02 Januari 2013

West Bank Barrier – A Brief Story

Since June 16, 2002, the Israeli Government has been constructing a West Bank Barrier in Jerusalem. The concrete wall is 750 kilometers in length and eight meters high. Thick concrete walls are equipped with trenches, barbed wire, electrified wire, watch towers, electronic sensors, video cameras, unmanned aircraft, sniper towers, and roads for patrol vehicles. The point is: there is no possibility to penetrate the wall.

The barrier wall was built in a zig zag shape through ten of 11 districts; across all cities in the West Bank. Construction of the first phase started from the west to north of Jerusalem along 145 kilometers and was completed in July, 2003. The second phase is underway, ranging from eastern West Bank to southern Jerusalem. This wall needed a lot of funding, but the total cost of construction was never made public. For the barrier wall maintenance alone, Israel has to spend U.S $4.7 million/mile. So the total funds needed for the maintenance of the West Bank Barrier along the 750 kilometers is U.S. $ 3.4 billion.

Construction of the barrier wall was not without argument. In 2004, the International Court in The Hague issued a resolution stating that the barrier wall was illegal and should be dismantled. But Israel did not heed the resolution and kept continuing the construction. The argument was that the West Bank Barrier limits the mobilization of the Palestinian people. Not everyone can get out of the barrier wall. If they can, they must go through a lot of inspection procedures in layers which are strictly guarded. The residents inside the wall were blocked.

Moreover, the results of the Palestinian elections in 2007 were won by Hamas, which upset Israel greatly. Because of this, Israel closed across the borders of sea, air, and land between the Gaza Strip with the surrounding area since mid June, 2007. This included the Erez crossing and Sovia (Gaza-Israel), Rafah (Gaza-Egypt), and Karen Shalom (Gaza-Egypt-Israel). Passenger traffic, goods, and services are very limited. The supply of food, water, electricity, medicine, and other materials were depleted. The same thing also happened in West Bank.

It not only blockades daily needs, the barrier wall separates lovers from their partners. It also separates fathers from their families. It separates people from their work to earn a living. It blockades the water way that causes the water crisis in the West Bank. Most importantly, Israel is basically building a ‘prison’ for the innocent residents of Palestine.

The construction of the West Bank Barrier is not without protest. The first argument came from the territory surrounded by the Barrier Wall. Residents do not want to be blocked. The second challenge comes from the international community. Of course, Israel’s isolation is irritating humanity.

The Berlin Wall, which separated Germany into West and East Germany, closed long ago. The fall of the Berlin Wall was considered as the start of a new democratic world. But actually it wasn’t. Israel commits the same behavior as the NAZI’s with repression, dictators, tyranny, and cruelty by building a blockade wall that divides Palestinian territory.

Assegaf, Faisal. Ironi Palestina. Jakarta: Hamas Lovers. 2010.
http://www.atjehcyber.net/2012/04/tahukah-anda-tembok-pemisah-palestina.html diakses pada tanggal 20 Desember 2012

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