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Of Maps and fatalities

Reader comment on item: My Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
in response to reader comment: Visit this site...

Submitted by Fred Schlomka (Israel), Mar 4, 2007 at 05:14

The maps and some information of the Jewish Virtual Library site are a bit dated. A more up-to-date map can be found at: http://www.fmep.org/maps/map_data/west_bank/west_bank_separation_barrier_july_2006.html

Even this map is not entirely accurate. I drove a US official half way across the West Bank yesterday going directly East from Kfar Saba past Qalkiliya. The security fence cut deep into the West Bank at Qalkylia, completely surrounding the town before heading NE. We drove all the way to Rt 60 which heads south to Ramallah and Jerusalem without encountering the fence. Thus the land i was driving over within the West Bank has open access from Israel but no access was possible from Nablus or any areas to the north of the fence. This area is much larger than is indicated on any map I have seen, official or not

The site you recommended was interesting. The text included:
"In fact, a fence already surrounds the Gaza Strip "
Demonstrating that Gaza has become a captive and imprisoned territory, completely surrounded by Israel's authority on land, sea and air. This has been the fate of all the heavily populated areas of the West Bank also. Even where the security fence is close to the Green Line, Palestinian towns and areas on the East of the fence are surrounded by secondary fences restricting the peoples' movements. These fences are not shown on any official maps but restrict the movement of both Palestinians and Israelis. When I have meetings in some areas of the West Bank I have to resort to the same passage as Palestinians, often taking taxis over dirt trails to circumvent the Israeli blockades. It's a mess, and it's not creating peace on the ground, for Israelis, or Palestinians.

Regarding ongoing violence. One has to realise that while Palestinian violence against Israelis has decreased over the past two years, Israeli violence against Palestinians continues unabated, and generally underreported in the media. For instance Yesterday I passed near a settlement notorious for its 'Hilltop Youth' (heb. נוער הגבעות -Noar Ha'Gvaot), gangs of Jewish teenagers armed with automatic weapons who roam the hills beating Palestinian farmers and terrorizing villagers. I've had a few confrontations with them while assisting with the olive harvest. Also, Israeli Army operatives in plain clothes infiltrate Palestinian towns and gun people in the streets like the mafia. Palestinian children continue to be shot by IDF soldiers without cause. A schoolgirl in Anata last week, two children in Bi'ilin yesterday. The death toll continues to rise. Almost 4,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis since 2,000, half of them under 18 years old. In 2006, 655 Palestinian were killed, more than ten times the number of Israelis killed. For a listing of violence stats check out:
http://www.btselem.org/English/Statistics/Casualties_Data.asp?Category=1

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