Redrawing borders, increasing oppression

The statement on the wall that was made a few days ago by Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz revealed Israel’s true intentions and confirmed the suspicions of the Palestinian side. Mofaz said explicitly that this unilateral disengagement project will allow Israel further to expand and consolidate settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians have always understood that the disengagement plan provided certain withdrawals in the Gaza Strip in return for gains for West Bank settlers.

The wall Israel has been building in the West Bank is a main component of that unilateral disengagement project. The wall is in fact part of the ongoing Israeli settlement expansion strategy that includes East Jerusalem, which is considered by the Palestinians, under international law, and in the official position of almost every country in the world to be part of the Palestinian occupied territories.

Consequently, the Israeli Jewish presence in East Jerusalem is part of the Israelis’ illegal settlement expansion policy. The wall is being built in a way that is based on political and demographic considerations more than security ones. It is simply trying to separate the Palestinian populated areas from the Palestinian areas that are settled illegally by Jewish settlers in order to create political facts on the ground and prejudge the final status negotiations.

This is especially clear in the case of the wall in Jerusalem, which follows a path that is clearly based on demographic and political considerations rather than security. It is mostly separating Palestinian occupied areas from other Palestinian occupied areas.

The Israelis’ apparent rationale is to create a new geographic definition of Jerusalem. The wall intends to create a new boundary with a Jewish majority inside and Palestinian populated parts of Jerusalem outside. The economic and humanitarian effects of the wall are also significant, because it goes through intensely populated areas and disrupts the movement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to work, schools, hospitals, etc.

This conflict has been continuing and intensifying mainly as a result of the oppression of the Palestinian people. This wall is only about further injustice. It is accompanied by seizing, closing, or confiscating more Palestinian land and expanding illegal Jewish settlements. It also increases the humiliation and suffering of the Palestinian people, whose standard of living is deteriorating as a result.

If Israel is trying to inflame the conflict by building this wall, then it is making no mistakes. In contrast, the way to deescalate the conflict and violence is only by understanding and recognizing the legal, political, and human needs of the Palestinian people through completely ending this occupation, including its settlements, and tearing down its walls.