Day Six: Turning the West Bank into a “Pastrami Sandwich” and packing all Palestinians into “Three Sausages”
Our bus took us through the winding/narrow alleyways in the East Jerusalem to the City of Ramallah after passing by Qalandia, one of notorious IDF checkpoints, where the large signboard declares: the Israeli Jews should not get into the West Bank.
We planned to stay in the West Bank for three days visiting the small village called Bilin, Cities of Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem, and Hebron.
For two nights, our tour group have stayed with the Palestinian family and camped one night in a bivouac at“the Tent of Nations”.
The first night, we were divided into several units and quartered in Arab farmers home where we were feasted with a classic Arab dinner surrounded by family members and neighboring residents. And we listened, observed, and shared with them about their difficulties, obstacles, suppressions, and de-humanized lives under the Israeli colonial occupation…specifically, I could not help but comparing their lives with the North Koreans…musing which country I would prefer to reside, if I have to choose between the North Korea and the West Bank.
After staying and observing just few days in the Palestine, I, positively, undoubtedly, and assuredly, would rather to choose to live in the sovereign North Korea than the Palestinian land under the Israeli occupation…
During my tour in the North Korea two years ago, I had experienced, as a Westernized South Korean, the humongous gap in the daily life between North and South Korea…and I came to a conclusion that I would not voluntarily reside in the somewhat suffocating ambience in the North…and now I began to physically/mentally realize what colonialism versus sovereignty means to the Arab people in the Palestineand Koreans…and South Koreans have always and constantly been kvetching about the Japanese colonial occupation, comfort women, et al…I mean North Koreans are enjoying much more a happy, healthy and valuable life as a sovereign nation than the Palestinian Arabs under the Israeli occupation.
One could easily come to this conclusion by just looking at the map of the West Bank and Gaza.
As I mentioned earlier, so-called ‘Peace Process’ Oslo Accord (I and II) divided the territory of the West Bank into three zones called Area A, B, and C…and it looks rather like a smashed car windshield when Israeli government encircled the area with the separation walls/iron fences/ Jews-only highways, cutting off the Arab villages/towns/cities into non-contiguous/isolated Bantustans where the IDF keeps hundreds of military checkpoints/flying checkpoints to obstruct/disrupt the flows of people and products everyday.
The West Bank has no access to the world…it’s been encircled with all sorts of barriers, army posts, and road blocks…you are required to have an Israeli permit to travel to abroad/Israeli proper/ East Jerusalem and even your neighbors living other zones.
The following web-link shows how Palestinians cross the checkpoint every day (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68soXK-x8Y0) (please link it at Youtube website search engine)
In other words, Palestinian’s daily life has been made intolerable…there is no ‘Palestinian economy’ in the West Bank…the Israeli occupation denies Palestinians basic freedoms of mobility, goods, people, and easy access to East Jerusalem for worship or their farmlands.
Let’s just take the water demand and supply in the West Bank…the World Bank stated that Israelis take four times as much more water as the Palestinians from a vital shared aquifer and you could easily find how big disparity of water usage between Jews and Palestinians…first, when you travel by bus in the occupied West Bank region, you could easily distinguish between the Settler villages and Arab towns by just looking at the rows of Black plastic water tanks on the roofs.
No Settler villages display an ugly-looking water tank on their roofs while the Palestinian houses unanimously show off multiple water tanks on their roofs…that is, Jewish Settlers do not need to install the water tanks on their rooftops because their water supplies are run by 24hours/7days-a-week basis with no stoppage of water flow while the Palestinians are required to accumulate water in their water tank as much as possible for use of flushing toiletry/dish wash/laundry.
Secondly, the Settler village homes equipped with a huge size of swimming pool and lush gardens while Arab family sweat profusely in a room that lacks A/C facilities.
The City of Ramallah has been acted as the de facto capital city of Palestinian Authority (PA), located just 10 miles north of East Jerusalem that was cut off by the separation walls/barbed wire fences/ Jewish Settlement Villages.
Ramallah belongs to the Zone A as other eight cities under the administrative control of the PA…the city remains functional only at the mercy of Israeli authorities like military or civilian systems that provide electric powers, water supply, communication facilities, financial institutions, and other infrastructures.
Even their security apparatus (police) were trained/financed/coordinated with the Israeli counterpart and its chief lives/acts cheek by jowl with his Israeli boss.
President Mahmoud Abbas is being ridiculed as a sub contractor to Israel…his revenues mainly come from Israeli tax collectors, his frequent trips to the Arab Emirates with a hat in hand, and at the whims of the US Government that gives out wad of greenbacks when he licks their imperial boots.
He is no better than Yasser Arafat who ran the PLO for four decades and sold the Oslo Accords as his lastlargesse (?) to the Palestinians.
PA President, Mahmoud Abbas has no infrastructure to run the Palestinian State
Ariel Sharon, the late Israeli Prime Minister/the Butcher of Lebanon, once made a statement that he plan to turn the Palestinian territories into a ‘Pastrami sandwich’…he meant that all of the West Bank territorieswere being separated in non-contiguous cantons by concrete walls/barbed wire fences/Jews-only roads and new Settlement villages that encircle the existing Arab towns.
Sharon established the Jewish Settlements as the ‘pillbox’ in the demographic trench war, as the Settlement villages near East Jerusalem cut the Arab Jerusalemites from their West Bank neighbors and farmlands. He also took the Settlement as the ‘human wall’ to limit Arab population growth by physically confining the demographic threat to compressed spaces that had manifested in the Oslo Accords in the forms of ‘three sausages’ Area A, B, and C.
Area A is under the full control of the PA which comprises of 3% of the West Bank but the IDF frequently invades and arrests their suspects at will with the PA’s wink.
Area B is about 23 % under the PA’s civil control and the joint Israeli/PA security supervisions.
Area C is about 74% under exclusive Israeli civil and security control.
In other words, the Palestinians are packed/canned in three open-air prison camps that are encircled by the separation walls with watch towers/ armed Jewish Settlers/IDF soldiers, and the Area C, the 75% of its territory is still under the exclusive control of the IDF, leaving the Palestinian villages in the region at the mercy of the Israeli colonial occupation forces.
When we traveled from the City of Nablus to Jenin (both cities belong to Area A) cutting through the green/fertile farmlands, I realized why Israeli government still occupy/control the Area C against the Oslo Accord agreement that stipulates it gradually transfer to Palestinian jurisdiction…and there has been a whopping increase of Settler population from 1,000 Settlers living in 1972 to 300,000 by 2012 against 150,000 Palestinian farmers and Bedouins, 5% Arab population in 60% of the West Bank land.
Area C holds most of the West Bank’s natural resources with huge tobacco farms/olive trees/agriculturalland that 99% of the land has been run by the Jewish Settlers.
You’d be out of mind if you envisage the Jewish occupiers give the “El Dorado” back to the occupied Arabs for the benefit of future Palestinian State.
Day Seven: the Jewish Settlements in the mountains of Judea and the valleys of Samaria
One of the thorny/problematic issues in the ‘peace process’ has been the Jewish Settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that the Zionist fundamentalists wanted to live in the collective Jewish culture and values through the Gush Emunim movement (the Block of the Faithful) in the form of homogenous society. The Movement in Israel was such radical/violent that any political leader who dares to go for land-for-peace settlement was termed as Jewish traitor…Yitzhak Rabin, so-called Peace process icon/Israel Prime Minister, was assassinated by a right-wing fanatic who was inspired by Gus Emunim ideology. Ariel Sharon, on the other hand, was a saint patron of the Jewish Settlements that he approved the establishment of the Settlement with the goal of severing the East Jerusalem from the West Bank.
IDF soldiers and Israeli Settlers
The Jewish Settlements in the occupied West Bank and Gaza (before its dismantling in 2005) was a product of the settler colonialism that has existed extensively throughout human history including the ancient era of Hellenistic civilization (Greek settlers found the City-states along the coastal region in the Mediterranean Sea) and Roman Empire (it established the settler colonies in the conquered region of modern day Syria)…in an early modern times, Europeans came/settled into Oceania (Australia) displacing the indigenous people and in Africa they became a ‘White Africans’ as if blacks in N. America became ‘African Americans’.
Zionism, as a colonial-settler ideology, was to emerge in the last quarter of 19th Century (after the Russian pogrom in 1882) in that Theodor Herzel in his ‘Jewish State’ (Bible of Zionism), he calls for the return to Palestine the only solution to the Jewish question.
In the beginning, Zionism did not have a social base in the Palestine so that they had to ally with the European imperial power, especially British Empire that issued the Balfour Declaration promising the Zionist movement the establishment of a national home in Palestine…flooding the region with the Jewish population (50,000) in 1917 toward 700,000 in 1944 (about 33% of population).
There were many similarities between the South African settler colonialism of white Europeans and Israeli Zionists like the dispossession of indigenous population of lands by European and the exploitation of cheap labor…but the important difference is that Zionists confront the indigenous Palestinian Arabs as an obstacle to the establishment for the exclusive ‘Jewish State’ in the region…that is, Arabs are an existential threat to the full-fledged “Jewish State of Israel”.
After massive expulsion (over half million) of Arab population from their home and farmland into the permanent exiles in hundreds of the refugee camps in West Bank/Gaza/Lebanon/Jordan during the 1967 War, the Israeli Government began to build the settlement clusters throughout the occupied regions (Judea and Samaria) as a means to control/watch the indigenous Arab population…like a porcupine hiding in burrows, the settlers live in a fortress walled with high concrete barriers/barbed wire fences-cum-sentry towers, and there is no human contact with their neighboring Arab peasants whatsoever. These Settlements are ready to play a role of machine-gun pillboxes in case of any conflicts that threaten the existence of the Jewish State. In the meantime, the Settlers are enjoying a very much comfortable ambience similar to the Western civilization thanks to the generous contribution of the US taxpayers who give out $3 billion plus military assistance annually for decades with no end in sight…it’s hard to figure out the American psychic that Americans elect the president who doesn’t care much about thousands of Negro kids going to bed with hungry stomach every night while he’s much more concerned about the wellbeing of the Jewish porcupines …especially when he is also a Negro with two Negro kids. (During my last day trip to ‘Yad Vashem’ in Tel Aviv, I found no panhandlers/buskers in the streets…Jews don’t have to beg, but simply volunteer to live in the Settlement and they get paid handsomely, if they don’t mind to remain in a porcupine burrow days and nights.)
For the benefits of the Settlers, the Israeli government built hundreds miles of Jewish-only/wire-fences highways/roads that sever the indigenous Arab population from their neighbors/farmlands/olive trees…Arabs have to negotiate the tunnels/bypass roads/hills daily to engage in their works, kids attending school to bog down in the mud, and infirm/sick without ambulance services…for Arab residents, the Jew-only highways/roads became such a harassment that they went to file a suit in the Israeli Supreme Court petitioning that Arabs have a right to drive in the same road.
And the Court graciously decided that Yes, Arabs have a right to drive in the roads that were designated only for the Jews and Arabs were deeply thanked the Israeli judicial system and immediately drive through the same roads they were prohibited to drive.
The IDF soldiers, all of a sudden, appear in the middle of road and erect a ‘flying checkpoint’ directing the cars with the Arab license plate (White) into the roadside for inspection, while the vehicles with Jews/Israeli Citizens plate (Yellow) wave through without the delay (the White Plate shows the small letter describing where the owner lives).
And the pulled-over cars (Arab Plate) are destined to a lengthy/cumbersome second/third/fourth inspections with no time frame…it takes hours, hours of inspections, interrogations of drivers by the endlessvitriolic and abusive IDF soldiers…making impossible and uncomfortable the local Arabs to drive through the roads…which render for Arabs residents not worth to drive…and voluntarily give up ‘a right to drive’ benefit given by judicious (?) Israeli Supreme Court!
A Flying Checkpoint suddenly appears any moment on the Highway or Street corner in the West Bank
“In Israel, there are three systems of laws…” one of scholars who lives in Israel said. “One is democracy for the 80% of the population. It is democracy for Jews, and you may call it ‘ethnocracy or Judocracy. The second is racial discrimination for 20% of the population, Israeli Arab citizens. The third is Apartheid for the population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
He quipped sarcastically adding that “Right now I would say Israel is a Jewish and democratic state…it is democratic toward Jews and Jewish toward the Arabs.”
We had to pass the Qalandia checkpoint to return to our hotel in East Jerusalem and we got off the bus and joined with dozens of Palestinians in line for entering the passage toward the security clearance x-ray doors.
We were lined along the narrow iron-barred channel that leads to the turnstile which only allows three persons to pass and shut tight until the IDF soldier signals ok to enter again…we were processed like a cow passing through the chute to the abattoir…there were a bunch of teen-aged IDF soldiers squatting on the roving chairs in the office examining documents/barking at us to open up the baggage…we were at the mercy of insolent/abrasive/repugnant/moronic jewboys that knows nothing except Jews are chosen people by their God and we, the Goyim, are lesser people.
I must admit that I reached to a gut reaction to spit on his face if there were no thick glass panel between us…I wondered if I have to pass this fiendish gate every day like the Palestinians…I developed a severe indigestion after dinner at the Hotel and threw up everything that I had at the dinner.
Palestinians caged in for an inspection at Qalandia IDF checkpoint
Mr. Dale Han who’s one of the frequent contributors for The 4th Media is a free-lance journalist living in Canada for four decades since he was exiled from the Military regime of Dictator, Park CH in South Korea in the 70s. He was born, raised, and educated in South Korea and worked as a journalist for the mainstream media in the midst of the turbulent era of 4.19/5.16 revolutionary events. The turning point in his life has arrived at the Z Media Institute workshop in Mass. USA in the 90s when he was tutored by Emeritus Professor Avram Noam Chomsky. Since then, he became a lifetime contrarian, who travels around the world and reports back the real stories that the mainstream media rarely pay any attention about. He has written many articles on the unification issues in the Korean peninsula after his visit to the North Korea in 2012, and the Middle East conflicts have been his focal point in writing the real stories that the establishment media ignores.