The Guardian piece touches on several walls or barriers in various locations throughout the world featured in Crawford’s book, including what Poole refers to as the “so-called separation wall built by Israel”, which, Poole ‘reveals’, “initially tried to get everyone to call it a ‘fence'”.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of the security FENCE does indeed consist of wire FENCE.
A glimmer of light relief is provided by Crawford’s observation of a graffito on the barrier: “Make hummus not walls.” He buys a can of spray paint and contributes his own graffiti: a stencilled recreation of the Sumerian phrase for “no man’s land”. The sociologist Baha Hilo explains to the author the wall’s effect. “This wall doesn’t really separate Palestinians from Israelis, you know,” he says. “Because there are Palestinians and Israelis on one side and Palestinians and Israelis on the other side. But the wall is an obstacle. Is it an obstacle for a Jewish Israeli person? No. A Jewish Israeli doesn’t experience a checkpoint. They greet you, give you a nice wave. That is a checkpoint for them. As a Palestinian it is something else. The wall is an obstacle between Palestinians and Palestinians.” The great Israeli novelist Amos Oz, for his part, has written that it is time for his country to “finally awaken from the hypnosis of the map”.
First, Baha Hilo, a graduate of Birzeit University with a degree in Sociology, is not an academic, but an anti-Israel activist who fancies Che Guevera and appears to reject the legitimacy of a Jewish state within any borders.
Moreover, contrary to his suggestion that Jews don’t face restrictions on their freedom of movement in the West Bank, Israeli Jews are prohibited from crossing into Palestinian cities located in PA-controlled Area A.
But, the biggest deception, beyond that of the comments by the “sociologist” quoted in the book he reviewed, is the failure of Poole to even acknowledge that Israel’s fence was of course designed for one reason, and one reason only: to protect against suicide bombers and other terrorists who used to cross the previously porous ‘border’ in order to murder and maim innocent Israeli civilians during the 2nd Intifada.
The bloody half-decade that followed Palestinian rejection of a peace plan in 2000 – a traumatic era in which Jewish civilians were hunted, targeted, and killed on buses, in restaurants, and at dance clubs – shattered Israeli dreams that peace was forthcoming, simply matter of offering Palestinians statehood. It convinced the country that peace depended less on Israeli compromise and more on a change of mindset among Palestinian leaders who clung to the dream of eliminating the Jewish state. And it underscored for Israelis that the lives of their children depend, if not on an agreement with the Palestinians, then on a unilateral separation coupled with effective security measures.
When Israelis think of the terror wave, they remember the Park Hotel on the Mediterranean coast, where in 2002 a Palestinian entered a dining hall packed with Jews celebrating Passover and murdered 30 civilians, most of them elderly; the massacre of 21 people, a majority of them teenage girls, waiting to enter the Dolphinarium dance club in Tel Aviv; and the ruins of the Sbarro pizzeria, which was packed with children when it was selected as the target of a Palestinian suicide bomber, who killed 15 civilians.
Israel’s security fence represented a rational security measure in reaction to that Palestinian reign of terror – one that media outlets like the Guardian continue to obfuscate.