Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ghetto Israel

Fencxe along the Israeli-Egyptian border. The project is partly finished, at the end of 2012 the work should be done. Cost:  $ 360 million.

Under the title 'Israel overcome by paranoia' the military correspondent of the Israeli newspaper Ynet (Yedioth Ahronot), Alex Fishman, writes about the strange way Israel is fencing itself in:  

In the year 2000 we built a smart, electronic fence on our northern border. It made sense; after all, Hezbollah is a dangerous and unpredictable foe.
In the past decade we started to erect the West Bank barrier: A cement wall along with an electronic fence equipped with sensors and cameras. We’re still building it today. This made sense; we must curb the suicide bombers and illegal aliens. In 2005 we also built a sophisticated fence around the Gaza Strip. It monitors the area, fires on its own, and can even sing our national anthem if you want. It made sense; Hamas is also a dangerous foe. After that we also had to curb terrorism and infiltrators from the Sinai. There is no argument that we need a fence. We also need one on the Golan Heights, after Palestinian refugees crossed the border and rushed into Majdal Shams. So we came up with a proud Zionist response – a sophisticated 15-kilomter fence. In a few years, once the fence on the Jordanian border is built, we shall complete our disengagement from the Middle East. Who would believe that once upon a time we spoke about integrating into the region? By now we are a tiny state with a large fence. How did it happen to us? 

He himself gives some of the answers to his last question:
''Apparently this is deeply entrenched in our DNA: A persecuted people who seeks cover.'' And 'We are again Diaspora Jews in our own country. There is no wonder that the polls show a religious revival; after all, it is God who shall protect us.' 
I'don't agree with all that Fishman says. For example: "Such society, which loses its self-confidence, does not convey deterrence. With all the bombs and advanced aircraft, this is not a society that conveys a sense of strength. The Americans and Iranians can sleep well; this is not a society that will decide to strike in Iran and pay the price.'' is not a text I could easily get out of the keyboard of my laptop.     
But the rest: yes. Somewhere on my Dutch blog I once wrote that it is a remarkable experience for someone who descended from a family that once -literally - lived in the ghettoes of both Frankfurt and Venice, to see how the whole of Israel is turning itself into a fortress that in a creepy way ressembles a gigantic contemporary ghetto.  

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