Finger After Finger
Seven words uttered by President Bush in
the attention they deserve.
He called for the establishment of "a democratic Palestinian state
with territorial contiguity" in the
on scattered territories will not work."
It is worthwhile to ponder these words. Who did he point the finger
at? Why did he say this in
Nobody warns of a danger without a reason. If Bush said what he
said, it means that he believes that someone is causing this danger.
Just who might that be?
For years now I have been warning that this is the intention of
Ariel Sharon, the basis of the whole settlement enterprise planned and
set up by him. The lay-out of the settlements on the
designed to cut the territory up from North to South and from West to
East, in order to forestall any possibility of establishing a really
viable and contiguous Palestinian state, a state like any other.
If the settlement blocs that have been created are annexed to
enclaves - perhaps four, perhaps six. The Gaza Strip, an isolated ghetto
by itself, will be another enclave. Each enclave will be surrounded by
settlements and military installations, and all of them will be cut off
from the world outside.
The American intelligence agencies are familiar with this picture, of course. They can see it
with their satellites. But that did not deter President
Bush from promising
sraeli "population cent
ers" in the
ement blocs that
were defined by the
the presidency of the
first President Bush, the American administration even decided to deduct the costs of new settlemen
t projects from the financial benefits accorded to
So why did the second Bush suddenly make a declaration whose practical meaning is that some of
settlement blocs must be dismantled? And why did he make it in
It is clear that he wanted to gain favor with his European hosts. The European Union opposes t
he annexation of
So he said it. And what is happening on the ground in the meantime?
Last Sunday the Israeli government decided for the second time to implement the disengagement
plan, a decision that was hailed by the media as "historic". With all the hullabaloo, hardly any at
tention was paid to a s
adopted at the same meeting: to continue building the wall in the
At first sight, that is a routine decision. After all, the government argues that this is noth
ing but a "security fence". It does indeed have a certain security function, and Israeli public opi
nion accepts it as such
. But by now, informed people
must know that this wall is intended as the future border of
Therefore, this week all government spokespersons took pains to stress that the new path of the wal
l cuts off only 7-8% of
The word "only" deserves attention. President Bill Clinton's last peace plan spoke about the a
nnexation of 3-4%
to the Palestinian sta
te. Seven percent of the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany is much more than the whole s
le giant state of
h Mexican settlements.)
But the percentage game is misleading. It is not only the size of the territory that is import
ant, but also its location.
this respect, the controversy between
ces, where the path
of the wall causes the dismemberment of the
e the settlement town o
f Ariel, it will send a finger deep into the
coming from the opposite direction - the two fingers together will cut through the whole width of
practically the full width of the
Americans do not yet agree. So
aces he leaves a gap in the wall. He will build there in due course, after using a future opportuni
ty to wrap President Bu
sh - so to say - around his little finger.
But the percentage account is also wrong in another respect. Nowadays one speaks only about th
e wall that will separate the
is no secret that
territory, about 20% of
he cannot build this wall at the moment, because of the
opposition of the
lso, there is no budget
for it. Therefore, he is leaving it for the future.
government decision does formally include the southern border of the
planned path of the wall runs almost completely along the Green Line. That looks really nice. But t
his, too, contains a tr
for another time - and then he will propose a different path altogether, including a finger thrust
deeply into Palestinian
so as to annex the
By way of deception shalt thou build settlements.
hat has been approved by the government decision. All this area between the wall and the Green Line
- the territory alread
y annexed in practice - is being filled with new settlements. Among
O A new town called Gevaoth that is to be
built west of
in what is called the "Etzion Bloc".
That is a mendacious name: the original Etzion Bloc consisted of a
small group of settlements near the Green Line. It was occupied by the
Arabs in the 1948 war and
settlements were also re-built. But then a whole new town (Efrata) was
added to the East, and beyond that a number of new settlements, until the
original few settlements had expanded into a massive settlement bloc
O A big new settlement called "
north of Qalqilia. This, too, will reach the proportions of a town.
0 Giant housing projects, that will be set up in order to connect
the Ma'aleh Adumim
Also in the Jerusalem Area, the new (Labor) Minister for Housing,
Yitzhak Herzog, promises to build big housing projects from Har Homa to
Ma'aleh Adumim, while another one is going to be built east of a-Ram.
The aim is to cut
this is happening while
about the "disengagement" plan - which, in essence, is nothing but a plan
to consolidate the
scattered territories". (The Gaza Strip constitutes only 6% of the
The Labor party is a full partner in this scheme.
dismantling of some small settlements in a remote corner of the occupied
territories for the fulfillment of his grand design to take over most of
Now President Bush has declared that he does not accept this design.
His European hosts smiled politely. Perhaps they believed him, and then,
maybe they did not.