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The colonial nature of Israel's Wall

View of the Palestinian Shuafat refugee camp behind Israel's apartheid wall in east Jerusalem on 3 December 2014 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]
View of a Palestinian refugee camp behind Israel's apartheid wall in east Jerusalem on 3 December 2014 [Muammar Awad/Apaimages]

At the heart of the current upsurge of resistance in Jerusalem is the struggle against Israeli settler-colonialism and its various tools. The ongoing attacks against al-Aqsa mosque, settler violence, land and property confiscation, as well as racist building and planning restrictions and house demolitions are all organs within this wider project. Another cog in that wheel, and one which has played a significant role in supporting Israel’s designs for Jerusalem is the ‘Apartheid’ or ‘Annexation Wall’.

Israel has always defended its ‘need’ to build the Wall as a tool of ‘security’ – a claim which is easily dissected as Zionist hasbara with some straightforward realisations. The Wall remains unfinished and in several areas of the southern West Bank it remains possible to walk across the Green Line, albeit at risk of being shot by Israeli military patrols. Given that undocumented workers use these routes regularly to reach work in Jerusalem, these routes could similarly be used by Palestinians to carry out the ‘suicide bombings’ that Israel claims the Wall has stopped. As Israel knows well, it was a Palestinian decision that led to the cessation of such operations and not the Wall. Above this, with well over one million Palestinian ‘citizens of the State of Israel’ and ‘Jerusalem ID holders’ living west of the Wall, it is simply irrelevant in the prevention of Palestinian resistance in those areas as has been highlighted again over recent months. More accurately, with at least 85% of the Wall’s route being inside the West Bank rather than on the 1967 borders Israel’s true intentions become much clearer.

Instead of a ‘security requirement’, the Apartheid Wall is a powerful colonial tool which has annexed around 10 percent of the West Bank. It has played a significant role in reinforcing the annexation of Jerusalem and strengthening the colonisation and population transfer project in the West Bank. It has tightened Israel’s grip around the bantustans of Area A and reinforced the isolation of communities in Area C. Farmers are today separated from their lands by nine metres of concrete, and families have been literally split in half.

As 2014 draws to a close 25 years have now passed since the Berlin Wall fell – but what human lessons have been learned? Ten years have also passed since the ICJ’s advisory opinion on the illegality of the Wall – but what legal action has been taken? The Wall today remains a powerful colonial weapon in Israel’s vast arsenal, and another stark reminder of man’s inhumanity to man.

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