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Israeli Walls – Palestinian Prisons

January 12, 2010

Word has just come from the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu regarding plans for new ‘security wall’ to be constructed along the southern border of Israel and Egypt.  “The project will cost $270 million and take two years to complete, but the barrier will not be erected along the whole border – which is 266 km long,” according to an al-Jazeera article.  The stated reason for the wall is to prevent “terrorist and infiltrators” from entering the country.  “This is a strategic decision to secure Israel’s Jewish and democratic character,” Netanyahu said.

The new wall will be in addition to a number of other such barriers that Israel has recently built or begun to build.  Israel is also currently constructing a wall around the occupied territory of the West Bank.  The West Bank wall has come under  international condemnation from various governments as well ass the International Court of Justice in The Hague as being illegal according to international law.  The major argument against the West Bank wall is the fact that it is not being constructed on the internationally recognized 1967 borders, but rather delving well into the West Bank at various points, incorporating almost 10% of Palestinian land in the process.  The West Bank wall is also being justified on security concerns, but critics have pointed out that the wall is being used to secure Israeli access to strategic natural resouces, especially water, and will provide room for further illegal Israeli expansion into the West Bank in the form of settlements.

These two walls are on top of the one that also completely encircles the Gaza Strip except for the narrow point where the Strip borders Egypt.  In effect, Israel has turned Gaza into the worlds largest prison.  The sole point at which the residents of Gaza have a limited access to the outside world (as Israel also controls the maritime borders and airspace of Gaza) is the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.  It is at this point where the Palestinians of Gaza have a marginal point of access to the outside world and where the most goods enter into Gaza through underground tunnels.  It has come to light recently that Egypt has begun installing steel barriers across the border to a depth of 14 meters in a bid to stop the already meager flow of basic goods into Gaza.  Once this process is complete, Gaza will indeed become one giant open air prison where the residents are not allowed to leave, to conduct business, to import goods or to export anything.  Below are some relevant videos that deal with various walls being built in and around Israel.

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