There is a lot of talk about “walls” and “wheels” in the international news at the moment. You can probably see what I’m referring to. Donald Trump yesterday on the Mexican border once again developed his favourite argument: “Building walls is like inventing the wheel, it’s as old as the world… but that’s all that works today.”
You can probably see what I’m referring to. Donald Trump yesterday on the Mexican border once again developed his favourite argument: “Building walls is like inventing the wheel, it’s as old as the world… but that’s all that works today.”
I spare you the endless debates in the American press about the president’s mistake: no, the wheel was not invented before the wall.
Let us talk this morning about a country, dear to Donald Trump, which has just somehow realized the outcome of its logic. I named Israel, which yesterday inaugurated a road that, along its 5 kilometres long, is shared in its centre by a concrete wall, itself raised by a metal fence: in all, it is 8 metres high.
Haaretz is in charge of describing it to us, with photos to support it: on one side of the central wall you have the road for Israeli motorists, on the other side, the road for Palestinians. As a result, for everyday life, this 4370 road linking Jerusalem to Jewish settlements is “the apartheid road”, a “shameful” segregation that goes much further, we are told, than previous Israeli roads protected by walls: this time the separation is complete, hermetic, only the part of the road coming from Jewish settlements leads to a checkpoint, prohibited to Palestinians, which allows them to enter Jerusalem. West Bank drivers, on the other hand, have no choice but to join the bypass of the Holy City, from which they are kept at a safe distance.
This did not prevent the Minister of Public Security, GIlad Erdan, from inaugurating this road by making it “an example of what can be created in terms of common life between Israelis and Palestinians”: common life, certainly, but with a wall of 8 metres between the two.
The Times of Israel also quotes the Palestinian Minister of Transport, for whom route 4370 is “unacceptable”, in that it embodies the “discrimination imposed on the Palestinian people by an openly racist Israeli regime”, and comparable, as such, to South Africa during the apartheid era.
On this historical comparison, Haaretz republished an editorial dated late August and written by Ravid Hecht. It states that yes, the policy pursued by Benyamin Netanyahu and his far-right allies is a policy of apartheid. But, like it or not, the journalist writes, “apartheid is what Israeli public opinion wants, what the base that continues to support this government is asking for”.