Israel’s new barrier with Syria: Another brick in the ‘apartheid’ wall?
Israeli soldiers run near Israel’s separation barrier during clashes with Palestinian stone throwers in the Jalama checkpoint in the West Bank near Jenin city (AFP Photo / Said Khatib)
The walls around Israel are growing as the country’s army builds a new physical barrier, this time on its border with Syria. The wall will reportedly begin in the southern part of the occupied Golan Heights, extending north from there.
Israel says the move is designed to safeguard its citizens from fallout from the conflict in war-torn Syria. Others say the wall is just a new installment in one of Israel’s most recognizable tools of injustice.
“It’s a wall of oppression. It’s a wall of segregation. It’s a wall of stealing the land of the people,” Jamal Juma, of the Stop the Wall movement, told RT.
Juma says the wall will end up only remaining in place temporarily, as those who oppose it will stand up for their rights.
“Walls around the world that have been built to suffocate and oppress people have fallen down. Why would the Israeli wall stay? We are not going to settle for it. We are not going to accept the system they are imposing on us,” he said.
RT: Israel is citing the conflict in Syria and the rise of Islamist extremism there as its reasons. Doesn’t Israel have a valid concern in this case?
Jamal Juma: Israel has to recalculate what they’re doing in the Middle East. Israel tries all the time to build walls around itself, claiming that people hate them and target them. Israel has harmed the whole region around it. Israel is building a wall around Palestinian areas, claiming it’s for security – but it amounts to apartheid for the Palestinian people. They built a wall around Gaza and turned it into a jail – the biggest prison in the world. We know how devastating the situation in Gaza is.
They still occupy parts of Syria, and are now building a wall on occupied land; they want to keep this land and keep themselves as occupiers. To keep building walls is not a solution. It needs to make peace with the region. In Syria and the Arab world, there are six million Palestinian refugees because of Israel. They have to solve the problem of the refugees, to give them the right to return to their homeland that has been taken from them. Israel cannot build its future at the expense of the people of the region. And building walls to protect themselves… walls are not going to protect the Israelis. People have rights, and they will keep claiming those rights.
RT: Israel’s most visible wall is its barrier separating Israel from the Palestinians, while it’s also building settlements in the area. Is there any possibility for compromise here?
JJ: You see how the building of settlements is escalating in the West Bank. Israel is building the settlements in a way to control the Palestinian people – this is going to destroy the possibility for Palestinians to have their own state and a normal life in the future. They lock the Palestinians into ghettos and reservations and they slice their areas so they are disconnected from each other. They are building a road system, and it’s apartheid because it’s two networks of roads separating them by tunnels and bridges, and they control this. They control the Palestinians within walls, with 34 checkpoints, or what they call “terminals.”
So all this is going to devastate the area. Palestinians are not going to stay long. Just like waiting for peace while Israelis are taking and swallowing their lands. Israel is pushing this to an explosion point. We witness Palestinians being attacked every day, in many villages. North of the Jordan Valley has been evacuated by Israelis. There was an attack on people south of Hebron. So they are waging a war on the Palestinian people and they want the walls to bring peace to them. Stealing people’s land, locking them in jails, devastating their life is not going to bring peace in any way. Israel must realize that the area is changing. And it must understand the change that is needed for Israel to reconcile with the people.
RT: You clearly have a strong message. You’re from the Stop the Wall movement. Do you think your group will have a successful outcome, and will see the walls come down eventually?
JJ: Walls around the world that have been built to suffocate and oppress people have fallen. Why would the Israeli wall remain? It’s a wall of oppression. It’s a wall of segregation. It’s a wall to steal the land of the people. That’s why this wall won’t survive. The people will keep standing and resisting it, and it will fall. Israel created an apartheid system with this wall.
The apartheid system failed in the twentieth century. Why would the Israeli system survive? We are struggling for human rights, our self-determination, our freedom, and ending this oppression that has been created by Israel. This is an element of that oppression, to keep control of the Palestinian people. We are not going to settle for this. We are not going to accept the system they are imposing on us.