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Saturday, 27 June 2015

The “Penal Colonies” of Palestine. “The Gaza Strip is the Realization of Israel’s Vision of ‘Separation’”

Tanya Reinhart 
Global Research

This article by the late Professor Tanya Reinart was first published by Global Research in 2002 under the title The Penal Colonies.

The Gaza strip is a perfect realization of the Israeli vision of “separation”. Surrounded with electric fences and army posts, completely sealed off the outside world, Gaza has become a huge prison. About one third of its land was confiscated for the 7,000 Israeli settlers living there (and their defense array), while over a million Palestinians are crowded in the remaining areas of the prison. With no work or sources of income, about 80% of its residents depend, for their living, on UNRWA, or contributions from Arab states and charity organizations. Now Israel is considering the imprisonment there of families of suicide bombers from the West Bank (1). As a senior Israeli analyst stated, Gaza can now serve as “the penal colony” of Israel its “devils island, Alcatraz”. (Nahum Barnea, Yediot Aharonot June 21, 2002).

This is the future that Sharon and the Israeli army designate for the West Bank as well. While the external fence is presently being built, Israel’s current military operation is set to be the final step in the implementation the IDF plans for reestablishing full military rule (which was abolished in large parts of the West Bank during the Oslo process). Though Israel describes everything it does as a spontaneous reaction to terror, the plan was fully spelled out in the Israeli media already back in March 2001, soon after Sharon entered office. Alex Fishman, military and strategic analyst of Yediot Aharonot, explained at the time that since Oslo, “the IDF regarded the occupied territories as if they were one territorial cell”, and this placed some constraints on the IDF and enabled a certain amount of freedom for the PA and the Palestinian population. The new plan is a return to the concept of the military administration during the pre Oslo years: the occupied territories will be divided into tens of isolated “territorial cells”, each of which will be assigned a special military force, “and the local commander will have freedom to use his discretion” as to when and who to shoot. (Yediot Ahronot weekend supplement, March 9.2001).

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