Wednesday, January 13, 2016

CUFI Not Very Informative of BDS or The Wall

Recently I took a look at several issues of The Torch, a magazine produced by Christians United For Israel, the main pro-Israel organization for Evangelical Christians in the United States.

Every now and then CUFI talks about those calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against the State of Israel (BDS). But The Torch rarely talks about what BDS people say. What they say is usually presented in a most dire manner.

On page 7 of the Spring 2015 issue is an article promoting an organization that gets Evangelical Christians to go to the Holy Land and learn about the political situation there. They even went and talked with the man who designed the Wall.
One of the most impactful destinations was our morning with ... the architect of Israel's security barrier, also known as "The Wall." Immediately assumptions were dispelled after learning that this wall is actually 95% chain link fence. (p. 7.)
Reading the four issues of The Torch published in 2015 one would never know that it was The Wall that sparked BDS in the first place in 2005. It was issued one year after the International Criminal Court ruled that The Wall was illegal. If that Wall had not been built (or if the ruling had been followed) and further political advances made in the negotiations there may well have been no such thing as BDS. This is never explained in the four 2015 issues of The Torch.

Another issue about the Wall that is not mentioned in The Torch is how the Wall disrupts the Palestinian economy. According to the Israeli economist Shir Hever the Wall has had a most terrible impact on the economic activity of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and in the Palestinian towns connected to Jerusalem.
In total, the Wall in Jerusalem causes US$194 million in damages per annum. In the years from 2000 to 2009, it has already caused more than US$1.94 billion in income loss. These figures must be updated to account for the natural growth of the population, and will therefore increase further and continue to accumulate at an accelerated rate until the Wall is removed. (Shir Hever, The Political Economy of Israel's Occupation, Chapter 6, p. 127.)
If there is to be peace in the Holy Land the Wall needs to go. How can Palestinians be expected to just accept such a disruption to their peaceful economic activities?

The Wall has already sparked off BDS and "already caused more than US$1.94 billion in income loss" between 2000 and 2009 mainly to Palestinians. Who knows what other terrible things it will cause? The Wall needs to go.

(Incidentally I recommend Hever's book. I found it a most informative and thought provoking work. For me it had all the charm and wonder of a well written detective story. If only it was merely fiction.)

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