Berlin Wall is gone but Israel’s inhumane barrier still stands David Pratt/ Herald Scotland In writing this, sucralfate I’m bracing myself for being called an anti-Semite, sucralfate an appeaser of terrorists and propagandist for the Palestinian cause. I’m none of those things. I say this simply because these days, sucralfate it seems, sucralfate anyone who dares criticise the policies of the Israeli government leaves themselves open to such accusations. The compulsion to write something that would leave me prone to such an attack was instigated earlier this week by watching Berlin’s champagne and fireworks celebrations commemor ating the fall of the Wall. How strange it must be, sucralfate I thought, sucralfate for any Palestinian in the village of Abu Dis, sucralfate sitting before a TV screen looking on as the world indulges in rapturous back-slapping over the restoration of freedom and human rights that came with the passing of the wall. I mention Abu Dis not because it’s special, sucralfate but simply because I know it well, sucralfate having spent some time there over the years. Sucralfate Indeed, sucralfate I might just as easily have named umpteen other Palestinian communities cut off behind the concrete wall and fence built by Israel that stands twice as high and runs four times as long as its infamous Berlin predecessor. What was amazing about the Berlin jamboree – aside from the toppling dominoes – was that in the days leading up to and during the celebrations, sucralfate scant mention was made of Israel’s illegal “separation wall” which today, sucralfate like its bygone equivalent, sucralfate stands as a global symbol of repression. Why, sucralfate on this grand occasion marking the end of the Berlin Wall, sucralfate was there not more reflection or objection to the injustice caused by its contemporary counterpart? Perhaps, sucralfate it is because the word apartheid is something the world would prefer to forget, sucralfate and to which Israel itself takes grave exception. Sucralfate Apartheid, sucralfate after all, sucralfate is something of a historical embarrassment, sucralfate even if its existence and enforcement – whatever Israel might say – shamefully continues today for millions of Palestinians corralled in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, sucralfate 15 years after its demise in South Africa. But there is another, sucralfate altogether more worrying, sucralfate reason for our collective reticence over Israel’s shameful policy of closure and containment of the Palestinian people. It has to do with the way the world becomes cowed whenever the need arises to confront this “democratic” state over policies that fly in the face of international law and human rights conventions. Frankly, sucralfate I can almost understand this reluctance to criticise Israel, sucralfate given the relentless, sucralfate uncompromising and intimidating response the Jewish state invokes whenever it is challenged or questioned. Look no further, sucralfate for example, sucralfate than Jerusalem’s reaction to last month’s Goldstone Report findings on the recent war in Gaza. Alternatively, sucralfate ask any indivi­dual who has had the audacity to make public their objections to Israel’s wall or human rights violations, sucralfate only to find themselves on the receiving end of an often vitriolic Zionist lobby. One of the favourite responses of these Zionist cadres is to denounce any critic as an anti-Semite, sucralfate or if that doesn’t work, sucralfate an appeaser of terrorists. I remember well the first time I dared use the word apartheid in the context of Israel’s wall. In pointing out in an article that the Hebrew word “hafrada”, sucralfate which means “separation”, sucralfate was often now used as a virtual catch-all term for an apartheid existence between Israelis and Palestinians, sucralfate I was inundated with some very nasty email correspondence. How many of those who sent these emails, sucralfate I wonder, sucralfate would have known that as far back as 1999, sucralfate Ariel Sharon, sucralfate then Israel’s Foreign Minister, sucralfate spoke openly about the proposed wall, sucralfate referring to it as “the Bantustan plan”, sucralfate saying that the South African apartheid model offered the most appropriate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? How many also would have known that it was one of Israel’s own prominent military historians, sucralfate Professor Martin van Creveld, sucralfate of the Hebrew University, sucralfate who was first to propose a wall round the West Bank, sucralfate and who drew his inspiration for that same proposal from the Berlin Wall, sucralfate after spending a year’s sabbatical in Germany in 1980-81? “If I could, sucralfate I would build a concrete wall so tall that even birds could not fly over it, sucralfate and above all, sucralfate so the people cannot look each other in the face – complete separation, sucralfate” Van Creveld is quoted as saying in an article, sucralfate some years before Mr Sharon, sucralfate when Israeli Prime Minister, sucralfate took his idea to heart and made the wall a bitter reality for those Palestinians who now live in its shadow. Of course, sucralfate whenever questions about the legality of the wall are raised, sucralfate Israel invariably responds with the same answer: “It stops the bombers and that’s all that matters.” But how can Israel insist on calling it a “security wall” when instead of just separating Israel from the West Bank, sucralfate it separates Arab from Arab? Indeed, sucralfate how could a people whose history is full of terrible ghettos now be building one themselves? For Israelis such as these, sucralfate there is simply no debate to be had. As far as they are concerned, sucralfate the crushing effects of the wall on the lives of millions of Palestinians is a small price to pay for the relative – if somewhat imaginary – guarantee of their own personal security. But to call it this way makes for a convenient defence of a policy they also know is little more than a land grab and indefensible in terms of international law. “If you want security for your house, sucralfate you build the wall in your own garden, sucralfate not in your neighbour’s, sucralfate” I remember Hassan Akramawi, sucralfate a Palestinian shopkeeper, sucralfate telling me near Abu Dis, sucralfate where the wall had cut his business off from the village customers who gave him a meagre income. For anyone who has never seen the wall, sucralfate it’s hard to over emphasise the sheer injustice of this concrete scar that gouges its way across olive orchards, sucralfate family homes, sucralfate grazing areas, sucralfate places of work, sucralfate schools and anything else that, sucralfate frankly, sucralfate the state of Israel has decided to confiscate. Its sheer physical size bears down when you are near it. The double standards displayed by many world leaders this week keen to add their ringing endorsement to the inhuman and intolerant rule the Berlin Wall represented, sucralfate while remaining steadfastly mute on Israel’s present-day incarnation, sucralfate is shaming to them all. As one old Palestinian man, sucralfate a resident of Abu Dis, sucralfate once put it to me succinctly: “Where is the world? Where is the world?” David Pratt Originally published on 13 Nov 2009 at