Seperation barrier and threats to peace

One thing the critics of Israel like to point out is the concrete separation barrier in between the main part of Israel and the West Bank.

A tour leader I spoke to told us that the concrete wall only accounts for less than 5% of the fence in between.

Not so easy to see in this picture perhaps but there is just a chain link fence in between the Jewish orchards and Palestinian towns in the background, the silver things is some rows of fruit trees with plastic sheeting over them.

Here we are passing in a quite narrow strip of land in Israel parallel with Tel Aviv.

I have done some more experimenting with Google Maps.

Note – please press the [ – ] button to zoom out on each of these maps to get a better understanding of where you are looking at.

This line drawn across is only 8.8 miles this show how narrow this section of Israel would be in parallel to a possible Palestinian state, further down a bit is Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport, this especially needs to be carefully guarded with the flights arriving and departing each day.

This map here shows the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Beer Sheva, both of these cities have been hit in recent months by GRAD missiles, these have a radius of 25 miles /40 kilometres. The diagrams show these cities are just in proximity of attacks from Gaza, now I don’t know where these are launched from in the Gaza strip exactly, so this is approximate but you should be able to get the idea, these cities are just about reachable by GRADs, and there is fear that other weapons could reach further in.

For those of you who think the middle east crisis can be fixed with a two state solution, I would advise you to check out this site, it shows how Israel’s borders are defended, and how a new Palestinian state is impractical as well as wrong I believe from a Christian biblical point of view.

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

I personally want to see safety and security of all people here, but I think its important know exactly the threats and practicalities involved here.

Jerusalem bus station terrorist attack

Lunch time two days ago I learned with horror about a terrorist attack in Jerusalem, which has left one dead and 39 injured.

Here, in Jerusalem, a lot Christians and Messianic Jews I know here all know each other, partly down to Facebook I guess, but also as I know numerous different Christian organisations here, and today I hear stories from people who were nearby just a short time before it happened.

Jerusalem’s large central bus station has been targeted before by deadly attacks but not in a long time.  When I have visited it requires turning out your pockets of metal things before going through a metal detector, as well as having your bag put through an X-ray, but not only that, when I have waited to meet a friend outside there, if you are stood still directly outside, then a security guard will challenge you are ask you what you are doing loitering,  I attempted to lock my bike on some railings about 10 metres away from the bus station only to be shouted at that this wasn’t allowed.

Whilst working in IT before I came here I had the chance to see IT solutions, processes and other things that Israel has invented and sold to police, military and government agencies around the world to help other nations fight against terrorist threats.

For me and many of the people I work with, we still haven’t got over the huge tragedy in Japan especially as I have worked several Japanese people, their families were not harmed, but seeing their home countries under danger from a worryingly unstable nuclear power plant and images of massive destruction has to be heartbreaking.  I enjoying working with the Japanese staff, I suppose you don’t see that many Japanese people come to the UK to visit, but I admire that they are so hardworking, resilient, and pleasant to be with.

For me that day, I was at the other end of Jerusalem, in Talpiyot at Bridges for Peace’s Outreach centre, a warehouse building that supplies food to the needy, either directly to people or put on palettes that go out to third party organisations that distribute it, so I didn’t know anything about this until a colleague got a phone call.  Our main building is about 2 miles from where the bomb happened.

I have lived in Portsmouth’s Somerstown district which has a high crime rate, often walked past Guildhall walk, a strip of bars and clubs in the same city so popular for fights and trouble, and ambulance team hovers over this area most weekend nights ready.   I have also been to ghetto parts of Los Angeles (just after 9/11) and Las Vegas which really made me uncomfortable, especially LA’s bus station, especially when you feel like you are being followed.   These things are all relative.   My cousin lives in Christchurch, New Zealand and he has had to deal with the devastating earthquake there, that has happened twice now.

Some people that visit Israel are surprised at how much security is here when you go through the airport and how metal detector doorways are in shopping malls and restaurants, its not a big inconvenience when go out and about town.

I do feel normally very safe here.   I would urge anyone who is thinking of visiting the holyland not to be deterred by current events as long as you are sensible and stick to known areas.