Adele Raemer
Life on the Border with the Gaza Strip

Welcome to the Western Negev Ghetto

Shvil La-shalom, path to peace, Visitors Center, in Netiv Haasara. (Courtesy)
Shvil La-shalom, path to peace, Visitors Center, in Netiv Haasara. (Courtesy)

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall.” (Robert Frost)

Especially when it makes NO sense!

The plan for a wall along the road from Yad Mordechai to Nachal Oz, was announced last night on the Channel 12 news. The purpose of the wall: to add an additional layer of protection against infiltration into Sderot and the neighboring communities. It won’t prevent infiltration (look how deep it is into Israel). It will just slow down their progress towards Sderot and some of the other communities.

Screenshot of Channel 12 news

This seems absurd and wrong, in so many ways. Rather than being proactive in dealing with the problem, the plan is to encompass us in a concrete ghetto.

Hamas leadership, still (as always) continue demonizing the “Zionist Foe,” calling for the destruction of Israel. Their leaders live in unbelievable luxury while the citizens of Gaza wallow in the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Disease and ecological disaster loom as a result of the flowing, untreated sewage water. Sewage systems can’t be repaired for lack of supplies (and yet the Hamas had cement-a-plenty to build tens of attack tunnels). Unemployment is rampant – over 50% – leading to abject poverty. The electricity runs in the Gazan wires for very few hours each day – affecting the ability to keep food safe, do laundry, not to mention other life-supporting uses. I could go on and on, but bottom line: a desperate, hungry neighbor is a very dangerous neighbor, and the Hamas know very well how to keep them poor and hungry, and take advantage of the fury that comes to a rolling boil as a result.

Rather than proactively dealing with these threats, we have become a construction company now seeking funding for a repulsive (physically but also philosophically) 6-meter high concrete wall, to “further prevent infiltrators” who manage to slip through the fence, and evade radar and IDF soldiers. This project, estimated price-tag: tens of millions of shekels, is set to be built along sections of roads 34, 232,25 for 9 kilometers. The map shows the planned wall to be situated EAST of three of our communities (Erez, Nir Am and Kfar Aza). In other words, those three kibbutzim will be on the wrong side of the wall. What does this say about the need to protect THEM? That they will be handed to the terrorists on a silver platter? Maybe the plan includes signs: “Infiltrators: this way. Dining room here, children’s houses there.” Will they need special passports, to enter and leave their communities? Maybe they will be made into “Duty Free” zones?

The only TV channel I have seen reporting this, is Channel 12. Why do we learn about something like this through the news? Why isn’t the government presenting it to us? Explaining the logic (I am assuming there IS logic… despite the fact that it evades me now) of this latest tactical plan? Or is it just a political ploy? An attempt to convince Sderot citizens that the present government is doing so much to protect them?

We have safe rooms and safe areas and walls under the ground and above it. We are being swathed in cement, enclosed in walls and barriers, kitted with concrete to the teeth. What is the next plan? A humongous physical dome over the entire Western Negev? How about something that will TRULY protect us? We ask our government for a solution, and this is what they come up with?

About the Author
Born in the USA, Adele has lived in a Kibbutz on the border with the Gaza Strip since 1975. She is a mother and a grandmother living and raising her family on the usually paradisaical, sometimes hellishly volatile border. She moderates a FB group named "Life on the Border". Adele recently retired after 38 years as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language, as well as a teacher trainer and counselor for the Israeli MoE for EFL and a Tech Integration Coach. She blogs here about both Life on the Border, as well as about digital pedagogy, in "Digitally yours, @dele". She is a YouTuber, mostly on the topic of digital stuff. ( Her personal channel covers other issues close to her heart (medical clowning, Life on the Border, etc.) ( In addition, she is a trained medical clown and, although on COVID hiatus, until allowed back into hospitals, she clowns as often as she can in the pediatric ward in the hospital in Ashkelon. As a result of her activity as an advocate for her region, she was included among the Ha'aretz "Ten Jewish Faces who made Waves in 2018" In November 2018 she was invited to Geneva by an independent investigative committee for the UN to bear witness to the border situation, and in December 2019 addressed the UN Security Council at the request of the US ambassador to the UN.
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