More than simply a fence or a wall, the barrier being constructed to keep the Palestinians out of Israel
Every few miles, there will be gates to allow farmers access to their lands. If a farmer like Ramsi couldn't get through his gate and decided to cross illegally, he would face a formidable challenge.
He would have to scale a 6-foot-high pyramid of coiled razor wire; clamber through an 8-foot ditch; cross an army patrol path, then climb a 10-foot-high fence, avoiding its intrusion-detection sensors. Around Qalqilya, concrete walls stand 26-feet high.
Once on the other side, he would land in a sea of sand meant to capture his footprints. Then, the remaining hurdles: a patrol road wide enough for a tank, another sand trap, another razor-wire pyramid, surveillance cameras, and, every few miles, a manned sniper tower.
The construction of this sophisticated deep barrier zone is costing about $4 million per mile. To put that in perspective, to build something this elaborate on the 2,000 mile long US-Mexico border would cost about $8 billion. The money would be paid back many times over just from the reduction in the costs to the public purse for providing medical treatment to illegal aliens at hospital emergency wards.
As for US State Department threats to cut off loans programs to Israel if the barrier construction takes too much land from the Palestinians on their side of the Green line: The Israelis are going to build the whole barrier. What is being bargained about effectively is what amount of aid the US will deny the Israelis if they make the fence take in large numbers of settlements and in the process take more land from the Palestinians. How high a price can the Bush Administration inflict? Can the Bushies convince Sharon to pull the barrier back from some of the settlements it is currently planned to encompass? Or will the US Congress prevent the Bush Administration from playing economic hardball? Or will the Israelis decide the loss of aid is a price worth paying? Don't know the answer to that one kids. But we will find out soon enough if we just stay tuned for another tedious repetitive episode of "As The Middle East Turns".
The Christian Science Monitor article says that by effectively defining the border the barrier "could derail the shaky Israeli-Palestinian peace plan now under discussion." To speak of a peace plan or peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians or between the Israelis and Arabs is Orwellian at this point. Yet diplomats and reporters do it all the time. Go figure.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2003 August 11 01:32 PM MidEast Arabs Versus Israelis|