Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Ariel Sharon and other Israeli officials have insisted all along that Israel's "security barrier" was being built solely to keep out terrorists, and was not intended as a political border. This week, minister for Jerusalem Haim Ramon admitted what pretty much everyone knew to be true, which is that the wall is and always was in fact intended as a political border.

Ramon said demography was also a main factor for the barrier route in Jerusalem. It encloses Maaleh Adumim, a settlement with nearly 30,000 Jews, while excluding four Arab sections, including a refugee camp, with 55,000 Palestinians altogether. Of Jerusalem's 700,000 residents, about a third are Palestinian.

Besides keeping suicide bombers out, the route of the barrier "also makes Jerusalem more Jewish," Ramon said. "The safer and more Jewish Jerusalem will be, it can serve as a true capital of the state of Israel."

In other news, al Jazeera reports today on Palestinian farmers who are being denied access to their own crops which lie on the other side of Israel's wall.

Khalid Yassin of Ram Allah Human Rights Centre told on Tuesday that farmers in the West Bank village of Mas'ha had in effect been banned from their properties since 4 July due to the closure of Gate 46.

"Entry was always difficult - Israeli troops only allowed access at a couple of times during the day.

"But now occupation forces have shut the gate for good, even though cattle still need to graze and crops need to be tended to. The olive harvest in October and November will be impossible," Yassin said.

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