Defence and da Fence

Sitting down to write about the International Court of Justice ruling on the Anti-terror fence/Apartheid Wall (depending on your personal bias), it was tempting to blast away at the absurdity of a court ruling against a basic self-defence measure, and talk about the success of limited entry and exit from the Gaza Strip, which has slowed the flow of suicide-bombers from there to a mere trickle.

But to do that would be futile.

Instead, it'd be more worthwhile to discuss whether a legalistic international approach to this problem is the right one. My hunch is that this dispute is most likely to be 'resolved' by playing down the stakes and reducing the number of participants. The more well-meaning-but-ultimately-counterproductive international bodies get involved, the more clogged the situation becomes. Besides, both parties tend to dig their heels in, accusing various international bodies of bias, running their own agenda, or just generally getting in the way, rather than moving toward compromise. Real dialogue is much more likely to be reached with a small number of participants from both sides, and a single, genuinely neutral facilitator.

What does not help at all is bodies like the ICJ beating their chest and blasting the Israelis for doing what any other nation would do to protect it's own people. The ruling completely ignores the reality of the conflict, and is more interested in creating headlines than doing anything to resolve the need for the fence to be built in the first place. The fact that Palestine is not yet a nation state (a result of decades of incompetence from Yassar Arafat rather than Israeli intrasigence) means that liability for its actions is minimal, and hence the ruling of the ICJ rings hollow.

If a solution (or at least manageable conflict) is to emerge, it will be when the EU, US, UN and ICJ say less, not more.

De-fence... geddit?

Palestinian boy standing near a blown up Jerusalem bus, placed near the Abu Dis barrier in east Jerusalem


Dana said…
Well said! Personal bias - anti terror fence. This is so correct and most importantly it has been proven, the less they intervene the more chances there are for any sort of reconciliation. We cant rely on bodies that dont have a geniune interest in resolving anything.
Anonymous said…
Am I confused?
Is the judgement by the ICJ against the existence of the wall or just its position on non-Israel territory?
If the latter, then the news services are misleading many of us, and critics of the judgement may be arguing against a decision of straw... Arty.
Pete said…
Ari, dear Ari...

While I'm sure having visited the territories has coloured your opinion of recent months, you're views on this matter particularly are the most disappointing of all.

You see, it makes no difference if a program is successful if it's morally wrong in the first place. It would appear at first blush that locking children in detention indefinitely has reduced asylum seeking arrivals by the leaky boat method. But that doesn't make it the right thing to do. The US would claim son of star wars as a self defence measure, but that doesn't make it any less absurd.

This wall is separating families and preventing farmers from reaching their land, amongst other sadnesses. It is most disappointing that a nation of apparently intelligent adults and, let's face it, overwhelming military dominance, can't find a better solution.

This dispute has long ago passed the point where one side can claim moral superiority of any kind. For every suicide bomber there is an equally dead Palestinian at the hands of an Israeli tank. Gandhi, it seems, must be turning in his grave.

The biggest irony though is that, at essence, the Palestinians are simply after a secure homeland. I would of thought Israeli's above any one else, would understand that desire.

(For all that, I happen to agree re: too many cooks spoiling the broth!)
Anonymous said…
If the Israelis were building a fence around Israeli territory, then you would have to accept their right to
build such a wall.

But the Israeli state has, over many years, supported
(financially and militarily) the establishment of Israeli
settlements on land that is outside Israel's borders.
Now they want to build a wall around these settlements.
Come on people! Of course it's wrong.

If Israel wants to build a wall, to defend themselves,
then they should do it around their own border, and
not on someone else's land....

Israel can decide, unilaterally, without any negotiation
with Arafat or anyone else, to withdraw from settlements
not on Israeli land. Then, they can build a wall around
Israel if they want.

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