Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Jonathan Edelstein says this rather eloquently. After comparing the wall Israel is building around the Palestinian territories to the one Egypt is building around the Sharm al-Shaykh resort:
"And why shouldn't the complaints be similar? The underlying logic, after all, is the same: to wall off a population that has come to be regarded as dangerous. It's the same rationale that underlies fenced-off resorts in the Caribbean and Africa, or gated communities in the United States. All these things protect the haves from the dangerous have-nots, and restrict interaction to what is approved by and in the interest of the former. The Israeli barrier may be the most extensive example, but it's hardly different from the Sharm wall in its purpose or the effect on the people left outside.

"Don't get me wrong - I'm for the Israeli wall, although I'm against it being built outside the Green Line. For the reasons I've stated before, I believe that the wall is the only thing that will enable Israel to retreat safely from the West Bank, and that it has already played a considerable part in shifting Israeli strategic policy toward unilateral withdrawal. Like it or not, the barrier will not only prevent the great majority of bombers from getting through but will also enable the occupation to end even without a successful conclusion to the peace process.

"But just because the wall is a necessary evil doesn't mean it isn't evil. The fence has saved many lives and will save more, but it should be recognized for what it is: an ugly, evil remedy that effectively writes off three and a half million people and denies the possibility of any normal interaction with them. The responsibility for this lies on both sides, and on days like today, it's easy to succumb to the logic of bombs and walls. But even if that logic is necessary, it's important to prevent it from becoming internalized: to guard against the increasing tendency to use walls as a solution within Israel, and to increase the physical and psychological barriers between communities. It's precisely because the bombs make the walls necessary that we should appreciate their consequences, and one more reason to condemn the bombs is that they build the walls higher."

Read his whole post.


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