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The Wall of Insanity

Israel has opted for another wall, this time around Gaza. Israel will pay for it

by Gideon Levy      13 August 2017

Cranes work on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, July 23, 2017.Cranes work on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza, July 23, 2017.  Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The next time a cap gun is fired or a toy balloon is launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip, the army will start building a steel dome over the Strip to prevent it. The ceiling will also cut off the territory from the sky. After all, we’re talking about national security. When the first crack forms, and another balloon is launched or cap gun fired, the defense establishment will proceed to the next phase: flooding the Gaza Strip with water until it is completely submerged. After all, we’re talking about Israeli security.

Until that happens — the plans have already been drawn up — the modest, hard-up Israeli army is making do with smaller measures:It’s building a new “barrier” around the Strip, the father of all the fences and the mother of all the walls with which Israel is surrounding itself, six meters high and reaching tens of meters underground. Israel is becoming a state with a wall at its heart: There’s nothing it likes more than to surround itself.

History is replete with megalomaniacal rulers who built palaces. For now, Israeli megalomania settles for walls. The separation barrier and the border fence, the Good Fence on the Lebanese border and the bad fence, the entire country is fences. Just give defense officials an excuse and they will surround us with a fence costing billions. For that, money can always be found.

The fence of horrors on the Egyptian border to keep out African refugees and the separation wall facing barefoot residents of the Deheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank. Now it’s the turn of the Gaza border fence to stop tunnels from being dug under the fence that it is replacing. Next thing you know, there will be an electronic fence around the Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, in response to the terrorism emanating from there as well.

The chief of the Southern Command made the announcement, the military correspondents quoted him slavishly and Israel responded with either a yawn or a Yes!. The method is tried and true: First you create a demon (the tunnels); then you find it a megalomaniacal solution. And there you have it, another $800 million Zionist project, to be built by workers from Moldova and asylum seekers from Africa. There we have it: another wall.

The details range from the fantastic to the grotesque, including the use of bentonite, a clay that becomes viscous on contact with water; a “see and shoot” security network that can kill with the flick of a joystick, operated by daring women soldiers who will be praised in the media for every kill; and enormous iron cages with waterproof pipes and warning sensors.

Only one kind of warning is missing from the system: a warning when the system goes crazy. Donald Trump on the Mexican border, Israel on the Gaza border — and the insanity is remarkably similar.

Israel has traffic accidents. They claim many more lives than all of the terrorism from the Gaza Strip, but no one has thought about spending on the roads the amounts being spent on the defense establishment’s new toy.

There are hospital patients who are dying, housed in corridors because there aren’t enough room for them all. The budget for the Gaza barrier could turn that situation around. That too would save lives, but hospitals are not part of the security cult, and it therefore wouldn’t occur to anyone to redirect the money from the Gaza border to the Hadassah Medical Center.

Gaza is a cage, the doors of which are now being shut that much more tightly, in a strong-armed, arrogant and unilateral move, as with all of the measures Israel takes vis-a-vis the Palestinians, from building the separation barrier on their land to the settlements. It’s not hard to guess what Gazans will feel in the face of this intensifying closure. It’s also not hard to guess what kind of state is being built here, a state that surrounds itself with walls to the point of insanity.

As with past measures, this latest strong-armed step will solve nothing. The only way to deal with the threat from Gaza is to give Gaza its freedom. There never was and never will be any other way. And when this wall is built, the contractors may get rich and Israelis living near the border may celebrate, but soon enough breaches in the wall will be found and the residents’ joy will again be dashed.

Israelis deserve what’s happening, if such excessive spending is carried out here without any public debate, because then we won’t be getting better medical care or roads. Israel has opted for another wall, and Israel will pay for it.


Gideon Levy        Haaretz Correspondent