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A Masked Reality



Haaretz (Israel)


April 7, 2004


Media interest in the separation fence is dying down, although construction is continuing. The disengagement from Gaza is still making headlines, but does not go further than words at this stage. Between the rising and ebbing waves of interest, two basic assumptions are being established. One, that the separation fence is the way it is due to the typical Israeli brouhaha in government and administration procedures.


Two, that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s disengagement is integrally tied to his and his sons’ legal entanglements.


However, these assumptions derive from the reality we know within the Green Line. Within the Palestinian territories that were occupied 1967, there is a reality of rigorous, elaborate long-term master planning that disguises itself as confusion. This is a reality of evicting as many Palestinians as possible from their lands, concentrating them in crowded residential enclaves, and thwarting their desire to establish a state that will enable them to live with respect.


Why should the confusion in the decision-making process of the fence construction produce a route that harms the Palestinians? How is it that confusion and lack of planning result in more Palestinians being forced to leave their homes – in Qalqilyah, Barta’a, and the little village of Siapa in the north of the Gaza Strip?


How is it that the repercussions of the separation fence are so similar to those of the security roads and fences around the settlements, like Efrat, Karnei Shomron, Beitar and Dugit? Less and less land for the Palestinians, wider quarters for the Jews? How is it that the brouhaha in the Oslo years produced bypassing roads so consistent with Sharon’s plans from the ’80s, which today are the main instruments for imprisoning the Palestinians in their enclaves to protect the settlements’ safety?


As chaotic as the Israeli occupation administration may be, as shrewd and cunning a politician as Sharon may be


- they are both acting within a clear, resolved Israeli master plan, which reality is substantiating day after day. Sharon played an important role in creating this reality. He reflects a ruling Israeli generation, for which this plan has become part of its DNA code.


Sometimes the plan undergoes mutations given universal political changes and the fact that Palestinians stubbornly refuse to live forever as an occupied nation.


But the logic is the same, and is clearly expressed by the statement of former director of the State Prosecutor’s Office Civil Department Plia


Albek: “The places where Arabs live will be in the Palestinian state, and if settlements are built on empty state lands, where no Arabs are living in any case, the border can be drawn there.” (“This legal eagle would let her chicks go,” Aluf Benn, Haaretz, April 5.)


In other words, the Arabs will not be actively deported, and will not be forced to be lower grade Israeli subjects. We will even let them establish a “state.” But it will be a state without open (desolate) territories and without territorial contiguity. It will be determined according to their built up (residential) area. Because in the open territories, where Arabs do not reside, we will build settlements that will demarcate the border of the Jewish state. Only Jews have the right and need for green space around their cities and for land reserves for building, for expanding and for industry and development. That, incidentally, is the reality on both sides of the Green Line.


Only reality, not declarations to the press and promises to White House envoys, shows us what the goal is.


Reality teaches us that in the territories, the goal is to crumble the Palestinian national cohesiveness as much as possible. That is, to treat the people not as a nation requiring physical and human resources (e.g.


land, water and freedom of movement) in order to develop and build a future, but as a collection of individuals, whose private property rights, on their family land, we, in our great benevolence, will recognize.


They will be treated as a bunch of unconnected communities. The disengagement plan from Gaza corresponds with this approach, since the main disengagement will be between Gaza and the West Bank.


This disengagement was started by the Labor-Meretz government in the beginning of the ’90s, with initiation of the closure policy even before the suicide bombings began. This policy prohibited the movement of Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, restricted Gazans from moving their residence to the West Bank, banned Gazans from studying in the West Bank and blocked West Bank markets to Gazan merchandise. Who really cares that this narrow strip, with its 1.5 million Palestinian residents, gets back the little that was robbed from it – 20 percent of the territory that has served 7,000 Jews until now – if the main things – most of the West Bank and its spacious lands, waters, and development potential – are preserved for the benefit of the Jewish nation.


Don’t underestimate Sharon and his adherence to the national cause that Albek described so well. And don’t underestimate the Israeli planning institutions, which has a duty to fulfill this cause.


 

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