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Malek Wannous

Bring down the wall that oppresses our people

The Israel War splits Palestinian communities in two [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 February, 2015

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Comment: World leaders last year marked 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communist tyranny. Yet they do nothing to criticise Israel's apartheid wall which oppresses Palestinians.
Last year, many in the western world marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Another wall that separates people from their homeland still exists, and the world ignores it.

On 9 November last year, leaders from across the globe flocked to Berlin to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. They paid tribute to the hundred or so victims who fell trying to reach freedom.

None of these leaders have acknowledged the wall still in existence - the separation wall built by Israel in the West Bank along the 1949 armistice line.

     When innocent people are dying next to the segregation wall in Palestine the world ignores them.

This wall separates Palestinian cities and villages from each other and consolidates their occupation. It runs through Palestinian areas, taking land and water resources.

While the Berlin Wall was a barrier dividing Berlin in two, the Israeli Wall divides the West Bank into three zones, cutting through Palestinian villages and cities, and separating the population from their farms, basic services, and from each other.

Berlin's wall was 96.3 miles, while Israel's wall is 478.4 miles long. Israel's wall is 8m high - almost twice as high as the Berlin wall - and annexes 12.6 percent of the West Bank. It expropriates the most important aquifers and some of the richest agricultural land. The barrier has an on-average 60m wide exclusion area.

Unlike the Berlin Wall, which was constructed by the German Democratic Republic on its own soil, the Israeli Wall is considered illegal according to international law because Israel continues to occupy the West Bank.

The wall is a flagrant infringement of Article 4 of the Fourth General Convention of 1949 which stipulates: "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive."

     Where are the flowers to wipe away the tears of an old man unable to embrace his olive trees because of the wall?

Israel's monstrosity is known as the "apartheid wall" for good reason, - it creates safe societies for Israeli settlers and stops them mixing with the besieged Arabs.

People still flock to the Berlin Wall to pay tribute and lay flowers to those killed trying to cross to the West, and stand on the ruins of the "Soviet brutality".

But what of the Israeli wall? Why isn't anyone flocking to it? Where are the stories, novels and poems?

The world can commemorate the fall of Berlin wall as much as it wants. But at least, let them also pay tribute to the victims of the Apartheid Wall in Palestine.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff

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