The colorful concrete blocks dispersed throughout the
West Bank in the past two days are much more than a
temporary means to enforce an "encirclement" and
prevent vehicles moving outside the enclaves the
Palestinian Authority rules. They will prove ineffective for
By Meron Benvenisti
The colorful concrete blocks dispersed throughout the West Bank in
the past two days are much more than a temporary means to enforce
an "encirclement" and prevent vehicles moving outside the enclaves
the Palestinian Authority rules. They will prove ineffective for this
purpose.The blocks actually are symbols of an intention to
expropriate the physical space of the West Bank and its public
infrastructure, and to transfer them to the exclusive use of Jews.
As to encirclement, nobody can beat the talent of the besieged
residents for improvisation, nor top their knowledge of the area. The
chief of staff already has had to apologize for not halting all movement
of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The blocks were not meant to be simply a security measure -
whoever decided to deploy them knows they are of little practical
use. The "encirclement" is also more than collective punishment - it
declares that only vehicles bearing yellow [Israeli] license plates are
allowed to move.
Any other vehicle moving on West Bank roads is considered a
terrorist suspect and must be handled by the army, or by the settlers
who are angry over the use of "their" roads. A crucial element in the
security officials' decision ("with political establishment approval") was
the need to appease the anger of settlers after the serious incidents in
which three Israelis were killed on the roads of the West Bank. It is a
response to their demand to "let the IDF win" - or else they would
take action themselves.
Since the start of the Al Aqsa Intifada the lives of the settlers have
been completely disrupted. Their classic Zionist delusion - "a land
without a people for a people without a land" - was shattered. The
same Palestinian people threatened to turn their settlements into
In the past, they tried to preserve their illusions with bypass roads
connecting Jewish settlements on which they could travel without
being aware of any Palestinian presence. The most pathetic monument
to the delusion, the "tunnel road," which was paved above and below
the Palestinians, is now closed most of the time.
With their absurdity now exposed they want "not to see" the
Palestinians, by having them caged in enclaves while the physical
space remains in Jewish hands. Then they can continue their normal
routine - "evening classes, visits to friends, entertainment, films, and so
on," as the newspapers quoted them.
Now it has become clear to everyone who saw the "settlement
project" as a mere collection of settlements that actually it is a
domination of the entire space.
The demographic facts on the ground were only the tip of an iceberg
of a complex system of roads, gas stations, infrastructure, army
camps, holy sites, nature reserves, appropriated state lands, security
requirements and the activity of the "civil administration." Together
these elements established permanent Israeli domination of the West
Now that the Palestinians are rising up against the expropriation of
their space, the Israeli government is try to regain control by
"encirclement." This legitimizes a "normal routine" for 10 percent of
West Bank residents (Jews) at the expense of a living hell for the
other 90 percent (Palestinians).
As for those who object to the use of moral standards to judge
"security" decisions - let them note that the "normal routine" of 500
Hebron settlers requires putting 40,000 Palestinians under curfew.
This is considered reasonable - "dictated by necessity" - because the
Palestinians "brought it upon themselves," as they did the
Among the slogans bandied about these days we hear "the ideology
of Greater Israel has disappeared" and "the present violence has no
military solution, only a political one."
The colored blocks expose the hypocrisy of both slogans. The
expropriation of the physical space they symbolize is proof that a
Greater Israel ideology has not vanished, even if it has become
"refined" by creating Indian reservations.
The "military" decision to enclave Palestinians proves that the
distinction between a military and a political solution is artificial.
A political solution means the Palestinians will give in to military
pressure and agree to the expropriation of the physical space - since it
already has been "proved" that any area given over to them becomes
a terrorist base.
Under these circumstances, there is neither a military nor a political
solution. The cement blocks will become tombstones on the route of
the march of folly