Posts Tagged ‘Annektionsmauer’

Israel / Palästina: Schade, dass Beton nicht brennt

Montag, Juli 2nd, 2012

A Decade of Separation

By Mina Remy
July 2nd, 2012

The Separation Wall is now 10 years old. The Israeli government has not reversed course despite protests, a UN General Assembly resolution (ES-10/13), an International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion, and almost unanimous international condemnation.

The Israeli government began constructing the Wall—a system of electric fences, concrete walls and ditches—across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2002 at the height of the second Intifada. Though  many in the international community, including the UN General Assembly and then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, readily acknowledged Israel could build a wall as a security measure, all voiced strong opposition to the proposed path of the wall. Instead of the proposed (and since then actual) incursion deep into the West Bank (incorporating settlement outposts while isolating Palestinian communities), the UN urged the Israeli government to build the Separation Wall either within its own territory or along the internationally recognized “Green Line” (the de facto border between Israel and Palestine since the 1949 Armistice). The UN’s reasoning was that such construction would minimize the social and economic impact of the Wall on Palestinian communities – hard to imagine how since Palestinians in the occupied territories had been economically integrated into Israel since the occupation began in 1967.

Also, the international community was [rightly] concerned that as planned the Wall would create “facts on the ground” that would undermine the eventual creation of an independent, viable, contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Today in 2012, the combination of the Wall, the numerous settlements (which in some cases are really large towns), and the Israeli-controlled Area C (at 60%, the majority of the West Bank including the vital Jordan Valley) the notion of an independent Palestinian state is just that – notional, as in unreal. What is on the ground are dozens of little Bantustans (including Gaza, the largest of them) à la Apartheid South Africa.
Concerned with Israel’s flagrant disregard of ES-10/13, which called for an  immediate end to the Wall’s construction, the UN General Assembly requested an advisory opinion on the ‘Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory’ from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On July 9, 2004, the ICJ issued its landmark advisory opinion, concluding that the construction of the wall was contrary to international law, violated Palestinian rights to self-determination and “that all States are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the construction of the wall and not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction.” The ICJ further ordered the Wall’s immediate demolition and compensation to Palestinian communities for destruction caused by the Wall’s construction through their communities. Even the Israeli Supreme Court intervened in 2004, 2005, and 2007 ordering changes to the Wall’s path where it found a proposed  route’s detrimental impact on the economic and social lives of Palestinian communities far outweighed the government’s security interest. 
While in Palestine, I observed the meandering path of the Wall as it snaked across a vibrant landscape—complete in some places, and with only a skeletal metal structure in others. As a first-time visitor to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the Wall felt oppressive and looked dreadfully out of place in the Holy Land. There’s nothing holy about this Wall. It’s currently 90 percent complete and is twice the length of the internationally recognized Green Line at 422.53 miles long with 85 percent of the Wall falling within Palestinian territory. As a result, 8.5 percent of Palestinian land, mostly agricultural land, is now on the Israeli side of the Wall in the so called seam zone—an area between the Green Line and the Separation Wall. For all practical purposes, this land is inaccessible to Palestinian farmers. For one, they need permits to cross the Wall, and secondly entry and exit points through the Wall are few and far in between. What was a five minute walk from home can now be a two-to-three hour journey or more and not on foot!

Effects of the Wall on Palestinian Communities
For Palestinian communities encircled within the Separation Wall – which is practically the entire West Bank – life is severely circumscribed. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) regulates entry and exit into their communities through gates that are only open a couple times a day for less than 30 minutes, if at all. All visitors, including emergency personnel, require entry permits. Because these communities rarely have health services, schools, and first responders within the community, restricted access to these basic resources affect their ability to access health care (including in emergencies), to educate their children and to put out fires. And since the Wall’s path consumes farmland, affected communities are becoming more dependent on food aid from humanitarian agencies as food insecurity increases.
The Wall is breeding discontent and poverty in affected communities. The Palestinians I spoke with in places like Tulkarm, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem reported traveling a minimum of 30 minutes to get to places that were once five minutes away before the Wall. They spoke of diminished access to water and their farms. They spoke of not being able to sell to neighboring communities with whom they had traded for centuries. They spoke of children not being able to get to school. And they spoke of the Wall’s negative impact on household income. The injustice of the Wall’s destructive path through agricultural land, the way it separates communities, or completely isolates Palestinian communities by imprisoning them within unnatural concrete slabs are a few ways in which it violates Palestinian rights to self-determination and human rights.  It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which one increases one’s security by unilaterally constructing a wall through a neighbor’s house. Your neighbor would not stand for it—no one would, including Palestinians who demonstrate against the Wall on a weekly basis.
The Wall was purportedly constructed to protect Israelis, including nearly 500,000 settlers living across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But since Israelis can move freely across many areas of the West Bank, these settlers enter adjacent Palestinian towns and villages where they have uprooted olive trees, set Palestinian farms and mosques on fire, and destroyed wells. Palestinians across the West Bank are living extremely difficult lives in the shadow of the Wall.
Who Benefits from the Separation Wall?
Israel is the primary beneficiary of the Wall because of land and freshwater resources acquired by the Wall’s construction. And that is really what the Wall is about – permanently incorporating the settlements (that extend deep into the West Bank as far as the Jordanian border), the Jordan valley (the West Bank’s bread basket), and the major sources of water (such as the Mountain Aquifer) into Israel.
However, there are also corporations profiting from the misery of Palestinian farmers and communities. One such corporation is Elbit Systems, Ltd., an Israeli defense contractor instrumental in the Wall’s construction that provides drones and surveillance equipment utilized in monitoring Palestinians along the Wall. Its products help the IDF control Palestinians’ freedom of movement along with access to their farms and wells. Elbit’s shameless profiteering from the occupation  is one reason Grassroots International launched a campaign calling for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association – College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF) to divest from all Elbit investment holdings. The Elbit campaign calls on TIAA-CREF to do the right thing by living up to its motto of “Financial Services for the Greater Good.” 
The 3.7 million non-profit and public sector employees who hold TIAA-CREF accounts are unwittingly funding house demolitions, displaced communities, land and water grabs, food insecurity and widespread human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories through their TIAA-CREF investments. These are all acts that are decidedly not in the public interest and do not advance a just society nor a just, peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On the 8th anniversary of  the ICJ’s advisory opinion striking down construction of the Wall as an illegal, unilateral act contrary to international law, Grassroots International is renewing its call to TIAA-CREF’s 3.7 million account holders—join us in demanding an end to TIAA-CREF’s continued investment in Elbit. 
At this year’s shareholder meeting, tell TIAA-CREF that they cannot promote the greater good by funding the destruction of communities and livelihoods throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.  Sign our petition today.
Photo by: Anne Paq/

Caption: A caterpillar bulldozer works on a new section of the Separation Wall in Shu’fat refugee camp near the new military terminal located at the entrance of the camp, East Jerusalem, December 27, 2011. The Wall and the new military terminal will separate more than 20,000 Palestinian Jerusalem residents from East Jerusalem directly affecting their access to their schools, workplace and other facilities and institutions


(Quelle: Grassroot International.)

Palästina: Wissen, ja – und weiter?

Donnerstag, September 29th, 2011

“The West Bank is Burning

In the Shadow of the Wall


Today’s wall is longer, higher and it does not stop terrorist activities inside the West Bank. Houses are demolished, land is destroyed and people are dying.

It is night. He is dark and it is dark. The fear comes out of his eyes. He is being chased by dogs and behind the dogs are some jeeps and the men are shouting to the dog drivers to accelerate, it is going too slowly.

Yes, that is how I remember the beginning of the movie, the movie I actually did not want to see, and that I still wish I had not seen. The movie ”Mississippi Burning” remained within me and hit me in a way that I would have preferred to avoid.

It is the movie I once again began to think about when I read about one of the many terrorist attacks.

It was Sabbath, an ordinary Saturday in October 2008. A young man is out tending his animals. An ordinary event in Palestine. This was done during the time the village was occupied by the Romans and it is done today when the village is occupied by Israel. To get some peace of mind, I went down to Via Dolorosa to look at the old photographs that the Swedish photographer took in the late 1800s.

On Via Dolorosa there is a photographic studio, a shop that sells these old unique photographs. I compared the pictures with my own. The same rolling countryside, the same calm. The sheep are slowly grazing on the hillsides and in their vicinity is the shepherd. He has always been there. Close, protective and watchful.

And then I see within myself the next picture. The one that has not yet been published. The one that probably never will be published. It will never hang in the studio on Via Dolorosa since the picture was never taken. But the film ”Mississippi Burning” gives me lots of pictures. One just has to use ”copy”. A young man dies when a granade explodes. The sheep scatter and the shepherd is gone. The evening falls in the village. In the afternoon, a mother had prepared food to break the fast. Soon the family will gather for prayer and celebration. But a young man will be missing, a young man who has exploded.

What has happened? How did the granade end up there? How did a young unprotected man get a hold of this deadly weapon? Who talks about it, who follows up on it and who is silent.

It is not long before I read about the next event. I sit at my computer and constantly I hear beeps. I press ”enter” and see event after event. Reports from BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Svenska Dagbladet, Haaretz, B’Tselem… Everyone knows everything. I knew it before but it is perhaps only now that I really understand that everyone actually knows everything. Anyone who wants to know only needs to go online. This means that the government of South Africa knows everything, the State Department knows everything and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs knows everything.

That time it was farm land burning. Farmers had once again just like previous years tried to grow wheat and barley. Around the village they had tried to cultivate the land that they owned, the land to which they were entitled. This had been done in the 1900s, in the 1800s, in the 1700s and even when the Romans went around rattling their weapons.

When I some time ago visited a place near the village I was struck by the fact that one basically used the same agricultural practices as in the Roman times.

Although slightly better tools, but still very simple and ancient techniques. I remember asking why, if there were no better technology available, I was told that they could not afford it, that the land and the tools would probably be destroyed or burned.

And that is precisely what I read about thanks to the Internet. I could no longer disregard it. I could have decided not to go and see the movie long time ago. When it comes to Internet and media it is not as easy. No one with knowledge about the Middle East and with an interest in diplomacy, international affairs, and above all human rights can stand on the side as an onlooker.

Together with the Foreign Minister and all other diplomats I read that attacks by terrorists over the past eight years have become increasingly common, and that during the Arabic spring has became more violent. People who tried to protect their assets have been killed and the land and houses destroyed.

Imagine, all this knowledge. Knowledge that is only a click away.

And just think, think about all this silence while the West Bank is burning.

Mats Svensson, a former Swedish diplomat working on the staff of SIDA, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, is presently following the ongoing occupation of Palestine. He can be reached at”


(Quelle: Counterpunch.)

Israel/Palästina: Auf der falschen Seite der Mauer

Donnerstag, April 21st, 2011

“On the wrong side of the wall


Photo: Phoebe Greenwood/IRIN

Malak, eight, is in her last year at Al Nabi Samwil
School, east Jerusalem


The one-room school building in the Palestinian village of An Nabi Samwil, near Jerusalem, serves as a classroom for eight pupils, a staff room, storeroom and the principal’s office. During the winter months or on hot summer days, it is also the children’s playground.
“The biggest difficulty I face here is that I am not able to add anything more to our premises,” says school principal Khalil Abu Argu. “We have no facilities.”
The school serves 30 families in the picturesque village, which has panoramic views of Jerusalem and the West Bank. But a major problem for residents is that it is a struggle to reach either, as the village – along with 15 others – lies on the Jerusalem side of Israel’s “Separation Wall”.
The “Separation Wall”, or barrier, has been under construction since 2002. Israel claims it is essential to protect its citizens from Palestinian “terrorism”. In Jerusalem this wall, however, has not been built along the Jerusalem municipal boundary, meaning that these 16 Palestinian communities are cut off from their families and basic services.
An Nabi Samwil village also falls within Area C, where Israel retains military authority and full control over building and planning permission. Responsibility for the provision of services falls to the Palestinian Authority (PA), but because of the wall, the PA cannot access the area.
Most of the villagers hold West Bank IDs and so are not recognized by Israel as Jerusalem residents. This means they are forbidden from entering the city and anyone in the West Bank wishing to visit the village needs an Israeli permit to pass through the checkpoints surrounding it.
There is another challenge that Argu, who lives in the West Bank city of Ramallah, faces. He has been working at the school for four years. He now needs a permit allowing him to pass through the Al Jib checkpoint but is not allowed any further in the direction of Jerusalem than the end of An Nabi Sawil village boundary.
“That wall went up last year,” he says, pointing out the black electric fence winding through the valley below. “In the past, when the way was open, it was a 20-minute walk to school. Now it takes me an hour and I need a car.”
Planning restrictions in Area C mean that new structures and the expansion of existing buildings can only be carried out with Israel’s permission. No permission has been given to Argu’s school.
Demolition orders

Instead, the Israeli Defense Forces have issued demolition orders on the school’s small outside toilet and a tent they had been using as an extra classroom because they were built without permits. Israeli soldiers have visited the school more than once, warning that the illegal structures must be taken down.
Argu remains defiant: “They’ll come and take it down and I’ll put something else up. I plan to bring a shipping container to the school next year and turn it into a classroom.”
At An Nabi Sawil, lack of space has forced the school to only teach grades 1-3. From grade four onwards, local children must travel to schools in the nearby villages of Al Jib and Beit Iksa, which the principal says are more than an hour’s drive away thanks to the wall.

Photo: Phoebe Greenwood/IRIN
Al Nabi Samwil School’s principle, Khalil Abu Argu, lives in Ramallah and passes a checkpoint to get to school each morning

One of Argu’s brightest students, Malak, aged eight, is looking forward to starting grade four at a bigger school in Al Jib this October.
“I like my school now but it’s very small; there isn’t enough space,” she said. “It would be better if we could have different classrooms for the different grades. It’s very difficult now, because we have to wait for the teacher to go through three different sets of lessons.”
“Cut off”
Within the boundaries of East Jerusalem there is a different set of educational problems. Around 50 percent of the educational system is run by the Israeli municipality, the rest by a combination of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), private educators and Waqf, an Islamic religious endowment that essentially operates in lieu of the Palestinian Authority in Israeli-controlled East Jerusalem, which is not able to operate on the Jerusalem side of the “Separation Wall”.
A recent report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned of the long-term impact of the restrictions on access to education in East Jerusalem.
Permit restrictions, checkpoints and the wall, it said, meant that pupils, and especially teachers with West Bank ID cards, face significant difficulties getting to schools in East Jerusalem, which is increasingly cut off from the rest of occupied Palestinian territory.
Ray Dolphin, the report’s author, told IRIN a key concern is the shortage of classrooms: “Even within Jerusalem [the Jerusalem Municipality] where students don’t need to cross checkpoints to get to school, there aren’t enough school buildings to meet their needs.
“And many of the buildings that are there weren’t designed as schools. Palestinian children living in Jerusalem have the right to an education but there currently aren’t the facilities.”
Despite the significant obstacles his school faces, Argu is full of enthusiasm: “I’m not at all frustrated with my job. My students work hard and that makes me proud and happy. What brings me most satisfaction is when I managed to develop the school somehow. It would be shameful for me to give up.”


(Quelle: IRIN News.)

Israel: Anarchists Against The Wall (AATW) bitten um Unterstützung

Sonntag, April 3rd, 2011

Dear Paraskevas.

I am writing to ask for your help. You might have heard that Yonatan Pollak has recently served a 3 month prison sentence for riding a bicycle in Tel-Aviv. Several months ago I was imprisoned and so were Adi Winter and Kobi Snitz.

These sentences are part of a well-orchestrated effort to stop our activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. When beating and detaining us did not stop our resistance, scores of legal indictments were issued against us. Currently, about 60 indictments are still standing. None of the human rights NGOs in Israel are representing us, and so Gaby Lasky, our brilliant and dedicated lawyer, has taken on the cause and we pay her a relatively small retainer fee. This not only includes representing us in court, but also releasing activists who have been detained, sometimes in the middle of the night.

We have no office, no paid staff, and no fund raiser. The state knows that legal representation costs money and is using the fact that we do not have funding resources to undermine our activities by filing more and more indictments. We have consequently decided to try to undercut this strategy by asking people to contribute a recurring donation of $5 or $10 a month. Our objective is to reach $2,500 per month to cover the legal fees and thus to ensure that all our activists receive good representation when they need it. Donations (which are tax deductible in the US) can be made through our website Please consider lending a hand.

All the best,

Adi Winter

P.O. Box 5046
Tel-Aviv, TA 61050

Israel: Freiheit für Abdallah Abu Rahmah! (KAMPAGNE)

Mittwoch, August 25th, 2010

“Earlier today, Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the coordinator of the Bil’in Popular Committee, was convicted of incitement and organizing illegal marches by an Israeli military court. The conviction concluded an eight months long political show trial, during which he was kept behind bars.

Persecuted for his key role in organizing the successful grassroots campaign against the wall and Jewish-only settlement on Bil’in’s land, Abdallah was convicted based only on the forced testimonies of minors who were arrested from their beds at the middle of the night. not a single material evidence was presented during the entire trial.

We are now waiting for Abdallah’s sentence, but he is facing years in jail. Now is the last moment act up on his case, and it is still not too late.

Last year, on the night of International Human Right Day, Thursday December 10th, at 2am, Abdallah Abu Rahmah was arrested from his home in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Seven military jeeps surrounded his house, and Israeli soldiers broke the door, took Abdallah from his bed and, after briefly allowing him to say goodbye to his wife Majida and their three children — seven year-old Luma, five year-old Lian and eight month-old baby Laith — they blindfolded him and took him into custody.

Help us send the message that Abdallah Abu Rahmah and the other prisoners of the popular struggle must be protected.

Abu Rahmah did not find himself behind bars because he is a dangerous man. Abdallah, who is amongst the leaders of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, is viewed as a threat for his work in the five-year unarmed struggle to save the village’s land from Israel’s wall and expanding settlements.

As a member of the Popular Committee and its coordinator since it was formed in 2004, Abdallah has represented the village of Bil’in around the world. In June 2009, he attended the village’s precedent-setting legal case in Montreal against two Canadian companies illegally building settlements on Bil’in’s land; in December of 2008, he participated in a speaking tour in France, and on 10 December 2008, exactly a year before his arrest, Abdallah received the Carl Von Ossietzky Medal for Outstanding Service in the Realization of Basic Human Rights, awarded by the International League for Human Rights in Berlin.

Last summer Abdallah was standing shoulder to shoulder with Nobel Peace laureates and internationally renowned human rights activists, discussing Bil’in’s grassroots campaign for justice when The Elders visited his village. This summer, he may be sent to years in prison, exactly for his involvement in this campaign.

Abdallah’s outrageous conviction today will be followed by a sentence in the coming weeks. The amount of pressure we will be able to generate in this time could influence Abdallah’s sentence, but will also make clear to Israeli authorities that the repression of the popular struggle does have a political price.

Please use the below template letters we have prepared to ask your Minister of Foreign Affairs to send an official inquiry to the Israeli government about Abdallah. Demand that your country apply pressure on Israeli officials to release Abdallah Abu Rahmah and stop targeting popular struggle.”


(Quelle: Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.)

Israel: Militär versucht kritische Berichterstattung mundtot zu machen

Samstag, Juli 24th, 2010

“Israel Gets Brutal With Media

By Mel Frykberg

Credit: Mel Frykberg/IPS
Israeli soldiers confronting the media at a protest in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh.

NABI SALAH, Occupied West Bank – Palestinian activists are being jailed, Israeli activists are under surveillance, and the Israeli military is increasingly targeting journalists who cover West Bank protests.

The Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel issued a statement recently condemning what it sees as a change in Israel Defence Forces (IDF) policy in their treatment of journalists covering the growing number of West Bank protests against Israel’s separation barrier, illegal settlements and land expropriation.

‘We would appreciate it were the authorities to remind the various forces involved, that open, unhindered coverage of news events is a widely acknowledged part of the essence of democracy.

‘Generally speaking this would not include smashing the face of a clearly marked photographer working for a known and accredited news organisation with a stick, or for that matter aiming a stun grenade at the head of a clearly marked news photographer or summarily arresting cameramen, photographers and/or journalists,’ said the FPA.

The release of the statement followed an attack on three journalists as they covered a protest march near an Israeli settlement built illegally on land belonging to the Palestinian village Beir Ummar in the southern West Bank.

Several weeks ago in the village Nabi Salah, north of Ramallah, two Israeli activists were roughed up and arrested after criticising Israeli soldiers for shooting at Palestinian boys throwing stones.

One of the Israelis, Yonatan Shapira, 38, an ex-Israeli Air Force (AIF) pilot and member of Combatants for Peace, (a group comprising former Palestinian and Israeli fighters) earned the wrath of the Israeli authorities when he authored a ‘pilot’s letter’ in 2003 signed by 27 AIF pilots.

The pilots refused to fly over the Palestinian occupied territories and take part in the deliberate targeting of Palestinian civilians, particularly in Gaza.

Shapira was recently interrogated by Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet over his participation in anti-occupation protests and his support for the BDS movement.

In what appeared to be a veiled threat the Israeli activist was warned that his presence at anti-wall demonstrations was in defiance of the areas being declared closed military-zones on Fridays.

Shapira believes his phone has been tapped. ‘Nothing we are doing is illegal and I’m not afraid, but I’m uncomfortable about my country turning into a fascist state,’ said Shapira.

‘The Israeli authorities are trying to intimidate Israelis who engage in political dissent. We present no security threat. But the line between political activism and security is becoming increasingly blurred by the authorities who are trying to criminalise dissent,’ Shapira told IPS.

‘Sometimes when we come to demonstrations we have been stopped en route by the IDF who have taken down our details and appear to have prior knowledge of our movements,’ Israeli activist Shy Halatzi, 23, a physics and astronomy student at Tel Aviv University who served in the Israeli military told IPS.

Israel has become alarmed at growing international support for a boycott campaign against the country as its right-wing government increasingly tramples on civil liberties. Hundreds of Israeli college professors signed a petition recently denouncing the threat by Israeli education minister Gideon Saar (a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party) to punish any lecturer or institution which supports a boycott of Israel.

Saar supports Im Tirtzu, a right-wing nationalist movement, which demands that Israeli education professionals be required to prove their commitment to Zionism.

Neve Gordon, professor of politics at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, received death threats after he wrote an editorial last year in the Los Angeles Times explaining why he supported a boycott on Israel.

Meanwhile, Palestinian grassroots activists involved in non-military popular committees, which organise non-violent activity against the occupation, continue to be arrested and jailed on what they say are trumped-up charges involving forced confessions under duress.

The IDF carries out nightly raids in West Bank villages where demonstrations take place regularly on a Friday and where villagers have been particularly active.

Wael Al-Faqia from Nablus in the northern West Bank was recently sentenced to a year’s prison for ‘belonging to an illegal organization.’ Al-Faqia was arrested with eight other activists in December last year.

Musa Salama, an activist with the Labour Committee of Medical Relief Workers and associate of Al-Faqia, was sentenced last December to a year’s imprisonment on identical charges.

Abdullah Abu Rahme from the head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bili’in village near Ramallah continues to languish in detention following his arrest in December last year.

Some of the allegations against him include incitement for planning the peaceful protests and ‘being in possession of arms.’ The latter referred to his collection of used teargas canisters and spent bullet cartridges, fired by Israeli troops at unarmed protestors, into a peace sign.

‘What we as Israeli activists endure is a fraction of what Palestinians are subjected to. They are subjected to harsher and much more brutal treatment than we are,’ Shapira told IPS.”


(Quelle: IPS News.)