“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
–Ronald Reagan, Berlin 1987
In a move that calls to mind Ronald Reagan’s famous speech that marked the beginning of the end of the Soviet empire, anti-Occupation activists toppled a section of the Separation Wall separating the Palestinian villages of Nilin and Bilin from their farmland to the west. It was a bold and dramatic move that was met by the typical IDF response, hosing a foul spray smelling of feces and corpses upon the demonstrators.
The IDF would do well to remember this passage from Regan’s speech which could just as easily apply to Israel’s Wall:
As I looked out a moment ago from the Reichstag, that embodiment of German unity, I noticed words crudely spray-painted upon the wall, perhaps by a young Berliner, ‘This wall will fall. Beliefs become reality.’ Yes, across Europe, this wall will fall. For it cannot withstand faith; it cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”
The U.S. president perhaps did not realize how prescient his words would be and how soon realized. In a similar way, those Palestinians who toppled a section of the Separation Wall were doing so on faith that eventually the entire thing would topple in a frenzy of Palestinian jubilation.
Scores of East Germans gave their lives trying to flee to freedom. For the Palestinians, it is slightly different since the Wall separates them from what is rightly theirs, i.e. their own land. But they are no less willing to die for their own freedom and the IDF thugs have obliged with several cold blooded murders and maimings. Perhaps the IDF should remember what happened to those East German guards who shot their fleeing fellow citizens. They eventually faced justice just as I hope IDF officers will who gave the order to fire on unarmed Palestinian villagers and international peace activists.
Mr. Netanyahu, tear down this wall. Otherwise, just as in East Berlin in 1992, the Palestinians will begin by tearing it down for you.
the east germans and west germans wanted the wall to fall, they wanted a one state, this isnt the case here.
Richard Silverstein says
Gee, if the E. Germans wanted the wall to fall why did it last for 40 yrs? I guess someone wanted it to stay up. The key pt is that E. Germans maintained the Wall that long and eventually realized it had to come down. Eventually, the world & Palestinians will pressure Israel and the Wall will fall.
the east germans lived in a totalitarian state, they didnt maintain the wall, there wasnt a “realization”, otoh, this wall is supported by most of Israelis, you know this.
if it was up to the Palestinians, Israel would disappear, they are in no position to pressure anything.
as far as the world? same thing.
Richard clearly wrote: “someone wanted it” (it stood for 28 yrs). The “someone” is the strong point Rafi misses and does not refer to.
that “someone” was the totalitarians, it didnt have popular support.
Richard Silverstein says
I see. East Germany was led by “totalitarians?” You mean someone of the equivalent of Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin? One could argue that the East German Communists were authoritarian, but totalitarian? I think not.
And you’re claiming that a Berlin Wall which stood for 40 yrs had no popular support (which you know how precisely how?), while the Israeli Separation Wall has total popular support. You never answered the question why, if all Israel is behind the Wall, the Supreme Court ruled against the Wall’s route?
i did not say all of Israel is behind the wall, i said it has the majority of Israelis behind it, the majority of E Germans voted to eliminate the wall and the one german state the first time they had the chance in a referendum, didn’t they?
you’re saying a majority of East Germans supported the wall at any time? an amazing statement. East Germany was ruled by Stalin btw, created by him (and Truman and Churchille) even.
the SC ruled against parts of the wall that are well into the West Bank, the route issue is a diffrent issue than the wall in itself, i am against those parts as well, I wanted the wall to be built completely on the green line, but they didnt asked me.
Richard Silverstein says
Gee, that would be news to Erich Honneker and the East German Communist Party. They kinda thought they were running the show. I guess you gloss over these niceties because they’re inconvenient to yr theory that Communists are totalitarian and Israel is a democracy.
I never claimed what you say I claimed about East German support for the Wall. I merely said E. Germans had a government which governed the nation & it maintained this wall until the people of E. Germany decided they no longer wanted this government or Wall. Then they tore it down.
Since I assume you are Israeli, why don’t you continue protesting the Wall’s route? If you did then you would earn my respect. But merely saying you wanted the Wall to follow the Green Line but neglecting to say what, if anything you did to protest against the actual route, is disappointing in the extreme.
The Berlin Wall was indeed maintained solely by the armed force of the NVA, and by MfS Staatsicherheit troops, in particular the Feliks Dzerzhinsky Wachregiment, custodiet custodes, watching the watchers, with all-inclusive shoot-to-kill orders going all the way up to guards in towers required to shoot escapers in case of an escape attempt by one of their number. There was a rather interesting escape by a guard who hid the weapons of his co-watchers when they fell asleep on duty in order to make his escape. So, yes, totalitarians. Tut mir leid. 10% of the population recruited as informers for the MfS.
It collapsed like a house of cards as soon as the border was opened by mistake as a face-saving gesture, the kind of collapse Israel’s opponents dream of for it. Israel’s Wall is indeed rather feckless by comparison, “worse than a crime, a mistake.”
Richard Silverstein says
Israel’s Wall will fall too. And I will celebrate when it does as I will celebrate the peace that will come from a settlement (a peaceful one that is).
Interesting too that the IDF seems to have somewhat similar shoot to kill orders as well. Perhaps not as draconian. Perhaps more like: “Shoot and if you kill, no harm done.” Unfortunately though on one is watching the Israeli watchers (except for international peace activists filming IDF crimes). Like that E. German guard, maybe we can hide those high velocity tear gas weapons fr. the IDF so they won’t be able to fire them at the Palestinian demonstrators tearing down the Wall.
Richard Silverstein says
Every authoritarian state falls through some reason or another. Apartheid era S. Africa, the former S. Union, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, Pinochet’s Chile–they were all propped up by massive firepower just as E. German was. Yet somehow the people eventually rose up & overthrew them all.
In Israel’s case I’m not sure the people have the will to overthrow the Occupation since it doesn’t harm them enough yet. But one way of another, the Wall & Occupation itself will fall.
Richard Silverstein says
Israel’s Separation Wall is a violation of international law plus it violates specific rulings of the Israeli Supreme Court which the IDF refuses to honor. Frankly, I don’t really give a fig whether Israelis support the Wall or not. Their own Supreme Court notes that its route robs Palestinians of their land. The International Criminal Court has ruled in even a more blanket way that the entire enterprise is illegal. Israelis don’t give a crap about niceties like international law.
As for the Berlin Wall, East Germans did in fact maintain the Wall until they decided they didn’t want it. In Israel it will be diff. since Israelis will likely never tear down the wall of their own volition. That’s why the Palestinians & rest of the world will have to “help” Israelis realize the error of their ways in building it in the first place.
More hasbara bulls(&t. You know nothing about Palestinians other than the propaganda you read or watch.
Eventually the wall will come down. When it is no longer necessary.
Interesting how the things which have brought the Israelis the most security are the things “progressives” are most against.
El Al security measures brought an end to terrorism in the skies against Israel.
The wall brought an ens to suicide bombings in Israel prper.
The Gaza war to Hamas’s (and their allies) terror war against the Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.
While Oslo, Camp David etc. only brought us more terror and misery.
Nevertheless I am optimistic. Eventually the Arabs of the WB and Gaza will come to terms with Israel and a new age of peace and cooperation will prevail without walls and without terror. And yes without roadblocks and without blockades.
Until then, we’re sticking with the wall.
Richard Silverstein says
Show me a single progressive who is against legitimate El Al security measures (as opposed to the Shin Bet delberately harrassing all Arabs who attempt to fly out of Ben Gurion rhrough the use of racial profiling).
More bogus right wing hasbara. The Wall may have played SOME unquantifiable role in hindering terror, but other matters entirely unrelated to the Wall played a far more important role such as a Palestinian decision to largely end suicide attacks originated fr. the W. Bank.
It did not end Palestinians terror. The ceasefire ended the terror & Israel could have continued the previous ceasefire w/o a war had it not attacked smuggler tunnels & killed 6 Gazans in the process thus violating the prior ceasefire & causing Hamas to renounce it when it ended.
Yes, that’s the right wing nationalist line. You ape it not very elegantly but predictably. Oslo didn’t bring terror. It was Israel & Fatah’s refusal to implement its provisions that doomed it to failure.
That’s hasbara bullshit. You don’t believe the Arabs will every come to terms w. Israel & you don’t care. You believe Israel can impose its will & maintain the status quo ad infinitum & ad nauseam. But it can’t. If it were up to you & yr benighted views Israel, like Judea would go up in flames. It may yet if the right wing crazies continue controlling Israel’s political destiny.
I think your analysis of my secret beliefs is incorrect and unfounded.
this section of wall is in ni’lin, not bi’lin.
RE: “a foul spray smelling of feces and corpses”
MY COMMENT: Oh, how absolutely dreadful (mimicking Julia Child)! Is there no limit to the humiliation? Poor Ms Osnat Gilad and the other Hashmonaim settlers will once again be unable to ‘take afternoon tea’ in their manicured gardens. What the devil is the use in being a colonist if one cannot partake of even the most mundane colonial privileges. The British would never have put up with such an affront!
P.S. The photo of Ms Gilad really does remind me of Rhodesia.
Crimson Ghost says
Obama Fails in Middle East
November 7, 2009
The announcement by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he will not run for reelection is the exclamation point on the utter collapse of the Obama adminstration’s Middle East policy. Launched to great expectations — the appointment of George Mitchell, Obama’s Cairo declaration that the plight of the Palestinians is intolerable — it is now in complete disarray. It is, without doubt, the first major defeat for Obama’s hope-and-change foreign policy.
Here’s how it unraveled. First, Obama began a test of strength with Israel over that country’s policy of illegal settlements, an expansion of its occupation of the West Bank driven by extremist, right-wing settlers who are fanatical, Bible-believing cultists who think that Israel has some God-given right to that territory. The settler-kooks — indeed, one of their past leaders was named Rabbi Kook — are supported by ultra-hardliners in Israel’s security establishment, who see the West Bank as strategic depth in Israel’s defense posture. What happened after Obama told Israel it had to stop settlements? Nothing. Score: Netanyahu 1, Obama 0.
Next, the Obama adminstration capitulated, refusing to insist on any penalty for Israel’s defiant intransigence. Not even a hint of any retaliation by the United States to enforce what it had called the path to a peace deal. No talk of reducing US aid to Israel, or cutting back on US-Israeli military cooperation, or anything. Score: Netanyahu 2, Obama 0.
Then, while all this was going on, Obama hinted that he might announce, this fall, something like a comprehensive US plan for the Middle East. Everyone knows what a solution looks like: withdrawal by Israel from the West Bank, dismantling of the settlements, an end to the Gaza embargo, the division of Jerusalem, some swapping of land to account for slight changes in borders (especially around the capital), and a formula to account for the Palestinians’ right-of-return, involving financial compensation — plus security arrangements. But months later, Obama has refused to even hint at his own plan for the region, caving in to Israel’s demands that all of that be saved for “negotiations.” Score: Netanyahu 3, Obama 0.
Finally, the United States cravenly supported Israel over the Goldstone Report on Gaza, the report that accused Israel (and Hamas) of war crimes during the December-January conflict there. Score: Netanyahu 4, Obama 0.
Secretary of State Clinton then put the final icing on the rotten cake, praising Netanyahu, an extremist, far-right ultra-nationalist, for his decision to expand, not halt, settlements. Clinton’s blunder, which shocked and stunned Palestinians and Arab leaders, represented the ultimate cave-in to Netanyahu and Co. Final score: Netanyahu 5, Obama 0.
Reports the New York Times today:
“Mrs. Clinton’s visit, which she characterized as a success, sowed anger and confusion among Palestinians and other Arabs after she praised as ‘unprecedented’ the offer by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to slow down, but not stop, construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.”
One of the Palestinians’ most experienced, veteran deal-makers, Nabil Shaath, a Fatah old-timer said of Obama’s collapse:
“There was high expectation when he arrived on the scene. Now there is a total retreat, which has destroyed trust instead of building trust.”
Abbas may or may not reconsider his decision, and of course the elections that are supposed to take place in January are still in limbo over the inability of Fatah and Hamas to strike a deal. But, by refusing to compel Israel to make a real offer to the Palestinians, the United States has once again shafted Palestinian moderates like Abbas, who can’t credibly claim to have won anything for their constituents. In so doing, Obama is fueling the extremists, bomb-makers, and rocket launchers in Hamas, a fundamentalist, Muslim Brotherhood-founded movement that wants no compromise. Heck of a job, Baracky!
Abbas said that he was “surprised” — bitterly angry and really pissed off, is more accurate, I am sure — by Clinton’s comments on Israel’s settlements policy. And Clinton, asked about Abbas’ move, delivered an insouciant fuck-you to Abbas: “We talked about his own political future. I look forward to working with President Abbas in any new capacity.”