Only In Israel

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The story of Baqa (or how to make a fence into a wall).

A few years ago, when the fence construction was just beginning, it began in the place where it was most needed. The garbage dump of the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm. Unbelievably, before the fence was constructed, anyone, and I do mean anyone could cross over from Jenin's town center directly into Israel within less than an hour.

The fence then cut to the west, separating settlements like Shaqed and Rehan from the West Bank, and then returned to the Green Line, separating Kibbutzim Metzer and Magal from the neighbouring Arab villages of Qafin and Zeta. That entire section of the fence was very hotly contested by no else than the Israelis living in the Kibbutzim. They had a great relationship with the Arab villages surrounding them, specificly the Palestinian village of Qafin, many of whose residents worked in the Kibbutz. The Kibbutz member, most of whom are very very leftist, many supporters of "Peace Now" and "Gush Shalom" protested against the fence and tried to help their friends from Qaffin to fight the fence. And then something happened.

KIBBUTZ METZER, Israel, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Close to midnight the militant kicked open the door to Revital Ohayon´s small apartment in Kibbutz Metzer, 29 miles northeast of Tel Aviv.
He crossed the living room and entered the children´s room. Ohayon, 34, grabbed her little children and tried to shield them. They were screaming. Their voices traveled miles over an open phone line to her ex-husband, Avi, 34, who had just been talking to her.
The gunman pulled the trigger, killing Ohayon and her two sons, 5- year-old Matan and 4-year-old Noam. Some the bullets punctured the gray wood paneling beside a bloodstained bed.

Every objection to the fence was forgotten and the fence was built near Qaffin, on the Green line. Then, southwards, the fence planners had a real dilemma. The Arab Israeli town of Baqa al-gharbiyyah lay west of the Green line, it's citizens were IsraelArabs, loyal to the country. The Palestinian town of Baqa al-sharqiyyeh lay east of the Green line, it's citizens were Palestinians. Since 1967 the two villages were practicly joined together, with a crowded market which Israelis frequented in between. The choice made was not to separate the two villages (who have family ties, and are completely interconnected to one another), but rather move the fence to the east, thus making Baqa el-Sharqiyyeh and Baqa el-Gharbiyyeh united, on the Israeli side of the fence.

The blue line marks the original route of the fence,
the red line marks the current route.
source: Israeli Ministry of Defense.

The ISM and similar organisations protested, and appealed to the supreme court. The court ordered the fence to be moved and the fence east to Baqa was removed, and a new fence was built, directly on the Green line.

Workers dismantle the fence east of Baqa, 2003.

Houses were demolished, the entire Israeli-Palestinian market was destroyed, and a large wall was erected to separate the Israeli Baqa from the Palestinian Baqa. Why a wall? Because in a crowded town that's the only means out there to prevent people from crossing over, delivering weapons and suicide bombers.
Even now, although the fence is directly on the Green line, the Palestinians still protest. There are protests against the fence all the time in that region, even though it takes no Palestinian land whatsoever.

And this is the story of how a society destroys itself. First they alienated their allies from Metzer, thus sped up the construction of the fence, and then, by demanding the fence to be on the Green line, they separated families from each other, caused house demolitions, and made a fence into a wall.


  • From waaaaay over here it seems like certain extremists wanted to put a divide between the supportive Israelis and their Arab neighbors, and hence the killings. Examples of peaceful coexistence are very frightening to all extremists. They're much happier when formal injustice is imposed.

    By Blogger brainhell, at 8:47 PM, January 28, 2006  

  • Dear Soldier/Blogger,

    This is mostly a humorously inaccurate description of what happened, a nice effort to rewrite history.

    It's funny because you have tried to pretend you know what happened in that area in 2002 -2004, even before you were a soldier involved in supporting land theft for the Wall. I hate to inform you, but I know quite a bit about that period and Qaffin, Kibbutz Metzer, Baka, Zeita, etc. from direct experience.

    I will collect the facts and post them shortly.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:58 PM, January 28, 2006  

  • Translation to what ISMer said:

    "I have no clue, but I will contact our PR headquaters immideatly to see how I can lie to make this look better"

    As my blog indicates, I have been involved in political discussions long before I joined the military. I followed the fence construction as a civilian as well.
    Also, as someone who has been on the scene and spoke to the people of Metzer, I think I know fairly more than you do.

    Do notice, I backed my story by facts, something you should try too once in a while.

    By Blogger OnlyInIsrael, at 9:10 PM, January 28, 2006  

  • Let there be no doubt, ISM'er will ignore the part about how the terrorists brutally killed that mother and her 2 little children. After all, these are just Jews being murdered. Who cares, right?

    It makes me sick to see that humanity has sunk so low where people would choose to identify with and help those murderous terrorist, not caring about their victims.

    And your remark about how the ISMer is rushing off to ask his superiors how to respond is right on!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 PM, January 28, 2006  

    January 27 , 2006

    Israeli soldier authors best-selling novel on Middle East conflict
    ******Little, Brown publishes MATCHES by Alan Kaufman, about an American Jew serving in the Israel Defence Forces in Gaza and West Bank*****
    ******MATCHES makes San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller list

    Alan Kaufman, author of the recently released novel MATCHES (Little, Brown; 245 pages; $13.95 paperback served as an infantry soldier on the front lines of one of the most unremitting armed face-offs in the world: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    MATCHES has so far received rave reviews. In her front page review of MATCHES in the San Francisco Chronicle Book ReviewFOR LOVE OF ANOTHER COUNTRY / MATCHES Review, Elizabeth Kien wrote:” San Francisco author Alan Kaufman is an American who joined the Israeli Defence Forces two decades ago and returned for multiple tours of duty, most recently in 2003. He writes as a man at peace with his dedication to Israel and the horrors he has witnessed patrolling the Gaza Strip. But the voices in his new novel, "Matches," bristle with the barbs of young men who have something to prove. You hear it in the edgy insults bandied about by brothers-in-arms -- the friendly jibes tinged with malice without which no war literature is complete. Questions of purpose flare up through the pages of "Matches" with the regularity of mortar fire. But unlike many war chronicles, this account is not bitter. He is frank about the conditions he confronts, detailing the stench, squalor and perfidy of Gaza with philosophical righteousness.”

    The title MATCHES is an Israeli army term for a soldier, or one who "strikes, burns, and dies."

    Publishers Weekly calls MATCHES:”A fascinating look at the story behind the numbing newspaper tallies.”
    Booklist says: “MATCHES shows how war damages a man's soul. This is Catch-22 without the comic relief, a stunning tale of betrayal, guilt, love, and war.”
    Ecclectica calls MATCHES: “The first great war novel of the 21st Century.”

    **To interview Alan Kaufman, please contact 415-567-6689 or
    **For a copy of MATCHES and press materials, please contact Bonnie Hannah, Little Brown Publicity Department, 212-522-8069 or

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:51 AM, January 30, 2006  

  • OII,

    You're only 20 and probably a hothead, but this would have been your better response:

    "As my blog indicates, I have been involved in political discussions long before I joined the military. I followed the fence construction as a civilian as well. As to your 'facts' ... 'bring them on.'

    By Blogger brainhell, at 7:40 PM, January 30, 2006  

  • The only "humorous innacuracies" are the shameful lies spewed by the terrorist-sympathizing (and on occasion *supporting*) International Solidarity Movement. Exhibit A- the sanctifying of one Rachel Corrie, who decided to play chicken with a bulldozer. The ISM then made up a host of lies, the most egregious of which was that Corrie was trying prevent the destruction of an innocent Palestinian home. Corrie's parents concurred. In 2004, they stated, "Rachel was an unarmed peace activist trying to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist, his wife, and three children."

    Corrie was not a "peace activist", inasmuch as she was a member of an organization that endorses "armed struggle" against the Israelis. Then there's this iconic photo: Not very peaceful, huh?

    But then there's the pesky facts which obstruct the ISM's sainthood of Corrie. The Israeli bulldozer wasn't demolishing homes, but a tunnel used to smuggle weapons. The IDF completed an investigation into the incident, which is summarized here:

    Bottom line, I'd take anything the ISM says with a grain of salt. Everything they do is aimed at supporting Palestinian terrorism, and obstructing IDF anti-terror operations.

    OnlyInIsrael, keep up the good fight.

    ADAN Lomberg, Jason

    By Blogger Jason Lomberg, at 9:10 PM, February 03, 2006  

  • A grain of salt... I'd rather burry their statements with a truckload of it.

    By Blogger Nemesis6, at 12:27 AM, February 04, 2006  

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