affect, consequences for ones actions.
      this is where the gazans have to learn to place nice with their neighbors, its called reality. In case you didn’t notice since israel left gaza, they have yet to try it (count the almost daily attacks-thats not considered “playing nice.”
      you keep mentioning what is called “historical injustice” as if somehow its suppose to affect me and my actions. It doesn’t. I really don’t care today which arab village was squashed by an IDF initiative, which was abandoned and which was attacked by the Jordanians. If i’m getting shot at from gaza, I’ll call in the air force to bomb it. I’m a firm believer in overwhelming force, it keeps us alive. Stop shooting at me, and then we can discuss the difference and conflicting aspects of “historical injustice” but not now..wrong timing. Nor do i care if for you and your friends its important. First the war ends, and that means no more shooting at me. I realize you don’t like it, but the attempts to remove israel failed, so now its time for a different strategy.

      and just for fun if egypt opened their border, would you please name one single item that the gazans just have to get from israel that would affect their life style? anything?
      i’ll answer for you: ZERO. There is not a thing israel delivers to gaza that their brothers, the Egyptians cannot deliver or they cannot find an alternative for…and the only thing you have to say about that is that, if egpyt opens their border, israel will go to war with egypt.

      do you really expect me to believe that? or is that because if you admit egypt in fact can totally destroy the “israel blockades gaza” theme, your not left with much to blame israel for, the gazans and their almost daily attacks on israel…and thats a problem.
      part of what you don’t want to do, as well as your friends in gaza’s leadership is ‘grow up.” There are consequences for ones actions and in international politics, self-interest rules. Thats why NATO killed thousands in Libya to protect Europes oil supply and why they don’t touch syria.
      shooting at us from gaza, will only bring bad things to gazans, if you would like a change there, have “your friends” try not shooting and “make nice” with their neighbors. It would be new concept and if it fails they can always go back to trying to kill me.

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    44. Sam Koskei

      I visited Israel in 2003. Great people, great county.

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