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Battle Over the Security Fence

30 November 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Israel’s security fence has become a major international issue in the past few weeks.  Now, UN Sec. General Kofi Anan has capped off criticism with his own condemnations claiming that ensuring one’s own security does not allow for violating others’ rights, even if Israel is allowing for passage through the fence so farmers can get to their fields.  The fence does run east of the 1949 armistice line (1967 green line) in some areas and criticism of the placement of the fence can be considered valid, if it was mentioned in as many words.  He ignores the usage of a fence as a legitimate defensive measure.   

Yet one does not hear “We understand the importance of the security fence (not ‘wall’) in halting the spread of terrorism against innocent Israeli civilians, whether they be Jewish or Arab, however we are against its demarcation, preferring it to be on the 1967 line.”  Rather the Arab/Moslem world, the UN, and somewhat surprisingly Europe and even the US administration just mention their opposition to what is called the “barrier” or the “wall”.

Being for of the fence but against its demarcation (which does have political ramifications as a possible border) means one is in favor of Israel securing its civil society against terror but at variance with the Likud government’s projected policy of a permanent border.  PM Ariel Sharon claims the fence is “only” for security although many believe it is a future state boundary.  The disagreement here is quite legitimate.

A blanket castigation of the security fence is a condemnation of Israel’s battle against terrorism and the right to secure its society against terror.  Unfortunately, this is what is being heard.  Nonsense, like, “Fences are an obstacle to peace” are either totally naïve or cynicism at its worst, since successful Palestinian terror operations brought about the construction of the fence about two years too late. The right wing had always objected to any border marking between Israel and the West Bank, considering it all the Land of Israel.  Only in the past few years has Sharon endorsed the “two-state solution”.  The reason for the fence is Palestinian terrorism.  Period. As it was being planned and constructed it took on a political/diplomatic significance.

Anyone who is against Israel building a physical barrier to halt terrorism is an advocate of terrorism and by extension an enemy of the continued existence of the Jewish state.