The Myth of Israel's Apartheid Wall

Sunday, September 14, 2014 |  Tsvi Sadan

The concrete wall around certain parts of the West Bank was built to prevent terrorists and suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities and villages, but has long been misrepresented to accuse Israel of implementing an apartheid policy.

One can argue over the need for such a barrier, but the suggestion that it was constructed to segregate Jews from Palestinians is sheer nonsense that is nevertheless eagerly embraced by myriads who find Israel's existence extremely irritating.

A more sober look at the "apartheid wall" shows that it has been a means to protect Jewish towns from the waves of Arab violence that have been coming ever since Jews started returning to their land.

Some 57 kibbutzim (communal farms) were established during the Arab revolt of 1936-9 under the project known as "Tower and Stockade." These tiny settlements protected themselves with wooden walls and watch towers. After Israel's independence in 1948, its borders and the villages lying along the frontier were protected by barbed-wire fences. With the advance of technology, barbed-wire was eventually replaced by "smart fences" able to detect the slightest touch and alert nearby security forces of possible hostile penetration.

In 2000, Israel erected concrete walls along the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo as protection against constant gun fire from the Palestinian town of Beit Jalah across the valley. Concrete walls were similarly erected along parts of the Gaza border after Hamas seized power in the coastal enclave.

As the violence continued, smart fences, electric gates and even bunkers were installed to provide protection for more and more citizens.

In this way, far from trying to keep the Palestinians out, Israelis have been closing themselves in. Israelis have chosen to live behind bars, not because they are racists, but out of fear of Palestinian terror.

These protective walls have reached their ultimate absurdity in the wake of the last military operation against Gaza. Now they are erected around kindergartens located in the vicinity of Gaza. Private homes, schools and bus stops in the area are likewise fortified. Furthermore, Israel has created a virtual protective dome over its skies (the Iron Dome) and now is attempting to invent an anti-tunnel warning system.

These massive measures of fortifications stand in sharp contrast to the Arab villages that have never felt the need for such protections.

Far from being part of a nefarious apartheid policy, the fences and walls one sees throughout the Holy Land are an irritation for Israelis who feel they are once again being confined to ghettos. Nevertheless, nearly everyone agrees these are essential measures in Israel’s constant struggle for survival.

The vicious campaigns against the "apartheid wall" that was only built after hundreds of Israelis were killed in Palestinian suicide bombings are in actuality part of a larger campaign to deny the Jews the very right to defend themselves. Concealing such campaigns behind the thin veneer of protesting the alleged immorality of an allegedly racist state is, therefore, an attempt to make anti-Semitisim appear decent and acceptable.

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