Guardian

Harriet Sherwood legitimizes characterization of Israel’s border fences as ‘sign of weakness’


Cross posted by Anne, who blogs at Anne’s Opinions

Harriet Sherwood, the Guardian’s official Jerusalem correspondent, has produced a strange article which both sneers at and condemns Israel’s border fences on ALL its borders (not just the West Bank), citing “critics who call it a sign of weakness” and yet brings no evidence that her point is valid besides the opinion of one Israeli op-ed writer from Ynet.

The article is accompanied by a graphic (below) of Israel’s borders, captioned “Israel’s barriers”.  Besides the slanted headline, the graphic actually emphasizes Israel’s vulnerability, especially when taken together with the smaller inset picture beside it, showing Israel’s tiny size in relation to the rest of the vast Middle East.

And now let us analyse the “facts” as seen by Sherwood and her “critics” (as I pointed out above, in fact one only critic):

It cuts a steel swath through the stark wilderness where Israel and Egypt meet, glinting in the desert sun as it snakes across barren hills and sandy plateaus. Wielding blowtorches at the base of the five-metre-high (16ft) barrier are some of the very men the border fence is in part designed to keep out: illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, now working as cheap construction labour for Israeli contractors.

So Sherwood objects to Israel employing illegal immigrants. I wonder how she would react if Israel refused these immigrants any employment at all.

Israel’s newest frontier fence is being erected at high-speed along the 150-mile boundary between the Sinai and Negev deserts. Its construction, due to be completed by the end of this year, was accelerated after last summer’s cross-border attack in which eight Israelis were killed, and amid rising alarm about the number of refugees crossing into the Jewish state.

Once it is finished, Israel will be almost completely enclosed by steel, barbed wire and concrete, leaving only the southern border with Jordan between the Dead and Red Seas without a physical barrier. That, too, may be fenced in the future.

The government says fences along its actual and claimed borders are necessary as deterrents against terrorism and illegal infiltration. Regional upheavals over the past year – particularly in Egypt and Syria – have added to Israel’s sense of being, in Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s old phrase, a “villa in the jungle”.

But in a scathing commentary in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, respected defence analyst Alex Fishman recently wrote: “We have become a nation that imprisons itself behind fences, which huddles terrified behind defensive shields.” It was, he said, a “national mental illness”.

This is where Sherwood’s prejudices shine through. In her words, the Israeli government “claims” – always the sneering dismissive tone when quoting Israeli officials. But all credibility is given to one obscure reporter. Do we really need to care that deeply what one commentator in one Israeli newspaper has to say?  Does Mr. Fishman address himself to the reality in which his own country finds itself – surrounded on all sides by hostile nations and terrorist entities, all sworn to eliminate Israel, and who have attempted to do so multiple times. How about talking to the families of the victims of those terrorist attacks that took place at that very border spot precisely because there was no border fence in place.

The latest stretch, along what the Israeli military calls the new “hot border” with Egypt, from the Red Sea almost to the Mediterranean, consists of latticed steel, topped and edged with razor wire, extending at least two metres below ground and in some sections reaching seven metres above ground. Ditches and observation posts with cameras and antennae will line the route.

An electronic pulse will run through the fence, setting off an alarm on contact that will allow the Israeli army to locate the exact spot of attempted infiltration. On the Israeli side, a sandy tracking path will show the footprints of interlopers, and an asphalt military patrol road will give unhindered access to army units.

I’m delighted to hear how well-armed the new border fence will be. It’s about time.

[…]

The smuggling of immigrants was a major factor in the decision to build the fence. According to Lieutenant Colonel Yoav Tilan of the Israeli Defence Forces, 16,000 people – originating mainly from Eritrea and Sudan – crossed the border illegally in 2011 in “an industry of crime”. But the “constant, daily threat” of terrorism and the smuggling of drugs are also important factors, he said.

I cannot see why there would be anything for either Sherwood or Fishman to object to. Every other country in similar geo-political circumstances constructs similar border fences. I would refer you to the US-Mexico border fence; the Saudi-Yemen border barrier; the Bangladesh-India border; the Chinese-N. Korea border, and of course how could we forget the Egypt-Gaza border?

About seven miles short of the Mediterranean, the southern barrier will meet the fence Israel has built around Gaza. It runs for 32 miles, with a buffer zone, which Palestinians are forbidden from entering, extending up to 1,000 metres inside the narrow Gaza Strip, swallowing prime agricultural land. The fence has kept Palestinians inside Gaza but has not stopped rockets being fired by militants into Israel, nor did it prevent the cross-border kidnap of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.

The failure of the border to stop rockets from being fired or the kidnapping of Shalit is not a reason to take down the border fence. On the contrary, it is a prime motivator to strengthen the border.

As to Sherwood’s snide little reference to the border fence swallowing prime agricultural land, I cannot testify as to the quality of the land, but since the Palestinians were handed Gaza on a plate, with all its greenhouses and farms intact, and these were destroyed the very next day by the activists terrorists of Hamas, they obviously do not care very much for agriculture.

At the northern end of the country, a fence built in the 1970s along the boundary with Lebanon was reconstructed, and in some places its route adjusted, after Israel withdrew its forces in 2000 following a 22-year occupation. It did not prevent the killing of five Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants in a cross-border ambush in 2006, nor the firing of thousands of rockets during the ensuing 34-day war.

Once again, the fact that the border fence did not prevent either missiles or a kidnapping is not a reason for its dismantling but for its strengthening.

Last month, Israel confirmed plans to replace the fence with a five-metre-high wall for half-a-mile stretch around the town of Metula, which is situated on a finger of Israeli territory and surrounded by Lebanon on three sides. Just a few hundred metres from Metula’s supermarket, civilian traffic and UN armoured cars travel along a Lebanese road. According to Fishman, the new wall is intended to deter anti-tank missiles and sniper fire, but locals also speak of a flourishing drug-smuggling trade along this stretch of the border.

Excellent! I’m all in favour of a stronger border fence.

Further east, an Israeli fence sits on the ceasefire line drawn at the end of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, running between the Golan Heights, which Israel has occupied for almost 45 years, and Syria. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian demonstrators breached the fence last May, in the Golan and along the Lebanese border. Around a dozen people were killed and scores injured when the IDF opened fire.

Sherwood is referring to the “Naqsa Day” border breaches, and with a little research she would discover that the “pro-Palestinian demonstrators” were no such thing at all; rather, they were in it for a quick buck, since they themselves revealed that they were paid by Syria and Hezbollah to invade Israel’s borders.

Sherwood continues with her whine about Israel’s dastardly borders, always sitting on prime agricultural or fertile land until she comes to her main gripe: the Separation Wall.

Around a third of the way down this stretch, the fence abuts the infamous huge steel-and-concrete West Bank barrier. This runs along or inside the 1949 armistice line, or Green Line, swallowing up tracts of Palestinian agricultural land, slicing through communities and separating farmers from their fields and olive trees. Israel says the barrier is a security measure that has deterred suicide bombers, but many believe it marks the boundaries of a future Palestinian state, taking around 12% of the West Bank on to the Israeli side. About two-thirds of its 465-mile length is complete, mostly as a steel fence with wide exclusion zones on either side.

Around 10%, mainly in urban areas, is a bleak, imposing eight-metre-high concrete wall.

Either it is a huge concrete and steel barrier or it is a steel fence. She really ought to make up her mind, and I can help her along with that.

Sherwood:

The international court of justice ruled the barrier illegal under international law in 2004.

However, the ICJ’s ruling  is non-binding, and, as the dissenting American Judge Buergenthal wrote in his statement:

[…] I am compelled to vote against the Court’s findings on the merits because
the Court did not have before it the requisite factual basis for its sweeping
findings; it should therefore have declined to hear the case

In other words, the ICJ heard a case put before it without all the relevant information. Some balanced justice!

Harriet Sherwood continues citing Alex Fishman:

[…Israel’s only open border, through the Arava desert from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea resort of Eilat, may be fenced in the future, according to Fishman.

“The moment the border with Egypt is sealed off, the drug dealers, human traffickers and terrorists will take a longer route, go through Sinai into Jordan, and from there infiltrate Israel. The defence ministry and the IDF are already planning to… erect a fence in the Arava too, along the border with Jordan,” he wrote. Then Israel “will have finished our disengagement from the Middle East”.

Does Fishman really want these terrorists, drug smugglers and human traffickers entering Israel freely?

Sherwood: 

Israel is not alone in erecting barriers: fences exist or are being built or are planned along other countries’ borders, mostly to counter illegal immigration and drug smuggling. But even the most heavily militarised borders fail to completely stop terrorism, smuggling and people determined to reach a better life.

And yet no one calls for their dismantling or ridicules their existence.

Sherwood:

[…]

But, the IDF admits, the barrier is not infallible. In the expectation that smugglers and militants will dig tunnels, cut steel and seek alternative routes, the fence is reinforced with armed patrols, surveillance, intelligence-gathering and trackers.

According to Fishman, all this is symptomatic of the Israeli psyche. Every fence and wall, he told the Guardian, was built for a valid reason. “Every decision was the right decision for its moment. But it’s like pieces of a puzzle – you don’t know what will be the picture at the end, but then when you see the whole picture, it shocks you.

He’s correct there. The picture is certainly shocking when you realise that most of Israel’s immediate neighbours are either in a permanent state of war with it, or are encouraging and sponsoring terrorist proxies.

The last word goes to Alex Fishman who concludes:

“We have become a nation that is burying itself behind walls, behind fences. It shows we are going much more towards isolation. Mine is a very patriotic standpoint – and my disappointment comes from this patriotic standpoint. A fence is a kind of weakness. I’m not a psychiatrist but it shows something of the mentality of a nation.”

No Mr. Fishman. We have become a nation buried behind walls because of the seemingly immutable hatred of Israel possessed by our neighbours. I do believe you are patriotic but also seem incapable of recognizing even the most intuitive regional political realities – determined to see things not as they are but as you want them to be. 

71 replies »

  1. WRT to the fence, two thoughts:

    1) Many countries have fences – for example, the USA – and some do not need them – for example, the UK – since they are surrounded by water. But only Israel has some kind of phobia apparent to the skilled observer because it builds a fence to keep out terrorists and refugees transported to its borders from Egypt

    2) We’ve heard for a long time that if Israel would only build the separation barrier on the Green Line, which someone has decided is its border, there would be no issue with the barrier. But when Israel builds a much needed security fence on its border with Egypt, this apparently is also not acceptable.

    So the conclusion is, of course, as we all know, that the issue of the separation barrier is simply another way of trying to delegitimize Israel and for the likes of the Guardian and a few Israelis too smart for their own good building any fence at all, even along an agreed international border, is an affront.

    • I don’t think there are any serious objections to the Israeli regime building whatever it wants in Israel. But, of course, when it builds a barrier in Palestine which winds its way around illegal settlements, it’s not hard to see that it’s about land, not security.

      Especially since the barrier is actually quite porous. There are numerous unguarded gaps in it, through which people can and do walk every week.

      Israel delegitimses itself by attempting to expand its borders. The pre-67 conquest is a done deal, but the international community is not prepared to accept the post 67 conquest.

      • There is no “Israeli regime.” There is an Israeli government. By calling it a regime dubitante exposes his true goal of destroying all of Israel. So any comment he might have with respect to security measures Israel takes are from the mouth of a person who seeks to destroy the only Jewish state on earth. That makes him an antisemite. So no observation he offers can have any bearing on any rational discussion.

        • Tel Aviv is not Israel. The Palestinians can build whatever they want there.

          Paris is not France, the British can build whatever they want there.

          Not very convincing is it? That the best you got?

          • “Tel Aviv is not Israel. The Palestinians can build whatever they want there.”
            First of all, that’s exactly what the Palestinians think so that argument proves pretty much nothing other than Palestinian hypocrisy.
            Second, Israel is a sovereign state and a member of the UN. Palestine is not. Thus, Tel Aviv is Israeli land, the West Bank is not Palestinian land.
            Third, the West Bank has never been owned by the Palestinian nation.

          • ‘Tel Aviv is not Israel.’

            ?

            So, presumably, in your imagination it is ‘Palestine’?

            Carry on in your delusion, please. It won’t make any difference.

      • ‘I don’t think there are any serious objections to the Israeli regime building whatever it wants in Israel. ‘

        Except you continually say Israel shouldn’t have been built in the first place.

  2. There are no fewer than ninety nine ‘Peace Walls’ in Northern Ireland, mainly in Belfast. Most people on both sides of the religious divide agree that these walls make life safer for people on either side of them. That is the practical reality. Has the Guardian ever called them ‘illegal’ and demanded they be demolished?
    Saudi Arabia is building, or already has ccompleted, a barrier/fence using German contractors along its entire border with Iraq to keep out the very same sorts of intruders Israel is trying to keep out. The Guardian may not be entirely comfortable about Saudi Arabia but again I don’t remember it saying anything about this fence.
    However, the Guardian seems to disapprove of the attemps by the USA to build a border fence along the US-Mexican border despite very obvious problems caused by this easily crossed frontier. So obviously for the Guardian there must be different categories of border fences: it just depends where they are and who builds them.

    • The UK Guardian supports anarchy in all ‘evil capitalist’ countries. It tries to keep alive the OWS movement hoping that it will ‘collapse’ capitalism and persuade a gullible electorate that only (rampant) Socialism will save them from ‘evil rich capitalists fiends’.

      It is so enthralled with its own dogma that is drunk on fantasies which have been proved wrong time after time.

      • Using your logic i can say the Barrier doesnt extend into the PA.

        the walls are in Ireland, or rather, the British occupied part of Ireland.

        • Northern Ireland is recognised at part of the UK. The land beyond the Green Line is recognised as Palestinian land, not part of Israel.

          You and I are not the arbiters of whether Northern Ireland is British territory, or whether the settlements in Palestine are Israeli territory.

          • “Palestinian land” eh?

            Who exactly are the Palestinians?

            Even their own leadership admits that they are an invention to tug at the heartstrings of idiots like you and to undermine the Jewish state.

            Get real for heaven’s sake! You are living proof that hearing a statement often enough, no matter how far-fetched and riddled with falsehoods it may be, is enough to get it accepted by mindless idiots who cannot think at all, let alone think for themselves.

            • “Who exactly are the Palestinians?”

              Oy.

              These are human beings you’re talking about. Denying they actually exist is one of the worst forms of dehumanisation.

              Call them Palestinians, call them Palestinian Arabs, call them the indigenous Arabs of Palestine, call them Martians if you need too. It in no way, shape or form diminishes the fact that the land is theirs. And in spite of all your nationalistic hatred, you cannot wish them away.

              • ‘It in no way, shape or form diminishes the fact that the land is theirs.’

                The Jews concerned disagree. They cannot be wished away, either.

                  • ‘Unfortunately, the territorial aspirations of religious groups doesn’t get to overrule international law.’

                    Then that goes too for Palestinian and other Arab Muslims and Christians.

                    • Hear hear, maryoc

                      “Palestinians” are Jordanians who wore out their welcome in Jordan when they behaved like the charmers they are.

                      Israel is not and will never be the Muslim state the “Palestinians”want. That the “Palestinians” cannot accept this, and tell lies, manipulate their useful idiots around the world and generally behave like three years olds in a strop (albeit very dangerous three year olds) does not detract from that.

                  • Religious groups?
                    I understand that your idea regarding the right of self determination is that a halfwit Jew-hater of your kind can define what is jewishness. You dubi remind me of Goering who must be one of your fellow travellers saying that he is who decides who is a Jew and who isn’t. A matching spiritual ancestor….

          • Oh dear, Dubi. Gerald has beaten you at your own game by quoting sources at you to prove you are a complete hypocrite. Thanks Gerald for taking the time to do that research.

            • It’s worth noting that the whole of Israel is “built” on land that was promised for Arab independence. British imperialism at its finest.

              Like I said. Belfast is very much in the UK. The land beyond the Green Line is not in Israel. Indisputable I’m afraid.

              • Wrong on both points.
                The historical records are very clear and clearly expose the myth that the land of Israel was promised to the Arabs, clearly a lie propagated by those who have an agenda that is opposed not only to the continued existence of Israel but also opposed to the truth.

                “Belfast is very much in the UK.”
                That is such a farcical statement that I’m considering suing you for damages caused when I fell out of the chair laughing at it.

                • The historical records are very clear and clearly expose the myth that the land of Israel was promised to the Arabs

                  Except it was – even if the British probably never intended to keep their promise.

                  … clearly a lie propagated by those who have an agenda that is opposed not only to the continued existence of Israel but also opposed to the truth

                  Pathetic.

                  • No pretzelberg.
                    I suggest you look at the historical records yourself, they are available if you visit the National Archives at Kew and look for yourself some are ‘online’ but not all.
                    When you have found this mythical promise I’d be grateful if you can give me the ref. number for the documents in which it is made as I’ve been there on several occasions over the years and never found it. Indeed to the contrary there is a record of a meeting at which the Arab leadership were challenged to provide evidence of such a promise and they dropped the claim.
                    Although it is raised now and again by those to whom the truth is inconvenient, now that is pathetic.

                • UK National Archives, CAB 24/282, CP 19 (39) (Arabic)

                  Here is the map I photocopied, drawn up by the British Foreign Office denoting the areas pledged for Arab independence:

                  http://twitpic.com/5ypyai

                  You will notice that Palestine was included.

                  And in the declassified minutes of a meeting of the British Cabinet Eastern Committee (UK Archives PRO. CAB 27/24) we have:

                  “The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future”

                  Owned.

                  • If you must cite documents from the National Archives can you make sure you give the correct reference and the date and context would be useful.
                    For example, (UK Archives PRO. CAB 27/24) I suspect is taken from the book you never go far without by Victor Kattan. I think you will also find that when you get the correct reference it relates not to discussions at the time but to later discussions at the time of the notorious 1930s White Paper.

                    • Unfortunately not. The citation in question is from a meeting which took place on 5th December, 1918. The person speaking was Lord Curzon. Amongst the other attendees were Lawrence and Balfour.

                  • Up to 1967, Britain said the West Bank was Jordan, and for a good time after. You claim to be British and to promote the British view point, but your choice of facts is highly selective.

                    Never mind the antisemitism of your record of invention or distortion of ‘facts’ of Zionist history, as you were shown up for several weeks ago.

              • ‘It’s worth noting that the whole of Israel is “built” on land that was promised for Arab independence.’

                So they made a double promise, so what?

                Ultimately partition tried to reconcile that promise, given Palestinian and other Arab Muslim and Christian utter hostility to Jews’ living in the land in other than the tiny numbers historical imperial Christian and Islamic apartheid decreed.

                So what?

          • ‘Northern Ireland is recognised at part of the UK. The land beyond the Green Line is recognised as Palestinian land, not part of Israel.’

            Or Jordanian land, as only Britain and Pakistan recognised.

            In 1967, neither Palestinians nor Arabs recognises that Israeli land was Israel. That in no small part why Israel conquered that land a priore. It was only by conquering it she compelled any legal recognition of her by her enemies, at all.

            By 1988, the clock couldn’t go back to 1947 or 1967. All developments consequent had to be negotiated.

            There is not an iota of recognition of the complexity of the issue in all the laughable simplisticism of your posts.

            You claim to recognise international law, while saying Israel shouldn’t have been born, and think we won’t notice.

            Idiot.

      • “But the walls are in the UK. They do not extend into the RoI.”

        At the time the ‘peace walls’ were built in Belfast, and other parts of Ulster, they were built on land considered by the Republic of Ireland to be theirs.
        The Constitution of the Republic was changed, after a referendum in the Republic, to assist the Good Friday Agreement.
        Until the change in 1999 the Irish constitution was clear,
        “Article 2
        The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.”

        The ‘peace walls’ were built on land that was claimed by the Irish Republic as their sovereign territory. They did not extend into the RoI they were built on land that belonged to the RoI under their constitution.
        Unless of course you support the colonialist claims of sovereignty over a part pf the island of Ireland.

        • I’m about to live on that border. British imperialism has left scars across the world. The border between Northern Ireland and the RoI is one of those scars.

          The borders in the Middle East represent many more.

          The fact remains that Northern Ireland is part of the UK. The land beyond the green line is not part of Israel. Our opinions on the matter won’t change that.

          • Why am I not surprised that you don’t understand the difference between imperialism and colonialism.

            “The fact remains that Northern Ireland is part of the UK.”
            Really?
            Remind me, how exactly did the ‘UK’ acquire the six counties that form part of the province of Ireland known as Ulster?

          • “I’m about to live on that border.”
            Do my eyes deceive me.
            Can this be true that you the paragon of International Law is going to live in an English Settlement on stolen Irish land and become a ‘Settler’?

          • So now we know Northern Ireland ISN’T occupied and the West bank IS. This is apparently a “fact”, not an opinion. Got it.

  3. We need a fence to fence in this idiotic woman,each article of hers is worse than the other………

  4. Sherwood is not a journalist . She has deep and disturbing attitudes towards Israel and Jews in general . Her journalism , such as it is , is merely a cover to espouse her malign views . A serious journalist, with an interest in understanding the complexities of the Israel Palestine conflict would research the history and write in a balance nuanced fashion . The Context of Israels actions are all important .
    Sherwood employs nothing of the sort . Her articles are a one sided diatribe aimed at undermining and delegitimizing Israel at every opportunity . This takes her outside the realms of serious journalism and into the arms of similar polemicists who feed off her hate filled articles in order to propagate and reaffirm their own pathological hatred .
    It becomes a veritable feeding frenzy of anti Israel rhetoric . This wretched woman is not a journalist . She is simply a middle man between the keyboard warriors and those who end up being radicalized sufficiently to cause actual physical harm .
    Well done to CIF Watch for constantly exposing this contemporary antisemitic phenomenon .

  5. Anne,

    “Excellent! I’m all in favour of a stronger border fence (around Metula)..”

    Well, I’m not.

    It’s gonna kill the view and Metula is actualy very safe compared to Manara, Misgav Am and Yiftah.

    The villages around Metula are generaly Christian.
    Further south west it becomes very Shiite such as Bint Jibal.

    So much so that an Israeli para glider from Manara a few years back hit an easterly wind and was pulled back west into Lebanon.

    With in seconds the chase was up and villagers (possibly hizbulla volunteers) were chasing to take hold of him.

    If it wasn’t for the quick action by the IDF whitnessing this he would have been caught up and taken into Lebanon just like the Israeli Arab who was diving in Naharya and got pulled up north of Rosh Hanikra by the current.

    This Arab was returned yesterday to his family after 6 months in Lebanese prison.

    One would think Miss sherwood would have a seperate article about him.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4209412,00.html

    • I wonder what exactly he was supposed to have been spying on – the shape and consistency of the pebbles covering the seafloor? The latest fashions on the beaches of Naqoura?

  6. Of course Ms Sherwood is not going to ask why refugees from African warzones like Sudan are seeking asylum in Israel, as opposed to any of the Arab countries.

  7. Anyone who has read many individual Judge’s opinions at the ICJ will instantly recognise Judge Buergenthal’s dissent as decidedly sheepish. The advisory on the wall was notoriously uncontroversial. It’s a trivial piece of law.

    Even matters which you would think were quite simple, like the illegality of using nuclear weapons were much more controversial.

    To avoid committing judicial suicide, or at the very least being laughed at, judge Buergenthal had to write:

    “My negative votes with regard to the remaining items of the dispositif should not be seen as reflecting my view that the construction of the wall by lsrael on the Occupied Palestinian Territory does not raise serious questions as a matter of international law. I believe it does, and there is much in the Opinion with which I agree.”

    • So you’re a lawyer now are you?

      As if anything you could argue could be credible at all after some of the rubbish ideas you express here.

        • Perhaps for the same reason you weren’t? Perhaps Cif Watch gets some sort of buzz from you pissing on its carpet and yet believes that my arguments are at least half-way sound?

          Seriously, you are the operational definition of racism/inverted racism wherein you privilege Palestinian barbarism by not criticising it at all and yet get up on your hind legs to parrot inanities about Israel’s alleged wrongs.

          As if you ever had an original thought about this, much less some good ideas about how to make a Middle East a better place for everyone to live.

          And you call yourself an analyst! You couldn’t analyse the writing on a cereal packet!

  8. The Gaza buffer zone might well be “prime agricultural land”. The problem is that when those words come from Sherwood, I immediately have doubts.

    We have become a nation buried behind walls because of the seemingly immutable hatred of Israel possessed by our neighbours

    True to a certain degree – but the barrier section going way into the West Bank to take in e.g. Ariel is more about grabbing land.

    • No, it’s more about protecting people. You can argue about Ariel itself, but as long as its there, you have to protect its inhabitants.

  9. Sherwood is of the kind of “journalist” that have some Freudian knee-jerk reaction against fences and walls. It’s the whole “wall” phobia again, in it’s most shallow and mindless form.

    Someone should count how many articles were written in the Guard on fences. They seem to offend the Guard’s delicate sensibility (or aesthetics? she seems to comment on the fences’ appearance quite a bit). How ghastly- a physical obstruction to keep people from crossing. why not we all prance along hand-in-hand in the dewy meadow instead, and peace for all man kind? I mean, really, since when is a freaking BORDER a topic for an article?!

    What’s next? Why do soldiers carry guns?

  10. Pretzelburg
    The usual guff about the security fence being a land grab . As I’ve said ad infinitum . If a land grab as you suggest , it would have been built right up to the Jordanian borders thus encompassing all of the West Bank . Instead it more or less follows the 67 armistice lines . Where it doesn’t , it’s for logistical reasons and even then there are challenges usually upheld by the Israel Supreme Court .
    Frankly , I don’t understand the need for such Civil behaviour on the part of Israel given the need for a fence in the first place was the Palestinian propensity to immolate themselves among Israels civilian population killing and maiming thousands in the process .
    You reap what you sow . Palestine is no different in this respect .

    • Instead it more or less follows the 67 armistice lines . Where it doesn’t , it’s for logistical reasons

      Oh, please. Ariel was not founded on logistical grounds, as it?

  11. Harvey, but Palestinians are different from civilised societies in that they deeply believe that they are entitled to perpetrate gross and murderous outrages against their neighbours and never, ever be put into the position of having to answer for the murders, the bombings of Israelis or the abuse of their own children. Far from expressing any shame or regret, these scum actually are proud enough of their murderous ways to praise the perpetrators of them in public, name streets after them, and mess with the heads of their own little children so as to “encourage” them to want to be like them.

    And chicken-brain Sherwood colludes with such a warped world view and reinforces it.

    I really do look forward to witnessing the Guardian, and the Palestinian perpetrators of terror and their fellow travellers who kill Jews for sport reaping what they have sowed. May it be in my lifetime.

      • Well, it’s nice of you to cut off the previous statement before the point where he provided SPECIFIC examples of how Palestinian society handles things in a manner that, honestly, is not civilized. If you want to produce a post of more than two insults (oops, I meant sentences) explaining how Palestinian society is or isn’t more civilized than other nations’, feel free. It’s just not very nice to Harriet Sherwood your way through these arguments, and since you spend most of your time doing that, it’s odd that you don’t care that it kills your credibility.

      • And yet “trademark” Jew-hatred and anti-Jewish libel of the type you support is OK?

        You really are a one-eyed hypocrite, aren’t you?

    • Well that is the whole point of Sherwoods article

      The timing of her article has been plannned to coincide with the “global march
      to Jerusalem”. The fence will be a terrible inconvenience and hinderance.to the descending hordes from over the border

  12. Hello Gerald

    If you look at the McMahn agreement (1915) a possible interpretation is that Palestine was offered to the people in exchange for helping the Brits to overthrow the Turks. It was ambiguous in that – in broad terms- it promised that all land occupied by Arabs, as opposed to the Turks, would be returned to Arab rule.

    This conflicted with the Balfour Declaration – in fact, as we know, the land was mandated to Britain.

    Britain denied the promise – the land which is now Israel/Palestine was not occupied only by Arabs as the Ottomans allowed people of mixed lineage and religion to live there.

    These ‘promises’ were a common enough feature of the B Empire. They promised the Burmese Muslims an autonomous region in exchange for help with driving out the Japanese in WW2. The Muslims did their bit – the Brits reneged.

    Empire building is a murky business – like much of geopolitics.

    • Leni lets nail the lie about McMahon.
      A meeting was held at 10 Downing St. on Tuesday Sept. 23rd 1919 among those in attendance were Prime minister Lloyd George, Foreign Secretary Lord Curzon, Leader of the Commons Bonar Law M.P., and Field Marshall Lord Allenby on the British side on the Arab side, Emir Feisal, Brig. General Haddad Pasha and his political adviser.

      The Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, had written to Sir Henry McMahon about the alleged Treaty claimed by the Arabs, Sir Henry replied ” I have read alleged Treaty with amazement; it bears no resemblance to the original document.”
      Lord Curzon then goes on to say how after this reply he examined every letter and document that had passed between Britain and Hussein and Feisal, and this is his statement.
      “He found that the alleged Treaty was almost identical with an enclosure sent in a letter from King Hussein to the High Commissioner in August 1918, which was King Hussein’s own version of various agreements concluded between himself and H.M. Government.”

      The above are from Online Document 23/44B Date 1919, DocumentsOnline (Cabinet Office Papers)