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Why Israel Needs a Fence

Why Israel Needs a Fence

None of the arguments against the security fence have any merit.

While the advisory finding by the International Court of Justice last week that Israel's barrier in the West Bank is illegal may be cheered by the terrorists who would kill Israeli civilians, it does not change the fact that none of the arguments against the security fence have any merit.

First, Israel is not building the fence on territory that under international law can be properly called "Palestinian land." The fence is being built in disputed territories that Israel won in a defensive war in 1967 from a Jordanian occupation that was never recognized by the international community. Israel and the Palestinians both claim ownership of this land. According to Security Council Resolution 242, this dispute is to be resolved by a negotiated peace that provides Israel with secure and recognized boundaries.

Second, the fence is not a permanent political border but a temporary security barrier. A fence can always be moved. Recently, Israel removed 12 miles of the fence to ease Palestinian daily life. And last month, Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government to reroute 20 more miles of the fence for that same purpose. In fact, the indefensible line on which many have argued the fence should run - that which existed between Israel and the Arab lands before the 1967 war - is the only line that would have nothing to do with security and everything to do with politics. A line that is genuinely based on security would include as many Jews as possible and as few Palestinians as possible within the fence.

That is precisely what Israel's security fence does. By running into less than 12 percent of the West Bank, the fence will include about 80 percent of Jews and only 1 percent of Palestinians who live within the disputed territories. The fence thus will block attempts by terrorists based in Palestinian cities to reach major Israeli population centers.

Third, despite what some have argued, fences have proven highly effective against terrorism. Of the hundreds of suicide bombings that have taken place in Israel, only one has originated from the Gaza area, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad are headquartered. Why? Because Gaza is surrounded by a security fence. Even though it is not complete, the West Bank security fence has already drastically reduced the number of suicide attacks.

The obstacle to peace is not the fence but Palestinian leaders who, unlike past leaders like Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan, have yet to abandon terrorism and the illegitimate goal of destroying Israel. Should Israel reach a compromise with a future Palestinian leadership committed to peace that requires adjustments to the fence, those changes will be made. And if that peace proves genuine and lasting, there will be no reason for a fence at all.

Instead of placing Palestinian terrorists and those who send them on trial, the United Nations-sponsored international court placed the Jewish state in the dock, on the charge that Israel is harming the Palestinians' quality of life. But saving lives is more important than preserving the quality of life. Quality of life is always amenable to improvement. Death is permanent. The Palestinians complain that their children are late to school because of the fence. But too many of our children never get to school - they are blown to pieces by terrorists who pass into Israel where there is still no fence.

In the last four years, Palestinian terrorists have attacked Israel's buses, cafes, discos and pizza shops, murdering 1,000 of our citizens. Despite this unprecedented savagery, the court's 60-page opinion mentions terrorism only twice, and only in citations of Israel's own position on the fence. Because the court's decision makes a mockery of Israel's right to defend itself, the government of Israel will ignore it. Israel will never sacrifice Jewish life on the debased altar of "international justice."

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July 12, 2004

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 13

(13) John, September 8, 2004 12:00 AM

Jews or Israelis?

I like to e-mail articles from this site (and honest reporting) to a listserv that I helped found among a college class of mine. There are several, one in particular, individual who is a "former marxist" and is quite committed to the total and utter destruction of Israel (at least to his capacity, which is nil), since they are "white oppressors" (go figure).

It would make more sense to those on the list if the term Jew were replaced with Israeli. In reality we all know that there is little difference, but from the 'religion is not part of this equation' PoV it makes more sense, and it doesn't degrade the argument.

(12) Ava, July 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Keep the Fence

Every nation has the right to protect its citizens, and so have you. Keep the fence, but make life easier for those crossing daily.

(11) Anna Read, July 21, 2004 12:00 AM

About the fence

The UN can put the order to remove thatwall where the sergeant put the pudding, and you can tell them so with my compliments.

This is outrageous; how dare they tell Israel to leave herself defenceless & open to every suicide bomber whose Mamma has raised her boy to be a human bomb ? What do they take Israelis for ? I hope that Israel will treat this 'order' with the contempt it deserves. Israel was given by G-d & any attempt to weaken or destroy it is going against His will. Anna Read, New Zealand

(10) Ari, July 21, 2004 12:00 AM

Non-violent wall

The problem with the wall is that it's a non-violent defensive measure. It's intended to save Jewish lives without hurting anyone. This is an intolerable provocation to the arabs whose culture and religion is premised on violence.

(9) khalid, July 20, 2004 12:00 AM

keep the fence.

I think that the fence would be a great idea for security if one rule was applied to the checkpoints. The Palestinians should be able to move quickly through the checkpoints upon being checked by the IDF guards. The fact that they wait up to 4 - 5 hours before being permitted can be defined as harrasment. There are reports of people including school children and women waiting for long periods and often not allowed to pass. If this situation was changed, the palestinians would not see the fence as a bad idea. No bombing=no isreali retaliation=no house demolition=no violence. The more the common people are oppressed, the desperate they become and that will lead to another dangerous generation of people. Please don't confuse this idea with those asking to be more leanient, the IDF can and should check the people going through the checkpoints as thourough as they do, but to make them wait that long is ridiculous.

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