The New Concrete Fence ‘Fruit’ of the ‘Human Rights’ Activism at Bilin
Yesterday, so-called ‘human rights’ groups around the world hailed the IDF’s dismantlement of the fence separating the Palestinian village of Bilin from the nearby Israeli community of Modin Illit. The following image of an IDF crane taking down a watchtower and removing barbed wire were victoriously broadcast around the world:
Israelis Dismantling Section of Bilin Fence Yesterday
When you compare the first picture with the second picture, you are probably thoroughly confused.
So much nonsense has been written about Bilin by the western media over the years that it might be useful, dear readers, to devote more than my usual 30 seconds to revisit and give context to what has taken place (and pardon in advance for all the numbers I am going to throw at you!).
Bilin, with a population of somewhat fewer than 2000 people, is a mostly Muslim Palestinian bedroom community 12 km (7.5 mi) west of Ramallah and 4 km (2.5 mi) east of the Green Line. After the spate of barbaric suicide bombings against Israeli men, women, and children in 2002, Bilin was one of the areas around which Israel constructed its separation fence.
At one time a predominantly agricultural community (a fact that has given international ‘peace’ activists endless fodder claiming that the Israeli fence was separating an ‘indigenous’ community from its sole-source-of- income olive trees), Bilin today is largely citizened by Fatah government functionaries who work in Ramallah and are paid by handouts from other countries.
Beginning in 2005, Bilin became a specific cause celebre of all those perversely aligned against the spectacularly successful separation fence (which has dramatically reduced suicide bombings), with weekly protests led by such left-wing groups as the International Solidarity Movement, Anarchists Against The Wall, and Gush Shalom. Such self-professed international luminaries as Jimmy Carter and Mairead Corrigan, as well as a parade of EU representatives have set up virtual second homes in Bilin to participate regularly in these ‘peaceful’ protests.
However, some of these protests have turned violent as the IDF has been forced to fire tear gas to keep protestors away from the fence. Two Palestinians from the same family were allegedly killed (at different times), one by being hit by a tear gas canister and the other from inhaling tear gas fumes. Numerous IDF soldiers have also been injured (one losing an eye) by being regularly pelted with rocks thrown by the ‘peaceful’ international protestors and their Palestinian cohorts.
On September 4, 2007, in response to a suit brought by an Israeli ‘human rights’ lawyer representing the residents of Bilin, the Israel Supreme Court ruled that the fence should be re-routed. The so-called ‘human rights’ activists who celebrated the Court’s decision that the fence put an undue hardship on the residents of Bilin apparently failed to realize that the Court also noted that the fence should be resituated because the original route was ‘topographically inferior’ and ‘endangered IDF forces patrolling the area.’ Thus the Court ordered that 1700 meters (1.05 mi) of the fence be dismantled and an alternative route be constructed.
That is what has now taken place. Rateb Abu Rahmah, organizing leader of the weekly Bilin protests, triumphantly declared yesterday: “The Israeli army began removing the barbed wire around the village today, four years after the ruling of the Israeli court. The dismantlement of the wall is the fruit of the struggle by the people of the village.”
Some fruit. In fact, the IDF is dismantling a 2700 meter section (1.7 mi) of the barbed wire fence (1000 meters more than the amount originally ordered by the Court) because that section has now been replaced with a 3200 meter (1.99 mi) section of concrete fence. Bilin has easier access to its 700 dumans (about 70 hectares/173 acres) of land, but the security of Modin Illit has been immeasurably enhanced.
This increased security truly is cause for celebration, and the reason that the citizens of Modin Illit owe the ‘human rights’ activists a real debt of gratitude.