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Two Nations, Two Walls

Reader comment on item: Does Israel Need a [Peace] Plan?

Submitted by Karel Sykora (Czech Republic), Jun 4, 2005 at 11:57

Because I study Chinese language, I would like to compare the wall, which was built in China long ago, and the wall being recently built in the state of Israel. Why compare these two walls? There are a few reasons for this comparison.

Firstly, both Chinese and Hebrew civilizations belong to the oldest civilizations which actually survived continuously throughout the history. Secondly, and that is quite interesting, both of them tried to solve their political problem in a similar manner – they built a wall.

Is it possible to compare those? I would like to point out thing the walls do have in common, however, also the things which distinguish one from another.

Let's start with the older one, the Great Wall of China. The extensive system of fortification preserved until today is mostly work of the Ming dynasty. It was basically finished by the 16th century AD. This colossal work of the Chinese Emperors has hundreds of turrets, from east to west it is about 6400 km long. It did not only serve defensive purposes; it also worked as a route connecting places at long distances.

Trade flourished by its foot. However, experts do have various opinions about its effectiveness. One of them, drawn by Arthur Waldron, claims that it was not really a significant military factor as it did not stop the northern nomad tribes. Noting the various enlargements seem to prove the inability of the Chinese Emperors to find another viable solution.

Sounds familiar? Despite the fact that geographically and chronologically both structures are extremely far away from each other, both seem to point to a governmental crisis over a problem. The Israeli wall will not be as monstrous as the Chinese and it probably won't stimulate trade either. Nevertheless, on the contrary to the Chinese one, due to the technological advance, it may stop the Palestinian suicide bombers penetrating Israeli cities.

Kind readers can always find its technological description elsewhere, but what is slightly more interesting is the fact that there doesn't seem to be another political solution of the conflict (or so the Israeli government says). However, the wall only illustrates the inability and/or lack of willingness to search for this different solution.

I do believe there is a different solution to the conflict. First of all the Palestinian nation must finally realize and admit that they are also a traveler on the ship called "The World". If they wish to be treated as an honest and decent traveler they must face the responsibility of being also honest, decent and reliable. Every single terrorist attack should be condemned and punished by the Palestinian leadership itself instead of claiming the right of the various individual groups to do so. Once this happens Israel won't have to play a parent punishing his child because it doesn't behave itself.

To illustrate the point let me mention one example. The Hague court had decided against the Israeli wall thus calling it unlawful and wrong. The entire world had stopped and listened and maybe started to agree. In that moment the Palestinian nation raised up and said: "We do like the wall!"

And what then happened? Very shortly after the decision was made (but still long enough for the news to reach the region) a terrorist attack against Israel was made again. Of course such behavior is contra-productive. It mocks the decision and it laughs at it. Saying that it is only a marginal activity of extremist groups is not valid anymore.

If the Palestinian leadership wants to create an independent Palestinian country it has to fight these groups effectively and on its own. Until this happens the Palestinian nation will still experience the same bad care on the "ship" as it gets now.

The wall alone does not solve the situation in the Middle East, but an old Latin proverb fits it well - e duobus malis minus est eligendum. From two evil things it is necessary to choose the less evil one.

The wall does not solve the basis of the problem. It means even greater division between the two nations. However, it is still less "evil" than the treacherous attack against the Jews. The wall is supposed to stop people from perpetrating such attacks. Such purpose can hardly be doubted.

Karel Sykora, Czech Republic, Europe

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