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February 21, 2011 12:11 pm

Don’t Fence Me In

avatar by Josh Hasten

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Security fence near Jerusalem. Photo: Jacob Rask

There it was, as if it appeared out the blue – the latest section of Israel’s security fence being erected – concrete slab by concrete slab –  about 20 meters high in the air.  On Monday, when I drove on the bridge in-between the tunnels which link Gush Etzion to Jerusalem, there were only the relatively short protective panels on the side of the road in addition the bulletproof barriers, which have been part of the landscape since the “Oslo War” of 2000. Now, just two days later, on a Wednesday, construction crews using massive cranes already had up about one third of this new gargantuan structure.  The fence (this part is actually a wall) when finished will serve as a complete separation between the PA controlled town of Beit-Jala and route 60, the main north/south artery which runs nearly the entire length of Judea and Samaria.

While I fully support Israel taking the necessary defensive measures needed to protect its civilian population, the fence is not the answer.  Yes, there is no doubt that the barrier saves lives.  All statistics point to a sharp reduction, if not nearly an entire elimination of the suicide bombing threat, which plagued this country’s population centers from 2000 until it fizzled out several years ago.

However, that being said, the fence is not the answer to our problems, but it acts merely like a Band-aid – put over a wound to prevent infection, but without the power to heal.  Just like it is really the body, which over time dries, scabs, and then heals a wound, Israeli policy makers need to start putting together long-term plans towards healing, and stop these temporary cover-up solutions.

In addition to the construction of the fence, the shortsighted policies of withdrawing from Lebanon (IDF) and Gaza (all soldiers and civilians), were only Band-aids.  Just six years later in 2006, after pulling out of Lebanon, our country was dragged into a war on the Northern border. In addition, in 2008, just over three years after leaving Gaza, Israel was forced into another war, this time on our Southwestern front.  And most recently it seems that Israel is ready to make a deal with the Palestinian Authority to relinquish large swaths of land throughout Judea and Samaria while we cower behind fences and hope for the best.

Turning over more territory to an unproven “peace partner” is just another wet and soggy Band-aid waiting to fall off. If Israel really wants to protect herself for the long term, a policy has to be established which will eliminate the chances of a “cut” even before the blood begins to drip.

Why even take a chance and negotiate with the PA when:

  • Official Palestinian Authority television continues to incite against Israel on a daily basis
  • The PA’s official educational curriculum and summer camps teach and promote hate and violence for Arab children towards Israelis
  • The emblem of our “peace partner” Fatah still to this day depicts an armed struggle for the entire land of Israel with the word “Palestine” written on it
  • Streets and town squares throughout the PA continue to be named after terrorist murderers
  • The PA brass continues to call for sanctions against Israel throughout the various UN affiliated bodies all over the world

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not forget that while the world vehemently urges Israel to “give peace a chance”, the Hamas terror group sits relatively quiet in Gaza, improving its missile and rocket technology, preparing to hit the suburbs of Tel-Aviv when it is deemed that the time is right.  Why negotiate peace when the PA doesn’t even have authority over all of the areas in the discussion?

As they say in sports which holds true in life, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.  Israel needs to implement long-term policies which disable those that continue to see our destruction.  Instead of fencing ourselves in, a clear message needs to be sent that incitement to violence is akin to violence and will not be tolerated.

For the benefit of our country including the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, all the corrupt remnants of Yasser Arafat and his PA disciples should be given a one-way ticket back to Tunisia.  A new leadership should be established, one that recognizes Israel’s historical, both Biblical and modern, connection and rights to the entire land of Israel.   Those Arabs that want to live in peace should be able to do so, but there is simply no room for two states between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

Once life becomes normal in Judea and Samaria and Israelis are no longer enclosed behind claustrophobia inducing Band-aid fences, we can then turn our attention to Hamas, but that’s a story for another day.

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  • Ellen Peck

    Well said Mr. Hasten.

    • Janet Clare

      I hate the wall too. It divides and scars the Land of Israel,is a big waste of megashekels, and does not defend against terrorist attacks. It’s just so sad, those grey slabs ghettoizing our beautiful people and homeland.

      “Tear down that wall, Mr. Barak!”

      • meir gush etzion

        And besides..the wall makes life overly difficult for Palestinians who want to farm their land and causes hardship and lack of mobility for Palestinians in general.

        I am sure that Mr. Hasten is concerned about this aspect as well.

        • Janet Clare

          Don’t worry, Meir, Israel tried very hard not to run the wall through Arab farm land. When the Arab contractors that are building the wall did, the farmers were either compensated with adjacent Jewish Land or a special gate was installed and the Arab farmer given a key. Also, any Philistine can get around the fence and avoid its check points as it is only 1/3 completed, last I read.

          As for terrorists, I once heard a clip from “IDF Radio” (which is openly biased against the IDF and religious Jews, as is the custom in Israeli media) who were requesting call-ins from poor Palestinians inconvenienced by road work + a temporary check pt. between Jerusalem and Ramallah (Mukhassa headquarters of the Palestinian Authority & the PLO Terrorist Network, both headed by Abbas). The hosts were dramatically castigating the IDF for making one Arab caller late to his job. “What do you do?” they asked. “I work for the Network. I’m Tanzin.” he defiantly announced. To their credit, the hosts were shocked to be commiserating with an open terrorist.

          So even Philistine terrorists will be able to shoot over, shoot through, go around, tunnel under, borrow a gate key to, or take the inconvenience of going through a check point of the fence. It’s purpose is mainly as a border to separate Jews from their land in Biblical Israel.