Monday, July 25, 2005

Justifying the Fence: A Surprising Source

The New York Times is often harshly critical of Israel. OK, not all the time. Much of their reporting is factual. Some, however, does seem to have a bias. Today, however, there was a truly excellent article titled In Most Cases, Israel Thwarts Suicide Attacks Without a Shot. Yes, there are successful attacks, most recently on July 12 in Netanya. To quote a relevant point:

Israel is also building a separation barrier - an electronic fence and in some places a huge concrete wall - to make it harder for would-be bombers to enter Israel.

That, of course, is the whole point of the fence: to stop terrorism and save lives. "Unilateral separation", as former Prime Minister Barak termed it, or "disengagement", to use current Prime Minister Sharon's preferred term, is all about making the conflict nearly impossible by keeping the two sides apart. Ehud Barak's famous line "Us here, them over there" is often portrayed by apologists for Palestinian terrorism as racism. It is the Palestinians who want the territories to be Judenrein and Israel is accommodating that wish, at least in Gaza. It is portrayed as an "apartheid fence" yet Israeli Arabs, who comprise 18% of the population, are full citizens of Israel. The Palestinians wish to expel the Jewish population from the territories much as Jordan and Egypt did in 1948. Gush Etzion was Jewish before 1948 yet it is unacceptable to the Palestinians that there are Jews there now.

Of course the Palestinian leadership opposes separation because it prevents their armed struggle. It saves lives on both sides but the Palestinian leadership, who could have had a state in 1967, in 2000, and could have one in short order now, seem to be more interested in terrorism. The PA website still shows all of Israel as part of "Palestine". Who is guilty of apartheid? Who is guilty of terrorism? Of racism?

I commend the New York Times for portraying the fence correctly for a change. It's about time. To quote Ariel Sharon: "If there was no terrorism there would be no need for a fence."

The real victims, of course, are ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who would like nothing better than to live in peace and get on with their lives. Who is responsible for this victimization: those who try to stop the violence by building a fence or those who carry out terrorist attacks and can't accept the existence of Israel?

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