If Wales was the West Bank…

If Wales was the West Bank, domestic law covering the whole of the UK would codify English as the preferred identity, and English people would have full collective and civil rights, while all other people, including the Welsh, Scottish and Irish, would lack the right to a full national life anywhere in the UK. All state resources would be declared as being for the exclusive benefit of English people, and would be administered by a special English Agency. Wales would be divided into reserves in which residence and entry was determined by identity. This situation would be enforced by a massive military presence.

If Wales was the West Bank, over 50% of Welsh land would have been appropriated for the exclusive benefit of English people, including English settlements, special security zones, a security wall separating Wales from England which took in 10% of Welsh land, English agricultural settlements, closed military zones, English-only roads and highways, and nature preserves. Welsh people would be prohibited from using or crossing English-only roads and territory, while English people would be face no such restrictions in travel. In all, there would be 699 restrictions on Welsh movements, and 38 statutes which the English authorities could use to appropriate Welsh land.

If Wales was the West Bank, there would be two separate bodies of law in operation: one set of military laws which applied to all native Welsh people, and English domestic law which covered all English settlers living in Wales.

If Wales was the West Bank, the municipal boundaries of Welsh towns and cities would be frozen, Welsh people would be denied the right to build new houses outside of municipal boundaries, and thousands of houses built without a permit would be routinely demolished by UK authorities. Welsh communities would soon face major problems of overcrowding and pressure on services.

If Wales was the West Bank, English settlers would be encouraged to come and settle on Welsh territory. Even if they had lived overseas for generations in places like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, they would get automatic English citizenship upon settling in Wales. They would also receive grants to cover the costs of moving there, permanent exemption from real estate and employment taxes, free education, and special grants for rent and utilities. Welsh inhabitants would not receive any such benefits.

If Wales was the West Bank, any Welsh person who moved to another country would immediately lose their right to return to live in Wales. English settlers would be allowed to reside or hold citizenship in another country without losing their right to reside in Wales.

If Wales was the West Bank, Welsh people would not have the right to citizenship in the UK, nor to citizenship in Wales, as Wales would not be recognized as a country. In contrast, English people anywhere in the world would have the automatic right to UK citizenship and access to assistance to return and settle there. There would be more than half a million English settlers in 120 settlements and outposts across Wales, taking up half of all Welsh land.

If Wales was the West Bank, Welsh people would have to suffer a burdensome permit system which required them to get a permit for almost everything, from repairing their home, making a deposit in their bank account, planting fruit trees, and which fields they might use their tractor in. English settlers would not face the same permit system.

If Wales was the West Bank, Welsh people would have to obtain permits to grow crops; permits would be granted on the basis of whether they competed with English agricultural production or not. In particular, Welsh farmers would need to get a special permit to grow onions (as a means of restricting their use as a palliative for the effects of teargas). No Welsh person would be allowed to establish a business which employed more than 10 people.

If Wales was the West Bank, all Welsh newspapers would have to get a permit and all publications would have to be approved by an English military censor.

If Wales was the West Bank, 87% of water supplies would be diverted to England and English settlers, while 13% would be distributed back to the Welsh population. Welsh people would pay from 4 to 20 times more for their water than English settlers, and would be restricted to 10 to 60 litres of water per day (less than the 100 litres per day minimum standard set by the World Health Organisation). English settlers would enjoy 274 to 450 litres per day, and every single English settlement would be connected to a running water network, while more than 200 Welsh communities would have no running water.

If Wales was the West Bank, Welsh people would be subject to military law, and would be tried by military tribunals in which there was no presumption of innocence, defendants would not be informed of charges until the first hearing, court decisions would often be based on secret evidence, the average hearing would last 3 minutes and 4 seconds, the military could hold defendants for six months without charge or trial (the six months could be renewed indefinitely), and acquittals would be obtained in only 0.29% of cases. Welsh children would be prosecuted as adults at age 12, while English settler children would not be prosecuted as adults until age 18.

If Wales was the West Bank, over 40% of the Welsh male population would have been imprisoned at some point, and 45 members of the Welsh Assembly would be in prison for belonging to a political party deemed a threat to the UK. Most Welsh political parties would be declared ‘terrorist organisations’, and any charitable, educational or cultural organisations deemed to be connected directly or indirectly to a political party would be subject to closure, destruction, and military attacks.

If Wales was the West Bank, Welsh public gatherings of more than 10 people would be forbidden unless the military authorities were given advance notice and the names of all attendees. English military forces would use live ammunition, tear gas, sounds bombs, rubber bullets and physical violence against public gatherings and demonstrations.

If you think this sounds far-fetched, check out the report, ‘Is Israel an Apartheid State?’ What is described above is only a small fraction of the restrictions and burdens currently on Palestinians.

My question is: can Israel really claim to be a democracy when it operates such a system? This situation is not only a crime against Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which states ‘the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’; it is also a real injustice against ordinary Palestinians and a major source of insecurity and violence, as apartheid in South Africa before it was. When will our politicians take it seriously and make a meaningful effort to resolve it? Why does America continue to openly support such a gross and open injustice? Why does the EU allow Israel a unique and special exemption from human rights obligations in order to trade?

It is time to stand up for Palestine, for justice and for peace.

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About richardjacksonterrorismblog

I am currently the Deputy Director of the National Peace and Conflict Studies Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Prior to this, I was Professor of International Politics at Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK. I study and teach on issues of terrorism, political violence, conflict resolution and war. I have published several books on these topics, including: Terrorism: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2011; co-authored with Lee Jarvis, Jeroen Gunning and Marie Breen Smyth); Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Cases (Abingdon: Routledge, 2010; edited by Richard Jackson, Eamon Murphy and Scott Poynting); Critical Terrorism Studies: A New Research Agenda (Abingdon: Routledge, 2009; edited by Richard Jackson, Marie Breen Smyth and Jeroen Gunning); Conflict Resolution in the Twenty-first Century: Principles, Methods and Approaches (Ann Arbor MI: Michigan University Press, 2009; co-authored with Jacob Bercovitch); and Writing the War on Terrorism: Language, Politics and Counterterrorism (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2005). I am also the editor-in-chief of the academic journal, Critical Studies on Terrorism.
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5 Responses to If Wales was the West Bank…

  1. Hamish Low says:

    Brilliant! Perhaps another version substituting Canada for Wales and the U.S for England may aid in persuading some of our friends across the Atlantic.

  2. alan says:

    Respectively must disagree. You only you left out the part which would make it a fair comparison – Wales wanting the rest of England and not simply the English out of Wales, Welsh leaders calling for driving the English into the sea, and oh yes, the most important point – Wales and England in the UN in 1947 both being granted sovereignty and self-rule, only Wales refusing to accept it and demanding all others in the region fight with them to finish off the English. Too bad history isn’t taught anymore or is ignored. Too bad for your side Hitler gave anti-semetism a bad name.

  3. Astonishing that the editor of a journal called “Critical Studies in Terrorism” can write over 1000 words on Israel and Palestine without mentioning once the names of the radical Islamist terrorist groups whose actions and policies have precipitated three wars in Gaza and one in Lebanon in the last nine years. In this article missing are such words as “Hamas,” “Islamic Jihad,” or “Islamism.” The only time the word terrorism is mentioned is in scare quotes and in the title of this clearly misnamed blog. One also fails to find any mention of the goals of these Islamist organizations, namely the destruction of Israel and the slaughter and expulsion of its Jewish citizens. This absence of any critique of radical Islamist terrorism aimed specifically at Israeli non-combatant civilians, tempts one to think the author’s critical thinking skills have given way to trendy politicized group think.

    • By your logic, Yitzhak, there is no other choice but for Israel to kill every single Hamas member and all their supporters. Given they are so implacable and committeed to the slaughter of Jews and the destruction of Israel, then there is no option but to kill all of them. They will never give in and they will never change. Given that Palestinian civilians vote for Hamas and Palestinian children grow up and join Hamas, Israel should kill them too. There is no point in oppressing them with apartheid-like laws, or stealing their water, or blockading them, or blowing up their schools and hospitals; just destroy them all. If Israel takes this path, then it will both rid itself of an existential threat and free up more land for settlements. This is your logic. What other options are there against such an enemy? Be brave Yitzhak and just say that you want to slaughter all the Palestinians so Israel can be rid of the threat.

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