“Its not a separation wall- its a security fence”

The first picture is a representation of the Bedouin village we saw today.  I have never seen worse poverty firsthand before.  They were incredibly friendly, offering us all more than enough food for lunch.  It was very sad to hear of their most recent demolition order of their village.  It made me wonder what the IDF soldiers who presumably deliver these orders, or the Jewish settlers nearby who throw stones, think about them.  I would have trouble doing that to another human being but then again, I don’t live the conflict like they do.  The Bedouins represent a cleavage in Palestinian society that I hadn’t really thought about before, but clearly, they have it the worst on the social ladder.  “This is apartheid” the village chief told us while we were sitting down in the schoolhouse.  It made me re-think about how you can vastly change the shaping of the conflict, all depending on your point of view, hearing just this morning that all Muslims are inherently violent and seem to be the route cause of the conflict.  It made me wonder how many Israelis have ever seen this side of the conflict.  Going through Jerusalem, and Tel-Aviv-Jaffa, there is always a contrast between Arab and Jew but it wasn’t incredible.  I suppose a reasonable debate could be had that since there is violence in Gaza and the West Bank on the Palestinian side, this is the price they pay for Israel’s security.  However, with the Bedouin village this was different, these people literally have almost nothing, and as a human, I can’t think of a higher price to pay for “security.”

 

In contrast, the second picture illustrates are trip to the Supreme Court in Jerusalem.  After we were quickly ushered through by an annoyed tour guide who told us “we could take picture, but had to turn our phones off” we went to sit inside a court room.  After Ronnie brought up the “Separation Barrier” she was quickly corrected by the government official, reminding her that its actually a “security fence.”  Since the “thing” is partly a wall and partially a fence, it would be much more accurate to refer to it as a barrier since it is neither totally fence, nor wall.  As for separation or security, I’m not sure why the terms aren’t interchangeable.  The Israelis built the barrier to separate themselves from Palestinians for security purposes.  Our angry guide insisted that “we don’t separate anyone from anyone” and I was thinking, is she serious??  It is this kind of beating around the bush, “politically correct” thinking that I despise in the 21st century.  I think it would be much more useful to simply say what you mean (ex: we want to build the barrier to prevent terrorism) and then have an actual debate about the merits of each position, rather than just renaming things to make them appeal to people.

 

Zach Lang

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