The Palestinians call it the Wall. Israelis cleverly give it a softer spin as "the fence." Palestinians say it’s intended to destroy Palestine. The Israelis hide their reasons for building it behind the broad claim that it will somehow prevent "terrorism."
This week, I had a chance to understand the "Wall" close-up, described in detailed photographs and personal testimonies from three Palestinians who spoke at the Palestinian American Congress conference in Chicago.
And what I learned about the Wall shocked even me.
Mohammed Alatar, a member of Palestinians for Peace and Democracy in Dallas, Texas, presented a lengthy Power-Point display on the true insidious nature of the Wall. (By the way. Alatar’s poignant power point presentation is on my web page at www.hanania.com and you can download your own copy and see it for yourself.)
Let me address the issue of the word "fence" head on. Israelis claim that since most of the length of the "Wall" is made up of barbed wide, electrical wire and a fence, it should be called a "fence." But my response is simple. So what? Many of the concentration camps erected by the Nazis during World War II were bordered not by walls, but by fences, too. Does it make it any more innocent?
The wall is only partially completed, blocked by a growing World outrage that the Jewish people who survived the Holocaust would use such hateful measures to respond to the violent reactions of an oppressed people that Israelis military has occupied for more than 36 years.
Here are the statistics, so far: The Wall, when completed, will be 408 miles long (The Berlin Wall was only 96 miles long). The Israeli Wall consists of concrete sections of six to 24 feet
high. (The Berlin Wall was only 3.6 to 11.8 feet tall).
The Israelis are fast and loose with facts. They say, the wall is mostly fence. That is true now, incomplete and unfinished. When it is finished, it will be 80 percent concrete and 100 percent permanent.
The parts that are "fence" out shadows even the most sinister looking fence that the Nazis built around their concentration camps. Each "fence" section is 130 feet wide. On each side it is bordered by razor wire. Next is a deep moat. On the Israeli side is a brand new road with soft sand on each side. On the Palestinian side, more open land and another moat.
Talk is they’ll put landmines adjacent to the wall, soon, but who knows?
The Israelis, using Caterpillar bulldozers from Peoria, Illinois that stand some 18 feet tall (described as "walkers" used by the villainous Empire in the Star Wars movie by Palestinians), are destroying a swatch of land 130 feet wide not on the border that separates Israeli from the West Bank, but right through the centers of Palestinian business areas, farmlands, and villages.
The Wall will place the Palestinians into dozens of isolated ghettos, and will annex, by Israel’s standard legal power of "de facto" change, 42 percent of the West Bank. It destroys 16 Palestinian civilians villages that have a total population of about 200,000 civilians.
But don’t think the Israelis are not completely disrespectful of the damaged resources. About 200,000 olive trees have been destroyed, so far. But Israel is digging up hundreds of the ancient olive trees that date back to the Roman era by their roots using D9 Caterpillar bulldozers and they are re-selling these olive trees, once owned by Palestinians, to Israeli buyers in Israels. These trees are valued at $10,000 a piece.
The greatest damage caused by the Wall is in the area of the Northern West Bank, especially around Qalqiliya where farmland there produces 42 percent of the agricultural products consumed by the Palestinians.
Next week, I am going to explain to you the real purpose of the land. It’s not about terrorism. It is about preventing Palestinians from gaining access to their water, and choking the population to death.