Is Israel Building a Security Cage???

October 1, 2003

Comment: #498

Discussion Threads - Comment #s: 425, 411, 408, 392

Attached References:

[Ref.1] "Cabinet approves route of security fence," Haaretz Service and Agencies, Last Update: 01/10/2003 14:31

Separate Attachments (in Adobe Acrobat PDF format):

[#1] Water-Arab Israeli Conflict (656 KB PDF) A Quick Tour of Water & the Arab-Israeli Conflict, June 2003.

[#2] Behind The Barrier: Human Rights Violations As a Result of Israel's Separation Barrier, B'Tselem Position Paper, April 2003 (456 KB PDF) [ ]

Two years ago, in Comment #425, "The Struggle for Israel's Soul," (August 20, 2001), I argued that calls by American opinion makers e.g., Graham E. Fuller (Los Angeles Times, August 14, 2001), Fareed Zakaria ( Washington Post, August 10, 2001), Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post, August 16, 2001), and George F. Will (Washington Post, August 17, 2001) for a physical separation of Israelis and Palestinians with a modern version of Ze'ev Jabotinski's Iron Wall (a idea he published in 1923) were not workable in any kind of equitable way. The reason: Israel gets one third of its water from the aquifers under the West Bank, thereby pre-empting 80% of those aquifers' annual water recharge volume, leaving only 20% for the whatever Palestinian state will eventually sit on top of the aquifers.

Nevertheless, Israel remains determined to build the wall. It is an immense undertaking that requires US financial aid. The wall is being built in stages, and as its construction pattern emerges, it is becoming increasingly controversial. The Israeli cabinet has just approved the route for its central section [see Ref 1 below note the references to incursions into the West Bank and to the possibility of losing US aid].

This wall has been presented to the American people by opinion makers as a simple barrier, like the Berlin Wall, complicated, to be sure, by factors such as Jerusalem, but nevertheless simple in concept. Yet the Ha'aretz story suggests a very different reality: As with most things in the Middle East, it is becoming clear Israel's new Iron War will be a maze of bizarre twists and turns. In fact, as Figure 1 shows, the wall is beginning to look like the beginnings of a giant cage. Note, particularly how the back side of wall may even creep around and eventually separate the Palestinians from the River Jordan in the East!

Figure 1

Putting a wall between the Palestinians and the River Jordon seems irrational, but it makes sense in the context of Israel's strategy to continue its preemption of Palestinian aquifers. To see why, read Attachment #1 "A Quick Tour of Water & the Arab-Israeli Conflict."

According B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Israel's Wall will increase the human rights violations being inflicted on the Palestinian people by Israel's occupation policies [The B'Selem position paper on this matter is attached separately to this email as Attachment #2].

Water is not the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but their can be no fair resolution to that conflict without a equitable sharing of scarce water resources. In a desert, fair access to water is the most basic of human rights: the right to life. Yet this human right was not addressed seriously President Bush's Roadmap, and it will be denied forever if Israel builds a Security Cage.

Chuck Spinney

"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, from a letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822

[Disclaimer: In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.]

Reference 1

Last Update: 01/10/2003 14:31

Cabinet approves route of security fence

By Ha'aretz Service and Agencies


The plan was approved by an 18-4 majority, with one abstention. Ministers Natan Sharansky, Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Elon and Meir Sheetrit all voted against the plan.


In the plan put before the cabinet, construction of the main sector of the fence will begin deep in the West Bank, east of the Ariel and Kedumim settlements.


The United States opposes the fence project and has declared that it will deduct costs of fence construction from already-approved loan guarantees totaling more than $9 billion.


Likud ministers, who demanded that Ariel be included in the fence, are satisfied with the compromise of leaving a gap in the route, while Shinui enthusiastically supports the fence.