This is not about Gaza

The following letter appears in today’s Australian:

Your editorial (“A lifeline to Gaza“, 17-18/11) overlooks the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel’s violations.

While we welcome Israel’s withdrawal from any inch of Palestine, it is important to know that the Gaza Strip represents less than 1.5 per cent of historic Palestine, and what should not be overlooked here is what Israel is doing in the West Bank in terms of building and expanding settlements and the apartheid wall deep inside the occupied West Bank. The Wall, which is near completion, is twice as high and seven times as long as the Berlin Wall. It is 8m high and over 700km long, and consists of reinforced cement, barbed wire, electrical fences, trenches, electronic motion sensors, guard towers and military roads.

The Wall is having a devastating impact on the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories, and by the time it is complete, it will close off the Palestinian territories from the outside world. Israel will control all entries and exits as well as all the aerial and electromagnetic space and approximately 56 per cent of the West Bank will be de facto annexed to Israel.

The land incorporated into Israel by the Wall is the richest agricultural land in the West Bank and includes the aquifer system which provides 51 per cent of the West Bank’s water resources. The Palestinians will effectively be living in the largest prison in the world. What (Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon is trying to do is exchange the withdrawal from Gaza with the theft of 56 per cent of the West Bank as well as the entire city of Jerusalem. Needless to say this expansion is rejected by the Palestinians and will not bring peace, stability and security.

When will Israel understand that what it needs to build are bridges and peace with the Palestinian people and not walls?

Ali Kazak
Head of delegation to Australia and New Zealand
Ambassador of Palestine to Vanuatu and East Timor

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