Thursday, July 16, 2009

Security Barrier

Amos Harel at Haaretz has tried to figure out whatever happened to the Security Barrier (aka. Land-grab, Apartheid Wall, etc). The original article, written of course in Hebrew, was accompanied in the printed version by a map. The English version doesn't have the map, and if you don't know the geography quite well it's rather confusing.

The bottom line, however, is pretty clear. The barrier or its downgraded alternative take in only 4.5% of the West Bank; even some of the larger settlement blocks are outside of it.
In response, the cabinet amended the route in February 2005 to include just nine percent of the West Bank. In April 2006 an additional one percent was shaved off
by the government of Ehud Olmert. In practice, however, the route encompasses
only 4.5 percent of West Bank land. The four "fingers" in the last map (and which Israel presented at Annapolis in November 2007) were never built, not at Ariel and Kedumim (where a "fingernail" was built, a short stretch of fence east of the homes of Ariel); not at Karnei Shomron and Immanuel; not at Beit Arieh, nor south of that, at Ma'aleh Adumim. Instead, with little publicity, fences were put up to close the gaps closer to the Green Line, at Alfei Menashe instead of at Kedumim, at Elkana instead of Ariel and in the Rantis area instead of at Beit Arieh.

Keep that in mind next time someone inevitably tells you about the horrible pain the fence has inflicted on the Palestinians as it stole their lands and carved up their future state. The reality is that the fence is almost entirely on, or very near, the Green Line; with the exception of the Jerusalem area it never cuts more than a mile or two into the West Bank. Maybe three, at Elkana.

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