Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Three Acts

Space and time do not permit a full analysis or detailed itinerary. Our schedule is simply too full and overwhelming, with little to no cushion time for reflection, blogs, journals. Alas. If you want more, members of the delegation are writing periodic reports which will be posted on the F.O.R. website.

Act I: Lectures. Jeff Halper, Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and Jessica Montel, Executive Director of B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, both met with us today. Each has keen analysis of the situation. I have often looked to B’Tselem’s thorough reports on the situation of human rights abuses by Israelis and Palestinians as a reliable, fair source of information. Jeff’s work moves far from simply talking about house demolitions to overall analysis of the Occupation. The bottom line for him is that any final peace deal should take into account CVS: Control, Viability, and Sovereignty. If these three conditions aren’t met, then it’s not a legitimate peace. Jeff is also convinced that Ariel Sharon is preparing to make a unilateral move on the West Bank, establishing “Palestine” in the area confined by the Barrier and keeping the large settlement blocs. He predicts that this will happen in the next six months. We shall see how accurate his prophecy is.

Act II: Settlements. The deep disappointment of the tour thus far is that we were supposed to meet with the Vice-Mayor of Ma’ale Adumim, one of the largest settlements in the West Bank. He called to cancel. Our schedule is so tight that we’re unlikely to be able to meet with him another time, but our tour leaders are trying to rearrange things so that we can. Many of us on the delegation are hoping that we will be able to reschedule. In place of this meeting, several Jewish Israelis took us on a tour of several settlements. One of them was Ma’ale Adumim, a driving tour. It is larger in area than Tel Aviv, though its population is much smaller. Its lush, green lawns are a stark contrast to the arid lands that surround it – Israeli control of water is a major issue. Many analysts, including our guides, say that any final peace deal would likely see Ma’ale Adumim annexed to Israel. Driving around the vast complex and infrastructure, it is difficult to see how it could be otherwise – the mere idea of uprooting this place boggles the mind.

Act III: The Adjective Noun. What should we call it? The Security Fence? The Separation Barrier? The Apartheid Wall? If it is a wall, why is it fence in more places than wall? If it is a fence, then why have places that were once fence become wall? If it is for security alone, why is it not built on the highest ground along the most direct route? Why does it snake back and forth, being sure to include settlement blocs and outposts on the Israeli side, as well as Palestinian agricultural land and, therefore, sacrifice security? If it is separation or apartheid, why does it, in places like Abu Dis, run through the middle of town, cutting off Palestinians from Palestinians? We walked along a stretch for several miles where twenty-five feet of concrete loomed overhead and extended far into the horizon. It is a barrier, that much is certain: a barrier to peace, to dignity, to reason.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?