chapter  3
33 Pages

Security after security: Israel, Palestine and the wall

Palestinian town of Hebron, the Israeli writer Amos Elon quoted one of them explaining his commitment to forcibly enacting the vision of ‘greater Israel’ on land seized in the 1967 Six Day War. The man, a former Tel Aviv lawyer named Eliakim Haetzini, explained: ‘Sovereignty is like a woman. Do you share your wife with someone else?’3 I first read these words in Jerusalem, a day after two terrible suicide bombings in Be’er Sheva that killed sixteen people and wounded 100. The bombers had come from a Hamas cell based in Hebron, and the press was saying that they had, in part, been successful because Be’er Sheva was an ‘easy target’, given that the formidable security wall under construction since 2003 had not yet extended that far south. Indeed, the foreign minister stated that the bombing ‘proves the necessity of speeding up the separation barrier’s construction’.4 I had seen this wall a few days before, in ‘Arab’ East Jerusalem, from the other side: 8 metres of ugly prefab concrete slabs slicing across a roadway, dividing neighborhoods and shops, before vaulting the next hill and disappearing into the landscape. Young Palestinians had painted its lower part white, then sprayed it with graffiti in Arabic and English, like a Middle Eastern echo of Cold War Berlin. Here and

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darker – more organised and selfish – political force in their lives.