Sliding into racist caricature, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has taken to utilizing imagery of planes dropping Stars of David and Dollar signs from the sky in his live performances.
It could be Waters doesn’t see the problem in dredging from the gutter anti-Semitic rhetoric equating Jews with money. A post- war elite English education can do that to a person.
But then, how can we take seriously his views on the security fence? His insistence on knocking down walls, even if it means the last Israeli is blown up in the streets, takes on a more sinister hue.
It is by no means intuitive that singing about walls makes that person an instant expert on anti-terror fences and Middle-Eastern geopolitics. If that were the case, Madonna, who sang Like a Virgin, would be an expert on abstinence. And she clearly is not.
The anti-terror fence (it is in fact 97% chain-link fence, less than 3% concrete) was built following a series of terror attacks in Israel emanating from Palestinian cities, many of which were under PA control after the Oslo Agreement.
The murderous onslaught on Israel’s busses, cafes, hotels, nightclubs and shopping malls by Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad Palestinian factions left hundreds of innocent dead Israelis - Jews and Arabs – and thousands maimed for life.
Anyone who did not live in Israel during the second Intifada might wonder how we went about our lives during that period, when going out for pizza or catching a bus could become a dance with death, as the screens filled nightly with bloody terror scenes.
The Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya spurred the Israeli government under Ariel Sharon to finally root out the terror in the Palestinian cities and build a physical barrier between killers and their potential victims.
The vast majority of the route fence runs along the Green Line. It does in some parts run into what are now Palestinian areas for security or topological reasons (and in some parts into Israeli territory, for the same reasons). Israelis and Palestinians can appeal the route of the fence to Israel’s High Court. Palestinians have won in the High Court on several occasions and forced the Israeli Ministry of Defense to reroute the fence.
It is a security fence, not a political border. If and when Israelis and Palestinians sign a peace treaty delineating borders, it will no doubt be moved. Israel moved fences (and gave up large chunks of land) when peace was signed with Egypt and Israel moved its fence with Lebanon 12 times until the United Nations was satisfied.
What the fence does do is save lives. In 2002, 457 Israelis were murdered in terror attacks. In 2009, only 8 Israelis were killed.
You can move fences. You can’t bring the dead back.
Most other countries have fences. The separation barriers in Belfast keep Catholics and Protestants apart. The fence between Morocco and the Spanish colonialist enclave city of Melilla was built with European Union money to stop poor Africans getting to Europe. Morocco’s “Wall of Shame” is about 1,500 miles long, protecting Morocco’s occupation of the Western Sahara. Turkey’s wall in Alexandretta is in an area that Syria claims as its own. In Cyprus, the UN-sponsored security fence supports Turkey’s occupation and the island’s partition.
I bet Roger Walters has a fence around his house too.
So why is he so angrily insistent that Israelis have no rights to protection against terror that he would revert to age-old hate symbolism? There is a debate to be had, but it can’t be done if there are other forces at work.
All in all, it’s just another brick in the wall.
Marcus Sheff is Executive Director of The Israel Project in Jerusalem
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