Response to National Post editorial of 20 August 2003

EI’s Nigel Parry wrote this letter in response to an editorial in the National Post (Canada). It was not published.

Regarding the editorial, “Another reason to build the fence: Separating Israel from the West Bank will help prevent attacks such as yesterday’s bus bombing” (20 Aug), The National Post has missed the point entirely. The Post argues that a description of Israel’s Wall on our website as “a colonial project that embodies within it the long-term policy of occupation, discrimination and expulsion” was “nonsensical” and that Israel is building the Wall “to protect its citizens from terrorists based in the West Bank”.

If the Post was correct on these matters, presumably the Wall would be being built between Palestinian and Israeli land, on the border of the West Bank and Israel proper known as the “Green Line”. In fact, Israel is approaching the Wall project in the one sure-fire way guaranteed to generate strife in this struggle over land — which your readers should be reminded is the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — by building the structure entirely on Palestinian-owned residential and agricultural land.

If the Post’s assertions were true, presumably Israel would not be enclosing between 100,000 and 400,000 West Bank Palestinians on the Israeli side of the Wall, yet this is exactly what is happening. Furthermore, Israel is building additional sub-Walls on the Palestinian side of the structure, to further contain the already walled-off population. One completed example is the 25-foot-high concrete Wall (not “fence” as the Post misleadingly called the structure) that dwarfs Qalqiliya, whose population of 100,000 residents must now enter and leave the city through a single gate.

The Post is entitled to characterise the structure in any way it chooses but should avoid repeating the Israeli government justifications for the structure — patently hollow in light of the above facts. Israel’s Apartheid Wall project represents the largest land grab since 1967. If there is anything nonsensical about our characterisation of the Wall, it is that our terms were utterly redundant in light of a structure that is to be twice the height and four times the length of the Berlin Wall. []

Nigel Parry
for The Electronic Intifada