“The Diplomacy of Walls”
Israel’s way to impose facts on the Ground to stamp out the Two State Solution

“The Diplomacy of Walls” <br> Israel’s way to impose facts on the Ground to stamp out the Two State Solution
On January 1, 2012, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Israel’s intention to build a security fence along the eastern and northern borders with Jordan and Lebanon respectively after finishing the fence that is being built along the southern borders with Egypt, all of which being constructed under security pretexts and mainly to control infiltration of illegal immigrants. Netanyahu’s statement came during a government session briefing on January 1, 2012, when he declared that Israel will install two security fences, the first one will extend for 240 km along the eastern borders with Jordan with a total cost of $360 million; while the second fence will be installed along the Israeli-Lebanese borders (from al Matalla village to Kafr Killa Lebanese villages) with a total length of 1 km and five meters height.
The Israeli decision to install a security fence along the Jordanian border comes in light of an attempt carried out by Israeli settlers to flee to the eastern side of the Jordan River and erect an outpost on Jordanian territory. Moreover, the decision coincides with a quantum leap in the Arab countries expressing resentment and anger towards the prolonged Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territory and its aggressive and colonial practices against the Palestinian people and their lands, where many popular youth movements in the nearby countries including Jordan called for demonstration towards the Palestinian/Israeli borders to express rejection of the Israeli occupation and its violations.
It is of no doubt that the eastern borders with Jordan constituted a vital and strategic importance in the mind of the Israeli occupation leaders throughout the years of occupation for several strategic considerations, the most important is that its stretches for 240 km from the far north to the southern parts of the eastern strip of the West Bank including the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea shores; making it the longest borders occupied Palestine has with other country. Furthermore, the eastern segregation zone including the Jordan Valley area is heaving with Israeli settlements, military bases and military trainings sites, next to the fact that the eastern zone is rich with natural resources. .
The Eastern Segregation Zone … Facts and Numbers
Right from the time Israel occupied the Palestinian Territory (the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip) in June 1967, Israel drew systematic long-term colonial plans for the occupied territory; particularly for the eastern Segregation Zone, which the Israeli declared most of following the 1967 occupation as closed military area since that time to this date. Israel intended from its policy to maintain ground domination over this important area due to its strategic military importance from one side, and to impose facts on the ground, to dominate the land with the natural resources in it.
Throughout 45 years of military occupation of the Palestinian Territory, the Eastern Segregation Zone had been subjected to methodic Israeli plans and practices where vast areas of lands were declared “closed military zone” at 51.4% of the total area of the Eastern Segregation Zone (1664 km2) and are of no access to Palestinians living in the area. Other substantial areas were utilized by the successive Israeli Governments to build illegal Israeli settlements which today spread from “Mekhola” settlement at the far north end of the eastern zone until “Mitzpe Shalim” settlement at the far south side along the western shores of the Dead Sea.

Moreover, the successive Israeli governments encouraged the Israeli settlers to live in the Jordan Valley settlements by granting them privileges such as financial incentives and various tax exemptions; More than that, the Israeli occupation authorities encouraged them to cultivate the agriculture lands adjacent to their settlements in attempt to de facto capturing these lands and annexing them to the settlements in the area. To date, the area of agriculture lands that were seized by Israeli settlers in the Eastern Segregation Zone is 64,000 dunums – 64 km2 (7.4% of the total area of the agriculture lands in the Eastern Segregation Zone which amounts to “864 km2) and 3.9 % of the total area of the Eastern Zone; meanwhile the Palestinian residents of the area had been deprived from their legitimate right to exploit and cultivate their lands that were forcibly confiscated from them. See Map 1:-

Map 1: The Jewish Agricultural Areas in the JOrdan Valley
Today, there are 37 illegal Israeli settlements in the Eastern Segregation Zone occupying an area of 37,953 dunums (38 km&sup2;) and inhabited by +13,000 Israeli settlers. Furthermore, the Israeli settlers were able to establish with covert assistant from the government 32 settlements’ outposts. The Israeli Army has also organized the confiscation of more of the eastern Segregation Zone lands to construct some 285 km long bypass roads (controlled Israeli roads) to facilitate the movement of Israeli settlers from the Eastern Segregation zone to other settlements in the West Bank Territory  and the Western Segregation Zone and toward Israel. Accordingly, Israel de facto controls 95% of the total area of the Eastern Segregation Zone classified as follows: 9% mined areas, 25% natural reserve, 2.3% settlements, 2.8 % military bases in addition to 51.4 % as closed military zone. See Map 2

Map 2: the eastern and the western Segegation zones
Systematic Eradication & Forced Displacement
In parallel with the Israeli methodic expansion plan in the Eastern Segregation Zone since the year 1967, the successive Israeli governments aimed to squeeze the Palestinians out from lands that constituted an interest to their plans and they moved about it by targeting the Palestinian communities and declaring vast areas of lands as “closed military zones” with the aim at strangulating these communities and tightening the grip on Palestinian residents by restricting the urban and economic development there. These policies constituted an obstacle to the growth of Palestinian communities in the eastern segregation zone, in fact the policies are instrumented to not allow Palestinian to grow in terms of build-up area or population, and hence, Palestinian communities are prohibited to develop unless a building permit is obtained by the Israeli Civil Administration, which is a rare thing to happen. Indeed, statistics obtained from the Israeli Civil Administration show that between the years 2000 and 2007, the former approved 105 application for a building permit that was 5.5% of the 1890 application submitted to the Israeli Civil Administration during that same period of time. The turn down applications from the Palestinian for building permits were under the pretext of not fulfilling the Israeli criteria to build in the area or simply for requesting building permit in what the Israeli claim to be a no building zone for security reasons; even though settlers are allowed to build within the same area. 
Israel has also made sure to have a solid grip on all the natural resources in the eastern part of the West Bank (the Eastern Segregation Zone), particularly the agricultural lands and water sources (wells and springs) and to this end it forced restricted rules when it comes to water use and constructed artesian wells to divert water resources for the benefit of Israeli settlements in order to squeeze the Palestinians to leave. The Israeli policies to take over lands in the eastern segregation zone came along with what Benjamin Netanyahu (the current Israeli Prime Minister) declared on June 3, 2005 stressing Israel’s unwillingness to give up areas in the eastern segregation zone: The Jordan Valley won’t be included in any of Israel’s withdrawal plans. The Jordan Valley will remain under Israel’s control forever. ‘It is Israel’s eastern defensive shield…We will not go back to the 1967 borders’
Netanyahu reaffirmed his position on the issue when he became Prime Minister of Israel in March 2011, most notably, in his speech addressing the “Israeli Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee” in the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) on March 2, 2010 after he became a Prime minister, and before the US Congress in May 24, 2011. Netanyahu position comes in line with his predecessors’ vision concerning the eastern zone starting with “Alon plan” which was submitted by Yigal Alon, the Israeli defense minister and head of the Israeli Ministerial Committee on settlements that time, who called for redrawing the borders of Israel based on tightening the control over the eastern slopes of the West Bank, from north to south, along with the eastern desert adjacent to the Dead Sea shores (the so called Judean Deseret) and suggested doing so by building of a chain of Israeli settlements at a width of approximately 20 kilometers from the Jordan river to the heart of the West Bank as a first step toward its formal annexation to the state of Israel.
Today, there are +59,000 Palestinian residents living in 43 communities in the Eastern Segregation Zone suffering from extreme conditions of oppression and marginalization, where their legitimate rights to build and expand had been denied by the Israeli occupation authorities as their building permits’ requests are usually rejected under the pretext that their lands are located within areas classified as “closed military zones” or lands controlled by the State of Israel, and accordingly they live in miserable, uncivilized and inhuman circumstances as a result of the Israeli measures imposed on them. In the year 2011, the Israeli Army bulldozers demolished 90 Palestinian residential barracks in addition to many other structures such as animal barns and fodder stores and external facilities. Moreover, the Israeli Occupation authorities handed Palestinian residents of the eastern segregation zone 167 halt of construction and evacuation orders for installations they built in the area under the pretext of lacking building permits. Furthermore, during the year 2011, the Israeli bulldozers targeted and demolished entire Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley such as Khirbet Ras Al-Ahmar, Khirbet Al-Hadidiya, Khirbet Humsa, Al-Aqaba village and Kherbit Tana in an attempt to push them to leave their lands where they lived for dozens of years before the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory in 1967, paving the way for old-new Israeli colonial plans to be implemented in the area.
The Fence with Jordan … Security or Political Considerations?
The alleged pretexts  employed by the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to build the security fence along the eastern borders with Jordan which are based on “security needs’ as to prevent infiltration and secure the borders of Israel, are unjustified pretexts founded by Israel to impose the Israeli vision of colonization and annexation on Palestinians in any future negotiations as a de-facto vision, where the Israeli claim of “security needs” comes always on the expense of Palestinians and their lands, sovereignty, freedom, natural resources and future development, which at the end, will prevent them from establishing a geographically contiguous andindependent Palestinian State.
The Israeli decision to install a security fence along the Jordanian borders is unjustified action and is a unilateral Israeli step towards redrawing the borders of Israel without coordinating with the Palestinian side. This in turn reflects Israel’s unwillingness to reach a just and durable peace agreement with the Palestinians through negotiations instead of imposing facts on the ground. 
It is worth mentioning that the Israeli Government launched its unilateral isolation between Israel and the Palestinian Territory in June 2002 when it started building the Segregation Wall which resulted in dividing the Palestinian Territory into two segregation areas, the first area is the Western Segregation Zone which runs along the western parts of the West Bank from north to south, and penetrates deep inside the Palestinian lands, annexing the most fertile agriculture lands. The wall also encircles Palestinian communities and traps them into enclaves and interrupts the geographical contiguity between them and also with the main urban city centers. While the second segregation area is the Eastern Segregation Zone including the Jordan Valley which extends along the eastern terrains of the occupied West Bank Territory and is controlled by Israel through military controlled checkpoints installed along the 240 Km stretch from north to south and the bypass roads which separate the Eastern Zone from the rest of the West Bank while tightening the grip on all life aspects of the Palestinian residents of this area.
In the year 2004, the late Israeli PM Ariel Sharon was asked about the Eastern Segregation Zone and the Jordan Valley where he simply answered: “the eastern barrier will be maintained by blocking access to the Jordan Valley region,’ … ‘a wall is not likely to be erected in the near future, unless there are military necessities.’ … ‘the Jordan Valley area will remain under Israeli control even after reaching a settlement with the Palestinians as it is considered to be a strategic security zone.’
Israel has always considered the Eastern Zone as its security border which it will not relinquish under any future agreement with the Palestinians and always sought to justify its colonial and expansionist projects in the area as they serve it’s strategic and security goals in an attempt to cover up its illegal expansionist plans that aim at controlling the land and displacing its indigenous residents. To read more about the successive Israeli plans that targeted the Eastern Segregation Wall throughout the years of the Israeli occupation, refer to a previously written report : “The Israeli Policies toward the Jordan Valley” September 14, 2010..
More Serious Dimensions
The Israeli government decision to install a security fence along the Jordanian borders has other dimensions beyond “security” as according to Israel, the Jordan river is considered the international borders of Israel and the “walls diplomacy” adopted by Israel, including the security fence, is part of a strategic Israeli project based on defining the Israeli borders from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, neglecting by that the existence of the Palestinian people and their future state where the eastern borders with Jordan will be the main crossing border for them to the rest of the world. Moreover, the security fence with Jordan is part of an Israeli plan to prepare for the worst scenario that would include the forced displacement of Palestinians to Jordan, a scenario  declared by certain Israeli groups and Israeli political leaders, in several occasions who sees the continued Palestinian existence in the West Bank as a continuous threat to the Jewish existence and state.
To Conclude
It seems that the Israeli rightwing extremist government headed by Netanyahu is trying to forget that Israel was and still an occupying power under the international law rules and conventions and the international legitimacy such as the United Nation Security Council Resolution 242 issued in November 22,1967 which provided that : Israel must withdraw from all the territories it occupied in June 4, 1967 and to respect the unity and the sovereignty of all of the countries in the region with their rights to live in peace under secured recognized boundaries without threatening of using of force.
The apathy of the international community to what Israel did and is still doing in the occupied Palestinian territory and the lack of the international community well to take tangible action to put an end to what Israel has gotten used to during its continuous years of occupation: to impose facts on the ground and carryout unilateral actions did if anything encourage Israel to carry on its path disregarding the international law. The thought that has been building up for decades in the minds of the Israeli leaders over the past 45 years of occupation that peace and security maybe achieved by building walls and fences at a time when they should  be moving forward with serious peace negotiations with the Palestinians to reach a just and lasting peace agreement based on two- state solution on 1967 borders.

[1]  The Eastern Segregation zone constitutes 27% of the total West Bank area
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Categories: Separation Plans