Netanyahu’s Fortress Israel

Ignoring Israel’s founding ideals about justice and compassion, Prime Minister Netanyahu and other leaders are guiding the nation into the inevitable direction of a racist apartheid state, building walls against the Arab “wild beasts,” a tragedy that Alon Ben-Meir examines.

By Alon Ben-Meir

The demagoguery of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have no limit, demagoguery in a sense that he says and acts on anything to buttress Israel’s hold on the West Bank in the name of national security.

This time around, Netanyahu came up with another absurd idea, proposing, as he stated, a “multi-year plan to surround Israel with security fences to protect ourselves in the current and projected Middle East.” Netanyahu went on to say that: “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”

A section of the barrier -- erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians -- with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy's famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

A section of the barrier — erected by Israeli officials to prevent the passage of Palestinians — with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” (Photo credit: Marc Venezia)

Knowing Netanyahu and his sentiment toward the Palestinians, using inflammatory language is customary for him, as he views every Palestinian as a would-be beastly terrorist. It is obvious from everything we know that the purpose of building such a fence, which runs through a significant portion of Palestinian territory, is to make the expropriation of Palestinian land permanent.

At the same time, he continues to expand settlements in the West Bank and more than likely will build new ones while providing more than 10,000 soldiers to protect the settlers, ensuring that Palestinians will never establish (under his watch) their own state; of course, all of this is in the name of national security.

Netanyahu knows only too well that no fence, however high and regardless of the material it is made of, will prevent a determined terrorist from finding a way to penetrate it. True, he will introduce the newest technology to detect any attempt to pierce through the wall; however, he seems to ignore the fact that Palestinian militants have perfected the art of building tunnels through which insurgents can still wage attacks on Israeli civilians or military personnel, even at the expense of getting killed in the process.

Netanyahu himself raised the question of the tunnels, stating: “If you’re thinking of erecting a fence there you have to take into account that they could tunnel underneath it. The people who said that there is no significance to [retaining] territory in the modern age should go to Gaza.”

Let us go to Gaza then; what do we find? Hamas has been able to build scores of tunnels underneath the fence that separates Gaza from Israel, and have successfully been able to go through the tunnels and attack Israeli forces and civilians.

Although Israeli forces found many of these tunnels during Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 and destroyed the majority of them, Hamas is now at work building new tunnels, knowing that no matter what security measures Israel takes, it will not find all the tunnels. Hamas is still in a position, should they chose to do so, to cross the fences from underneath.

Netanyahu also seems to ignore the fact that no fence, however sophisticated it may be, can stop rockets from being fired at Israel. During that same operation, Hamas was able to rain more than 3,000 rockets, which reached much of Israel’s urban areas and caused tremendous havoc. True, most of these rockets were intercepted; however, it was not the fence that intercepted them but the Iron Dome air defense system, demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the separation wall.

Netanyahu appears to ignore another reality in northern Israel along the Lebanese border, where Hezbollah is in possession of tens of thousands of short- and medium-range advanced rockets that can reach just about every part of Israel. What kind of fence, one might ask, does Netanyahu have in mind to stop Hezbollah from firing dozens of such rockets simultaneously? Of course, Netanyahu conveniently did not talk about Hezbollah in Lebanon, because he has no plans to occupy any part of Lebanon.

In reaction to Netanyahu’s plans to build a wall that encircles Israel, one of his main coalition partners, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who is far more to the right than even Netanyahu, stated “The prime minister spoke today about how fences are needed. We are wrapping ourselves in fences. In Australia and New Jersey there is no need for fences.”

Coming from an individual who is sinister and dangerous, Bennett is not against the wall because he feels that walls will not be effective, but because he believes that all of the West Bank belongs to Israel. Given the opportunity, he would annex much of the West Bank outright, why then build a wall in one’s own land?

Netanyahu has never been committed to a two-state solution and is using the current violent flare-up, the so-called “knife Intifada,” as an excuse to cement Israel’s hold on much of the West Bank. His plan amounts to establishing small cantons for the Palestinians where they can exercise a sort of autonomous rule, while remaining under the watchful eye of the Israeli security forces.

A big part that gives Netanyahu the license to do what he wants is the sad complacency of the Israeli public, who has fallen into the national security trap that Netanyahu has so masterfully used to spread fear and dread among Israelis. He successfully brainwashed the majority of Israelis to believe that the Palestinians pose a present and imminent danger and must be dealt with, not as human beings with whom one can reason, but wild beasts who are determined to destroy rather than coexist with Israel.

Netanyahu’s presumed recipe as he stated it, to “surround the entire state of Israel with a fence, a barrier,” is nothing short of building a large prison for all Israelis. To be sure, instead of reaching out to the Palestinians and the whole international community to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, he seeks to turn Israel into a garrison and apartheid state, detested by and isolated from the international community.

I wonder what the founders of Israel, who were dreaming of a just, moral, progressive, and compassionate Jewish state, would say had they been able to witness the moral decadence of a so-called leader who is shattering their noble dream and putting Israel’s very existence at risk.

Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. 

16 comments for “Netanyahu’s Fortress Israel

  1. John P
    February 16, 2016 at 19:17

    And it is still a reason today why the US politicians won’t state that Israel has nuclear weapons. If it was publicly admitted that Israel had nuclear weapons by the American government then no funding could be sent to Israel from America because it has never signed onto the non -proliferation treaty. Funding would break US law. George Bush #1 made the error on a slip of the tongue once and profusely apologised.

  2. andreas w mytze
    February 16, 2016 at 09:28

    Ich bin ein Berliner: That phrase I might have heard already, in west berlin, maybe some 52 years ago……
    but much more serious: you should read Seymour Hersh’s important work on the JFK / Ben Gurion fall out……

  3. John P
    February 14, 2016 at 19:06

    Some time ago, somebody mentioned an academic piece which discussed the so called ‘Promised Land’ probably being down is south western Saudi Arabia and Yemen area as OT place names, distances, a even the name Pharaoh was used by the leader. The authors were Egyptian historians who claim that never in any Egyptian script are the kings of Egypt ever called Pharaoh, but that title had been placed on them through western misadventure.
    When things finally went badly in the region, the inhabitants travelled north along the Red Sea, an actual camel caravan route Egypt on one side and the remainder of the Levant on the other. They eventually settled in various areas and particularly in the Palestinian area. That journey may be what became known as the Exodus.
    I found it most interesting and worth a read:

    It certainly makes minced meat of hundreds of thousands of people wandering around the desert (food, water, etc) and why Egyptian history never mentions the dividing of the Red Sea and the loss of an army and other spiteful things (G)od dumped on the Egyptians.

    Also if you access Mondoweiss, there is an article suggesting that Obama is about to sign onto a deal ( much of it AIPAC material) which will recognize the occupied land as Israel’s and put the boots to BDS.

    • Dosamuno
      February 14, 2016 at 20:06

      The bible has much good poetry; a lot of bad history, science, and ethics.
      Interesting comment and link.

      Thank you.

  4. Mr Bogus
    February 14, 2016 at 02:52

    Netanyahu is smart enough to know that “Israel’s founding ideals about justice and compassion” are bunk. Israel’s founders knew that Arabs would never take kindly to having their land usurped, and from the Arab perspective, Israel could never be anything but a massive injustice in and of itself.

    I like to think of Zionism as the Jewish Crusade in the Holy Land. The First Crusader Kingdom lasted 88 years; the second, 99. Will the Zionist Crusader Kingdom last longer? Only time will tell.

  5. John Stefanyszyn
    February 13, 2016 at 10:06

    “…all of this is in the name of national security.” & in the name of FREEDOM of Self-Rights.
    Same FREEDOM that the Palestinians worship, as does all of mankind.
    A FREEDOM that confesses it right to worship any god, any belief…to define & do what is right in one’s own eyes, to serve and magnify oneself.
    But very soon, the Lord Jesus, Son of the One God, will return to rule the earth and freedom no more.

    • Dosamuno
      February 13, 2016 at 15:32

      Don’t wait for Him at the airport.
      Fools like you have been waiting for the asshole for 2,000 years now.

  6. Zachary Smith
    February 12, 2016 at 15:35

    I am developing a theory about why Mr. Alon Ben-Meir keeps writing his endless series of hand-wringing essays. It involves a term rooted in the Old Testament – scapegoat.

    In this piece my word processor counted “Netanyahu” seventeen times. Besides him, only the ‘even worse’ Naftali Bennett is named at all. Presumably, all the other citizens in Holy Israel are thwarted in their quest for their “noble dream” of a moral, progressive, and compassionate Jewish state by these two goons. Israel’s wonderful “security forces” have to keep the lid on to protect the innocent citizens from Hamas and Hezbollah and their dastardly tunnels.

    So an outsider like myself is left to wonder how the obvious asshole Netanyahu managed to get elected as Israel’s prime minister 4 times. Did Aliens from Arcturus cause the good Jewish citizens of Israel to go brain-dead when they entered the polling booths – every single time? And come to think of it, how did those Dreamers of a Great Dream happen to elect some other very well known terrorists to high office in Israel?

    David Ben-Gurion — #1 — he commanded the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Arabs during the destruction of hundreds of Palestinian villages in 1948
    Levi Eshkol — #2 — he presided over the ethnic cleansing of 250,000 Palestinians
    Menachem Begin — #3 — he was the preeminent terrorist in the Middle East … until Ben-Gurion and Eshkol surpassed him

    Netanyahu was one year old when the first big land-grab and mass murder spree began in 1948. He wasn’t even in the IDF when the second big land-grab happened in 1967.
    Israel is pure and good and wonderful for Alon Ben-Meir, but somehow he never speaks of the civil rights movement in Israel for the non-Jews there. Is that because there isn’t one? That morality, progressivism, and compassion are things to be enjoyed only by Jews in his wondrous Jewish state?

    Mr. Alon Ben-Meir has never, to my knowledge, plainly declared that Israel must depart the stolen lands. It’s always some mealy-mouthed something-or-other about negotiations for how much of the stolen land Israel gets to keep. IMO the real object of all the BS is to stall until the facts on the ground allow Israel to nail it down forever.

  7. David Smith
    February 12, 2016 at 15:04

    Too stupid to accept the offer by the USSR of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, with peace and prosperity on the Amur River forever; but just smart enough to chose reaping the whirlwind.

  8. Dosamuno
    February 12, 2016 at 14:31

    Fun Facts About Zionism:

    1. Israel does not want peace. It does not want a two state solution. It wants more territory:

    a. Eretz Israel: The Long Term Goal:
    The Israel of Theodore Herzl (1904) and Rabbi Fischmann (1947):

    In his Complete Diaries, Vol.II, Page 711, Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, says that the area of the Jewish state stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates”.

    b. “To your descendants I have given this land, from the Egyptian River as far as the great river, the Euphrates.”
    (Genesis) 15:18

    c. “This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy.”
    (Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971)

    2. God’s chosen people=Übermenschen:
    Zionism and Eugenics:

    a. “It is impossible for a man to become assimilated with people whose blood is different from his own. …We shall never allow such things as mixed marriage because the preservation of national integrity is impossible except by means of racial purity and for that purpose we will have this territory where our people will constitute the racially pure inhabitants.”
    (Vladimir Jabotinsky)

    b. “The deepest layers of our being are determined by our blood; our innermost thinking and our will are colored by it.”
    (Martin Buber)

    3. Zionist Mythology–“A land without people for a people without land.” Zionists knew this was a lie.

    a. “Following the first Zionist Congress in Basel in 1897 at which the idea of establishing a Jewish state in Palestine was first mooted, the rabbis of Vienna dispatched two representatives to investigate the suitability of the country for such an enterprise. The men reported the result of their explorations in this cable to Vienna:

    The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.

    It was already inhabited, spoken for by a native Palestinian population whose homeland it already was.”
    (Introduction to Married to Another Man, Ghada Karmi)

    b. “Zionism, be it right or wrong, good or bad is rooted in present needs, in future hopes of far profounder import than the desires of the 700,000 plus Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land”
    (Arthur Balfour)

    c. “A Jewish state would not have come into being without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them. There was no choice except to expel that population.”
    (Benny Morris)

    d. “We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs and we are building here a Hebrew, a Jewish state. Instead of Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. You do not even know the names of those villages, and I don’t blame you because the villages no longer exist. There is not a single settlement that was not established in the place of a former Arab village.”
    (Moshe Dayan, 1969)

    4. The Zionists collaborated with their friends the Nazis:

    a. The Ha’avara Agreement allowed German Jews to emigrate from Germany to Palestine. It permitted them to receive credit for assets left in Germany by exchanging these assets for bank accounts in Palestine, much of which had to be exchanged for German goods. This permitted many Jews to go to Palestine and it helped Germany to increase the production and export of German products thus undermining the anti-Nazi boycott.

    b. “If I knew that it would be possible to save all the children in Germany by bringing them over to England and only half of them by transporting them to Eretz Israel, then I would opt for the second alternative.”

    5. The Zionists collaborated with their friends the South Africans:

    a. South Africa was one of the 33 nations that supported the 1947 UN partition resolution.

    b. Chaim Weismann was a close friend of South African Prime Minister (General) Jan Smuts who was a long-time supporter of Zionism and who granted de facto recognition to the State of Israel, just two days before his United Party was voted out of office.

    c. Theodor Herzl was an admirer of South African colonial ideologue, Cecil Rhodes, and sought to employ Rhodes methods to rid Israel of Palestinians.

    d. South African investors and venture capitalists established Africa-Israel Investments to purchase land in Palestine starting in 1934.

    e. From the early 1970s to the mid 1980s, there was collaboration and integration of the two countries’ military establishments that included development and testing of nuclear weapons.

    f. “Naturally, there are big differences between Cecil Rhodes and my humble self, the personal ones very much in my disfavor; the objective ones are greatly in favor of the Zionist movement.”
    (Theodor Herzl)

    6. Israel depends on U.S. Support:

    Israel–the Jewish Pakistan:
    Theocracy and Apartheid paid for by U.S. tax dollars

    a. “Since it was founded in 1948, Israel has become the largest single recipient of U.S foreign assistance — a total of $121 billion, almost all of which has been in the form of military assistance. A 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service, “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” highlights this historical support for Israel, as well as the current appropriations of defense funding and the key areas of military collaboration.”

    b. “Annual aid to Israel from the U.S. is about $5 billion–$3 billion in military aid. Between 1949 and 1997 it amounted to about $85 billion.”
    (Stephen Zunes)

  9. Abe
    February 12, 2016 at 14:30

    We have been acting like animals, with barbarism of a degree which indeed could be, and should be, and has been, compared to those whom we love to hate – the Nazis – whose cruelty is supposed to exonerate ours. As Golda Meir told MK Shulamit Aloni: “After the Holocaust, Jews are allowed to do anything.” NO. Damn well not. We’ve used this excuse, with those words or others, together with a systematic cover-up of our own cruelties, since the start. And because we have largely succumbed to our own propaganda in this, we have failed to perceive the historical trace, which, if followed honestly, will show us that we are essentially AT THE SAME PLACE as before – still subjugating, still massacring, still torturing.

    This is not a chain of events forced upon us as an inevitable consequence of trying to “survive”. This is nonetheless a predictable outcome of our inherent state-religion – which is not Judaism, as many mistakenly think – but rather Zionism.

    We were brainwashed to think that Zionism is our savior. That as Jesus died on the cross for the Christians, our soldiers have died for our country. No – they died primarily for Zionism. “Our country”, as is mostly perceived by us, is not really “our country”. It is the country of so many others, whom we have not only expelled with unfathomable brutality, but whom we also now keep locked up in cages of various forms, shapes and styles, as well as under horrendous Apartheid regime in various degrees – in order to maintain our sacred “demographic balance” – whilst we continue, rather unabated, in our expansion over the “promised land”.

    Our occupation did not begin in 1967, neither did our cruelty and crimes. We have established a state on the mass graves of others. This was not forced upon us. Just as Begin said in 1982, concerning the 1967 war “we must be honest with ourselves…we decided to attack.” So must we be honest with ourselves about all of our other portrayals of “self-defense”. Indeed, the whole Zionist venture is essentially portrayed as a “struggle for survival”, a “struggle for self-defense”.

    Had we not hidden our crimes so well, so deep, and with so much propaganda “deterrence” rhetoric, it would perhaps be easier to believe our sincerity. On the other hand, when those crimes are exposed for what they are, it also becomes impossible to justify our moral righteousness. Indeed, as the world media became much more instantly transparent, the reality of our crimes became impossible to hide – so we put an extra focus on propaganda – to twist it all into “self defense”. We indiscriminately shelled houses and leveled neighborhoods in Gaza, for “self-defense”. We torture children, for “self-defense”.

    Let’s just say it outright: We torture and terrorize the hell out of Palestinians in order to deter them and make their lives so miserable so they will want to leave – or to revenge, which will justify our next blow.

    We have created a monster. Who on earth would want to “survive” if this is how “survival” looks? How vile is this “survival” which maintains itself upon the death and destruction of “others”? Indeed, who are those “others”? Are we not really the “others”, who came with our “better knowing” culture to “make the desert bloom”? And as this desert “blooms” with yet another settlement, another fictitious “military zone”, another “expansion” – the people who are there, the “others”, are gradually removed, encircled, or killed.

    We Jews have thus created a violent legacy to last for centuries, even if it were to stop now. If all stories were now revealed, all archives declassified (1948, 1967 and all others), it is certain that this Zionist venture would constitute another shocking and substantial chapter of barbarism and cruelty in the annals of world history.

    But it is not over – for worse, but also for better. We have the ability to stop it now. No, this does not mean our annihilation, as the propagandist Zionist hysterics would reflexively profess. It is an option, standing before us – to relinquish the reign of exclusivity, to separate the Jewish from the State, and to live in peace, with all the challenges that may face every human and every state.

    But WE are not a state. A state is not “people”. A state is a regime, a paradigm of governance. A state may belong to its citizens – but then neither “we” nor Israel constitute a real state. For the State of Israel is the state of those who hold Jewish Nationality – which supersedes their citizenship. And I refuse to be a part of this “we” if that means some ethnic-religious-national mishmash superiority. Does that necessarily mean divorcing Judaism? No, of course not. It simply means divorcing the ostensibly inextricable tie that Zionism has made between itself and Judaism, in monopolising Judaism, using a mafia-style coercion of all those who speak against it, with the (too often) applied ultimate rhetoric WMD– of “anti-Semitism”.

    This is a scare tactic that needs to be fought. If we do not rise above the intellectual atavism that this ideology submits us to, we will continue to be committing grave crimes and exonerating them as we go, in the name of this “religion”.

    […] If you want to hope for a good future with Zionism, at least do the minimum to really see what it has meant for Palestinians. That is, surprisingly, perhaps the easier part. The harder part is to look the horrors in the eye, and then look yourself in the mirror, and see what Zionism has done to you.

    To my fellow Israelis: We can stop this
    By Jonathan Ofir

    • Peter Loeb
      February 15, 2016 at 07:50


      As I have indicated elsewhere, the tortured and twisted use of the
      words “SELF-DEFENSE” has been a staple of US
      invasions, extermination, dispossession and genocide for
      years. It was Andrew Jackson’s reason for invading, dispossessing,
      and killing Native Americans in North America in the early 19th
      century and was adopted by Americans everywhere as
      a prime focus of its actions afterwards (eg “Manifest Destiny”).
      See with care Michael Paul Rogin’s FATHERS AND CHILDREN:

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  10. Gregory Kruse
    February 12, 2016 at 13:49

    I don’t think all the founders of Israel ” were dreaming of a just, moral, progressive, and compassionate Jewish state”. Weren’t most of them Zionists, dreaming of a “Greater Israel” which included most of the Middle East? And are not their descendants dreaming of the same thing? Netanyahu’s Great Fence seems like a red herring dragged across the trail to get the world off the path of realization, that the Zionists believe that God wants to give them more land, so that all the Jews in the world can have room to live together in a mini-empire ruled by King David Netanyahu and his descendants.

  11. Chet Roman
    February 12, 2016 at 13:35

    These comments on Netanyahoo are well deserved and it’s true that there are many other politicians that are even more radical than Netanyahoo, hwr, the author implies that Netanyahoo doesn’t fairly represent the majority of the zionist population of Israel, which in fact he does. Netanyahoo’s poll numbers in Israel were in the high 90’s when he was slaughtering innocent woman and children (the beasts) in Gaza by the thousands. Israelis were sitting on top of hills, eating popcorn and cheering as the bombs were falling. His rating plummeted only when he stopped the bombing.

    “I wonder what the founders of Israel, who were dreaming of a just, moral, progressive, and compassionate Jewish state,”

    Let’s be honest, “just, moral, progressive and compassionate” applied only to the Jews from the very beginning of the invasion of Palestine by the zionists. This “light unto the world” was very clever propaganda from the very beginning. From the very beginning there was a plan to ethnically cleanse the land of the non-Jewish indigenous population and 700,000 Palestinians were successfully driven out and not allowed to return. 80% of the Palestinians in Gaza are former residents or their descendants of what is now Israel and Israel continues the ethnic cleansing by periodically “mowing the lawn”.

    The U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3379 was correct; Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination. The Israelis have made a two-state solution impossible by creating facts on the ground; it’s time for the world community to sanction and boycott Israel until a one-state solution, with equal human rights and voting rights for all, is implemented.

  12. Tom Welsh
    February 12, 2016 at 13:04

    ‘Netanyahu went on to say that: “In our neighborhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.”’

    So, not racist at all then.

  13. Tom Welsh
    February 12, 2016 at 12:47

    ‘with graffiti using President John F. Kennedy’s famous quote when facing the Berlin Wall, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”.

    What, they think they are small jelly doughnuts too??

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