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Volume 68, Issue 150, Monday, June 23, 2003 

Opinion

Wall only blocks road to peace

Jason Gaskamp
Guest Columnist

The proposed peace plans by the United States for Israel and Palestine seem to have hit a wall -- a literal wall that is. Itis one constructed out of stone, steel and barbed wire.

The Mideast peace talks, dubbed the "road map" and backed by the United States, seems to be just what everyone has been looking for. It will force Israel to recognize Palestine as a sovereign nation. It will also smooth over the issue of who controls what in the West Bank and Gaza strip area. It seems to be a road map to peace and prosperity for both nations.

What the "road map" does not cover, however, is the notion of a constructed wall by Israel. Labeled a "security fence," Israel says the wall is only a means of keeping out suicide bombers and a recent surge of car thieves. But with Israel planning to stretch out the wall clear through most of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, its erection serves more as a permanent division between Israel and Palestine. Itis hardly what the "road map" seems to imply, but exactly what Israel is pushing for.

A chance to create a stable relationship between the two countries is being exploited by the greed of one. Although not part of the road map, Israelis decision to erect the wall is a clear demonstration of how they will deceitfully interpret the peace plan for its own agenda. It sees the distinction for borders made by the road map as an opportunity to create a concrete (literally) and permanent border against their neighbor. 

"What is so bad about wanting a border?" one may ask. A border is one thing. An obstacle that only increases tension and hostilities in the midst of peace talks is something entirely different.

The results of Israelis permanent wall are more important than its intentions. Those who will be affected by its construction are not Israelites living in suburban settings.

It also wonit be Palestinian refugees living in camps who can easily, but still emotionally, shift their location. It will be Palestinian farmers and rural landowners who must suffer as the wall comes straight through their farms and land -- land that has been in their families for generations.

Farms and land will be permanently separated from their owners as Palestinians are forced to give up their property and settle as more refugees.

The wall will not only divide Israel from Palestine. It will divide the communities and lands of Palestine as well. The most disturbing part, though, is that Israel will be able to legitimately argue its position for the wall according to the peace plan. This means it can once again exploit Palestine under the comfort of having international protection, primarily the United States.

For Israel, the road map seems to lead to buried treasure. 

Gaskamp, a senior English major, can be reached via dcougar@mail.uh.edu.
 

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