After reading this headline, my eyeballs popped out of my head and rolled around on the floor.
Even though the two countries have not successfully negotiated a path for a border, Israel has gone ahead and built a “security wall” between itself and Palestine, with that wall frequently dipping deeply into Palestinian territory. Now the World Bank is talking about loaning money to the Palestinians to build checkpoints into this illegal security wall.
In other words, Israel has built a prison around Palestine, and now plans to bill them for the cost of the doors.
A World Bank lackey explains that paying for the checkpoints is in the Palestinians’ best interests, because “the project helps enhance the efficiency of the border crossings for the benefit of Palestinians”. This is bullshit.
Palestine is already criss-crossed by roads that only Israelis are allowed to use, which ends up carving the land into segregated pockets. There are also many checkpoints, controlled by Israeli soldiers, which Palestinians must go through to get from one part of their quasi-nation to another. All of this is allegedly to defend the Israeli people from Palestinian terror attacks, but that does not seem to be the case.
My friend Garrick Ruiz visited Palestine as part of the International Solidarity Movement a few years back, and I interviewed him about his experiences. He talked about the checkpoint issues (here, about 40 minutes into Part 2), and explained that many of the checkpoints a) were unmanned at night, b) were abandonded for days at a time, c) did not actually search people or cars, and d) seemed to operate in a random fashion, totally based upon the whims of the soldiers manning them. People can sneak across the unmanned checkpoints, but will wait for hours or even days to get through a manned checkpoint, because the soldiers there will allow or block passage as they please. Robert Fisk tells a similar story here, where he is forced to wait for hours at an Israeli checkpoint for no apparent reason, at which point he backs up and finds a side road that bypasses the checkpoint and gets him back on the main road inside of 10 minutes.
The only conclusions can be that Israeli security is massively negligent, or that these checkpoints are not intended to protect anybody from anything. In the interview, Garrick argues that the purpose of the checkpoints seems to be to make Palestinians so miserable that maybe they’ll move away.
Given the nature of the existing checkpoints, the idea that Palestinians should go into debt to buy some more “for their own benefit” is pretty fucking insulting.
It’s also interesting that I can’t find anyone in the article calling for this loan and this project who’s actually a Palestinian. It sounds like the World Bank, Washington, and Israel are drawing up all the plans and are going to notify the Palestinians when they’re all done.
Or maybe they’ll just start the construction and the Palestinians will just get a bill in the mail.
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