On Friday the 24th, a map of the Wallâs so-called final path as approved by the Israeli Cabinet was publicly released while Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced that plans for building the Wall through the Jordan Valley were underway and would soon be âpresentedâ to the government. To date, the Israeli government has only produced official public maps for the âfirst phaseâ of the Wall, having made them public after demolitions, land confiscation and razing were well underway. Much of the information on the Wallâs path has been available through military orders and maps sporadically distributed to communities and to farmers whose lands are being confiscated.
This public revelation of the map comes just days after the UN General Assembly resolution passed calling upon Israel to stop and reverse construction of the Wall. The timing of the mapâs release and Sharonâs affirmation for the Jordan Valley Wall come as a forthright statement that Israel will defy international criticism as plans and policies of ghettoizing the West Bank hasten.
Though the Israeli government presented the map as a great revelation, its path regularly coincides with maps made public in the past in the Israeli media, further highlighting the notion that such maps have been in existence long before. Behind closed doors and in public debates, the Wallâs path follows consistently the Zionist policy and adage towards Palestinians of âmore land, less peopleâ.
The imprisonment of Palestinians by the Wall and Israelâs closure policy is painfully known to communities in the West Bank and marked clear through all of the maps. Seen here on the left is the recent Israeli map of the Wallâs path as shown on October 24th in Al Quds, the daily Palestinian newspaper; Arabic translations were added to indicate communities on either side of the Wall. To the right is a section of the Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign poster map, produced in July 2003, showing the Wallâs path through the West Bank districts.
One very significant fallacy in the Israeli map is that the Wallâs path has been built inside the Green Line, such as is shown in the case west of the Jenin districtâhowever this section was one of the first to be completed and is inside the West Bank. This and the Israeli policies of land theft make it entirely predictable that in other areas, such as around Jerusalem, where the projected Wall path in the Israeli map seems to alternate outside of the West Bank will, in fact, not be the case.
Though the Israeli map does not indicate the Wallâs path through the Jordan Valley and Sharon claims plans are underway for âapprovalâ, reality has it that destruction has begun in eastern Jenin while this path is congruent with plans proposed for the West Bank after the 1967 Occupation, particularly the Allon Plan. Immediately discussed after the 1967 War, this project aimed to reduce/expel half of the West Bank Palestinian and hold on to what were deemed essential areas in the West Bank to preserve Israelâs âJewish characterâ such as Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley.
Shocking figures of the Wallâs impact on Palestine have been projected from the Campaign poster map âgravely these projections are increasingly being realized. If completed entirely, 54% of the West Bank will be walled-in ghettos and another 2% will be imprisoned into separated enclaves, as likely to be the situation of Jericho with the Wall though the Jordan Valley.
The path presented on the Israeli map is not a final route; it will be changed without announcements or Israeli Cabinet approvals or military surveying, and destruction for the Wall in the Jordan Valley will soon be tantamount to that in the districts in Jenin, Tulkarem, Qalqiliya, Salfit, Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem. The devastation that over a hundred communities are experiencing from the Apartheid Wall is accelerating to hundreds more. Though the Wall âprojectâ is being presented in terms of âmilitary stagesâ and changing maps, its path and its impacts on Palestine is congruent with the Israeli/Zionist colonial project.