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Why is Israel building that fence?

By borful in Op-Ed
Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 01:12:22 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Israel is building a fence system between (mostly) its own citizens and (mostly) Palestinian people. They've budgeted about $200 million this year, and maybe a total of $750 million to build the whole thing. Boston Globe

Why are they doing this? My question isn't "Why do they SAY they're building it?" but "Why are they really building it?"


They say they're building the wall to keep the bad guys out.
The Guardian back in June had this to say: "The new wall, and the sophisticated surveillence equipment which will supplement it, has a simple overriding purpose: to keep suicide bombers and other Palestinian militants out of Israel itself."
Also back in June, CNN has a similar article, saying

Israel's government insists the fence -- which will stretch along the border between Israel and the West Bank -- is meant only to provide security, not to form a border. Public pressure for such a fence has soared with every Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel.


Running a fence down the length of the land, even assuming that it is a perfect barrier, just won't provide the security they claim to be looking for. There will still be Palestinians on the Israel side of the fence; there will still be people moving through the checkpoints at the gates in the wall, and there are still going to be ways around the wall. They're not trying to seal off all of Israel so there's nothing keeping the bad guys from walking around the wall. The wall is not a perfect barrier: they can tunnel under it, smash through it (and run like mad to get away before the patrols get there) or fly over it.

The fence has not been met with positive responses from anyone not associated with the government of Israel. The Bush administration has even been cool on the subject, calling it "not constructive". The Palestinians are quite upset.

Sharon is an experienced military commander who led small unit raids over this very terrain. He knows full well that the fence may make life somewhat more difficult for the bad guys, but it won't stop them. It probably won't even slow them down. Why is he authorizing the hundreds of millions of dollars that the fence will cost?

When I went out on the web looking for actual quotes from Sharon, I surfed across this site in .au where the columnist came up with this idea:

But the more that fence is extended and fortified, the more it will become apparent Israel's hardliners have no choice but to abandon the delusion of a Greater Israel stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

If this guy is right, maybe Sharon is not driving this at all; maybe the doves are really driving it, to drill the idea of giving land away into the heads of the hawks. Seems unlikely to me.

Satirewire thinks it's a plan by Arabs to get Israel to fence itself in.

I think Israel plans to use the fence as a bargaining chip. In negotiations, to seem to be bargaining in good faith, you have to give something to get something. Sharon doesn't want to give up any land or settlements, so he needs to have something to give. He can get started on the fence, getting benefits in the short term - it's good for domestic politics and it will have some effect on the bad guys. If negotiations go well, he doesn't even have to build the whole wall - he can suspend the building as a good faith gesture. If he actually gets the wall built - if negotiations last for years - he still has something to give up later.

What leads me to this conclusion is that I don't think that the fence could exist as part of a peaceful solution. Israel gets a lot of its labor from the Palestinians. The Palestinians get jobs in Israel. Each side needs the other for the economy to function. The only way for peace to succeed is for Palestinians to commute to work in Israel. The fence with its checkpoints is a big obstacle in the way of people getting to work. I just don't see any peace plan working if that fence is there.

My questions to the community are these: Why is the fence really being built? Do you see a viable peace that includes the fence?

-borful

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Why is Israel building that fence? | 91 comments (86 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
Once upon a time... (4.50 / 2) (#1)
by graal on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:05:45 PM EST

...some person in Texas proposed building The Great Wall of Texas. It made the news for about ten minutes, then faded right off the "news of the strange" radar screen. I remember mentioning it to a friend of mine, who thought about if for a second and said "Good. About time someone figured out a way to contain those people."

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)

Minefield (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by RyoCokey on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 11:56:43 PM EST

I've always suggested a minefield. There's not a whole lot out in the desert, to trigger the mines, and they're fairly cheap to deploy. Psychological impact works better than a wall as well.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Which desert? (4.50 / 2) (#44)
by bobpence on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:54:32 AM EST

Are you trying to keep out Mexicans or Palestinians? Either way, it's bad enough that the U.S. government supports the continued existence of the DMZ minefields between the divided parts of Korea, the idea of installing new ones grates badly. Princess Di will come after you!
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]
The US shares a border with Palestine? (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by RyoCokey on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:07:43 PM EST

He was referring to the "great wall of Texas" hence my reply referred to the US/Mexican border. I doubt there's enough room to properly place a minefield between the disputed territories, especially as some dividing lines run through cities.



If there really is a causation between porn and rape, then I say bring on the bukkak
[
Parent ]
Cities like Nogales? (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by bobpence on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 06:28:43 PM EST

I think you meant Israel and Palestine when you spoke of "between the disputed territories." It is half amusing and half frightening how much the Israel/Palestine and the U.S./Mexico border issues intersect. A very significant number of Mexicans -- a comfortable majority in one survey I heard reported -- feel that the U.S. southwest is legitimately part of Mexico. It is very much disputed territory.

Here in Eretz America, we would like to think that our border is well-defined and agreed upon. Whatever is the case, it seems that while many Mexicans who were surveyed felt that they should be able to pass into the disputed area unrestricted, it might be observed that few that cross over subsequently observe some other rigid border. That is, they come to areas of the U.S. to which Mexico has never had any claim.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

I probably should have been a little clearer... (none / 0) (#58)
by graal on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 09:16:00 PM EST

I wasn't talking about Pat Buchanan's fence along the US-Mexico border.

Some guy in Texas wanted to put a fence up around the whole state, I guess to keep people out.

Quite a few of us in the rest of the lower 48 thought it was better suited to keeping the Texans in. I'd forgotten about Buchanan's border plan until I read the other replies about minefields and such.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Yeah right... (none / 0) (#70)
by jesushatesyou on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 09:16:12 AM EST

...just what America needs. Thousands of one-legged illegal aliens.

[ Parent ]
Good idea. (none / 0) (#88)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 01:36:09 PM EST

You're talking about all of Texas, right?
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Yup. (none / 0) (#90)
by graal on Wed Sep 11, 2002 at 10:26:40 AM EST

As I mentioned in another follow-up, it was to be a Great Wall Around Texas. It was obviously some sort of publicity stunt, but quite a few people thought the idea had real merit.

--
For Thou hast commanded, and so it is, that every
inordinate affection should be its own punishment.
-- St. Augustine (Confessions, i)
[ Parent ]

Actually (none / 0) (#91)
by Happy Monkey on Wed Sep 11, 2002 at 10:38:52 AM EST

I was referring to the minefield idea, but it would work even better combined with the wall.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Good Fences Make A Palestinian State (4.25 / 8) (#2)
by thelizman on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:23:41 PM EST

Israel is - in a way - tying their own shoes together. That fence will establish an ad-hoc border, and as Palestine creeps towards statehood, that fence will be a defined limit of growth that makes a logical case for establishing territory.

Now, anyone who honestly things a suicide bomber is going to jump a 20ft concrete fence while wearing a bomb without being noticed is simply wacked. Perhaps you'll recall a similar wall in germany that worked quite well (not the fence part, the actual WALL).

As for the Palestinians on the Israel side of the wall, nobody is worried aobut them. It's the hate-mongers breeding in the refugee camps that are causing the trouble, not the masses of Palestinians who just want a life.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
The fence part (none / 0) (#6)
by wiredog on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:45:29 PM EST

worked pretty well too. Well, from the Soviet point of view.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.
[ Parent ]
Holy Smokes! I agree with the T-man [n/t] (none / 0) (#15)
by Pop Top on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:33:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
The Berlin Wall (2.00 / 2) (#27)
by borful on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:49:56 PM EST

was mostly symbolic. Anybody who wanted to get from East to West just went around. It's like building a military stronghold. OK, you're very strong there . . . but the enemy just goes around you. Maginot Line and all that.

Note: I never said that people going over the wall would not be noticed. They might even desire notice - to act as a diversion while others sneak under. Send some kids over the fence to draw the patrols while the bad guys use gap in the patrol pattern to get across without being seen. Or, go over the fence, set off the alarms, and run like mad and hide in a nearby town.

Since the fence doesn't move, and the Enemies of Israel have mortars, how long is that fence going to stay unmolested? When tensions rise between Israel and any of its neighbors, the neighbors may well shell the fence, just to destroy the sensors, occupy the troops who will have to guard the gap the old fashioned way, and waste the time of the technicians who have to repair the sensors.

The USSR only tried to securely fence one city; can Israel afford to securely fence the entire country?

-borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

Details on the Wall dividing Germany (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by sien on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:47:52 PM EST

The division between Germany wasn't just around Berlin. A wall of the same scale was constructed splitting Germany. It was enormous ! It really did split the country. In addition the borders between the East and West were pretty fierce along the whole of the iron curtain.

[ Parent ]
Excuse me!? (none / 0) (#83)
by decaf_dude on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 12:52:43 PM EST

Could you possibly supply some facts about this? I've been to Germany several times, both East and West, both before and after the reunification. I could've sworn I've never heard, let alose seen, any wall other than the one in Berlin.

Are you sure you're not mixing up your Germanies with your Chinas?


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


[ Parent ]
Perhaps (5.00 / 7) (#3)
by wiredog on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:23:59 PM EST

It really is intended to keep out terrorists? Militarily, the fence makes it more difficult for them to sneak in, they would have to go through checkpoints. Or launch an assault on the fence. Going around it would require boats on the sea side, and travelling through other countries (Egypt, Syria, Lebanon) on the land side.

The fence may be the only way to get a workable peace. (Note that I said "workable", not "just" or "fair", only "workable". Which is probably the best that can be expected.) A forced separation of the two combatants. If they can't get at each other, they can't shoot each other. The violence builds up the hatred, which builds up the violence, and on and on. A vicious cycle.

If the fence prevents, or even substantially reduces, the terrorist bombings, then it removes, or substantially reduces, the rationale for retaliation. A virtuous cycle.

Earth first! We can mine the rest later.

you answer yourself (3.00 / 3) (#4)
by KiTaSuMbA on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:30:36 PM EST

The supposed reasons can only be excuses, they know far well that it is impossible to fence off the BAD(TM) from the GOOD(TM). The real reasons are riding an internal political hype, munching some $M in the process and playing die-hard in international diplomacy.
In any case, it's a rather moronic idea that will get more trouble than solve any and probably stop mid-proccess in the construction. A nice bruhahah from the opposition, more $M munching for the demolition by the opposition being elected to government and everybody forgets about it.

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
Wow (2.75 / 8) (#5)
by DesiredUsername on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:40:28 PM EST

A Berlin Wall. In Israel.

Wow. Just....wow.

Play 囲碁

It's not a Berlin wall. (4.33 / 3) (#7)
by Jman1 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:51:30 PM EST

Wasn't that to keep people IN?

[ Parent ]
'In' and 'Out' (2.20 / 5) (#14)
by krek on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:31:32 PM EST

are rather subjective terms.

[ Parent ]
nope - they are as clear as yes and no (5.00 / 3) (#47)
by mami on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 12:05:46 PM EST

People wanted to get out of East Berlin in the thousands. The wall was built to keep them in. Any other interpretation is just so foolish that it shouldn't even be mentioned.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 0) (#89)
by Happy Monkey on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 01:37:02 PM EST

But you should use the POV of the one who built the wall.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Being subject to constant terror attacks can... (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by Demiurge on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 08:21:45 PM EST

have a horrible effect on a nation, can't it?

[ Parent ]
You don't seem to know much about the issue. (4.71 / 7) (#8)
by Jman1 on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 01:55:01 PM EST

The fence wouldn't keep Palestinians from working in Israel. There would be checkpoints, of course, it'd just be harder to get around them. Also, saying that the fence won't stop everything is like saying there's no point in locking your front door since 10 men with a battering ram can just knock it in anyway.

Security value per dollar spent (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by borful on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:36:12 PM EST

While I'm not claiming any special knowledge of Israel or Palestine, I'm not entirely dim. Locking my door will stop the casual thief but will not stop a determined one. Fencing my property will stop the casual tresspasser but not a determined one. The Palestinian terrorists seem to be very determined fellows.

- borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

Determined Palestinian terrorists... (4.66 / 3) (#43)
by bobpence on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:51:05 AM EST

... are stopped all the time. Complicating their entry into Israel may have the effect of saving more lives, the dollar value of which is quite large.

So if we institute a system of random inspections, sometimes make them take their shoes off, and make them take their laptops out of the bags... Then they'll think about getting a job that doesn't require going through the aiurport - er, border - checkpoint so often.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

Fait accompli (5.00 / 4) (#9)
by Caton on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:35:11 PM EST

Once the barrier is up, forget about territorial negotiations. Like it or not, that's the border.

Extremists from both sides are unhappy? Good.

---
As long as there's hope...

my new sig (none / 0) (#11)
by etherdeath on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 02:55:39 PM EST

"Extremists from both sides are unhappy? Good." Should I credit you for the quote?

[ Parent ]
Do as you like (none / 0) (#12)
by Caton on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:18:37 PM EST

I don't really care.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Because... (4.50 / 2) (#13)
by PhillipW on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:21:37 PM EST

Why is Israel building that fence?

Because the way things currently stand, the Israelis and Palestinians can not live side by side peacefully. Unless you do something like this, they will just continue to murder each other.

-Phil
RE: Because... (none / 0) (#19)
by memfree on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:38:02 PM EST

I don't disagree with the general premise that the fence is an attempt to stop the violence, but I don't think the fence will help, either. Sure, it may be an attempt to deal with the rancor, but I expect it (like most everything else) will increase tension and hatred rather than relieve it.

I saw the documentary "Promises" recently. Even though it was filmed before the current intifada, it convinced me that there are so many people on each side that have been negatively impacted (example: a friend getting shot or blown up), that there simply will not be peace in the foreseeable future. I expect that unless some dramatic, external force threatens both sides and causes them to unite against a common foe, there will be unrest for at least two more generations.

The other most likely reason I see that Israel would put up a fence: because the public at large demands that the government do SOMETHING to protect its citizenry. It doesn't matter that it won't work -- just like it doesn't the U.S. added extra airport security -- it is something the government can drag out to demonstrate their concern.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#24)
by PhillipW on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:35:14 PM EST

I kind of agree. I don't think it will work entirely, but I think it might be a good first step. One thing that I disagree with you on is that it will create more hatred on both sides. I don't think this is the case. If I hate person A and person A hates me, and someone builds a wall to keep us seperated, I don't think either of us would be terribly angry about it.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Since many "Christian" talk radio celebs (5.00 / 2) (#16)
by Pop Top on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:41:34 PM EST

believe the best solution for the West Bank is to move the Palestinians across the Jordan to the East Bank, then this view may not be so bad:

But the more that fence is extended and fortified, the more it will become apparent Israel's hardliners have no choice but to abandon the delusion of a Greater Israel stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

I have read that the fence is to follow the "green line" and West Bank Jewish settlers are some of the most vocal opponents of the plan.

Sort of follows the "green line" (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by magney on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 07:58:45 PM EST

And in this game, "sort of" tends to get read as "doesn't" - especially since the fence tends to dip rather deeply into the West Bank side of the Green Line. I think it even encompasses a few Israeli settlements.

If the fence is to be read partly as an attempt to curb Eretz Israel aspirations, the hardliners still get a partial victory in the form of West Bank bits that get to be on the Israeli side of the fence.

Besides, you can't run a fence like this through the middle of Jerusalem, and that is by far the single most contentious part of the whole dispute, from a "two nations" standpoint.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

A fence would definetly exist (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by delmoi on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:50:20 PM EST

If Palistine became a seperate state, don't you think?

Anyway, even if it does only reduce suicide bombings by, say 20%, it would probably worth it. The Gaza strip produces only a few suicide bombers, dispite having 1/3rd the population of the west bank and being even more rabid in general, and most of that has to do with the gaza strip.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Suicide bombers move? (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by borful on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:30:03 PM EST

Could it be that potential future suicide bombers move out of the fenced area to an unfenced area, make their arrangements, get the explosives, and move out to the 77 doe-eyed maidens? The path of least resistance and all that? If they fence more area, the bad guys will keep seeking the path of least resistance, until all of Israel is fenced . . .

- borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

Bargaining chip (3.50 / 2) (#18)
by drquick on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 03:51:02 PM EST

I think Israel plans to use the fence as a bargaining chip.
This is your best suggestion.

-1... I'm not sure you understand... (3.87 / 8) (#20)
by thefirelane on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 04:54:13 PM EST

The fence idea has been around for a long time.

It has mainly been pushed for by the peace activists. In fact, on of the primary supporters of the fence idea was a group called "There is a Border" (Or something like that, only in Hebrew, anyone know?)

The Likud party, of which Sharon is a member, are opposed to the idea of a fence. Why? Because of a couple reasons:
  • It works: Look at the Gaza strip, it has a fence, and it works. This means less terror attacks on Israel. One would think that this is a good thing... but not to Sharon. This is because Sharon uses any Palestinian Terror attack as an excuse to tighten control on the West Bank, demolish more homes, and move in more settlers. More settlers means more contact points, and more chance for terror attacks... See how the cycle repeats nicely?
  • It could be a border Since the fence works, it could eventually become a border between two seperate states. Remember, if you believe all the West Bank is yours rightfully, then this idea does not appeal to you
  • It is expensive This will probably end up being a reason cited by those opposed to the idea. Although it will be expensive, it will probably not be a huge drain in the Israeli economy as the tab will probably be picked up by someone else



---Lane

-
Prube.com: Like K5, but with less point.
Operating in Clue-free mode (none / 0) (#22)
by borful on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:26:00 PM EST

That's why I'm asking the questions. I find it very hard to believe that a fence will work. It's just too easy to go around, under, or through.

The other reason you list seems to be like the Australian columnist: it's a message to the hard liners who want the Jordan river to be the eastern border. You're adding that it's a message to the Arabs: Here's your border. Get used to it. I accept that as a valid reason for the fence . . . but you don't need a big, expensive, defense-in-depth fence to send that political message.

I didn't know about the fence around Gaza, but I'd argue that it doesn't work, if its purpose is to prevent bad guys from getting into Israel. They're getting around the Gaza fence by basing their operations somewhere else. Israel is fencing that somewhere else . . . but unless they fence the whole country they won't even slow the bad guys down . . .

Thanks,
-borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

You'd be surprised. (5.00 / 3) (#26)
by Apuleius on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:39:08 PM EST

Terror operations based in Gaza require sneaking all personnel and material into the West Bank, and then into Israel. That slows things down on that end considerably. After the WB is fenced off, it will get harder still.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Quick question on this... (none / 0) (#61)
by magney on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 01:48:38 AM EST

How do you get stuff from Gaza to the West Bank without going through Israel in the first place? There's probably an obvious answer that I'm not familiar enough with the region to know the answer to.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Easy... (none / 0) (#66)
by Caton on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 04:50:40 AM EST

How do you get stuff from Gaza to the West Bank without going through Israel in the first place?
You don't.

Look at a map. There is no way to have territorial continuity both for a Palestinian state and for Israel. Which is why a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank will not end the conflict. But nobody's got a better idea.

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

Two ways. (none / 0) (#75)
by Apuleius on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 02:27:57 PM EST

1. Gaza -> Egypt -> Jordan -> West Bank. Or, if you'e more patient, you smuggle these items one by one through the expedited travel route for Palestinians between Gaza and the WB. (Vehicles on this route are not searched completely, but they don't get to even open a window between the WB and Gaza.)


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Why? (5.00 / 2) (#21)
by Apuleius on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 05:03:48 PM EST

This is the overarching reason. Beside that, there is the issue that this fence has a good chance of working. No, it won't be perfect; nothing is. But this is more than a fence. It has sensors galore, so attempts to fiddle with it will have bad consequences. And most importantly, it will tell the Palestinians that their right to self determination ends where Israel's begins, in the only way some of them understand.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
might stymie both sides' extremists (none / 0) (#28)
by Delirium on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 06:27:28 PM EST

While it certainly might lead to some Palestinians accepting that Israel on the other side of the fence must continue existing as part of a final agreement to create a Palestine on their side of the fence, it might also begin to be a de facto border of sorts, which flies in the face of the Israeli right's efforts to call the West Bank "Judea and Samaria" and pretend that it's an integral part of Israel. And all things considered, the currently planned path of the fence is actually rather generous to the Palestinians if it were to be used as a final border, leaving almost all of the deeper-into-the-West-Bank settlements on the Palestinian side.

[ Parent ]
good fences (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by tlregexpscom on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 09:33:14 PM EST

In a bright and shiny future, with a peaceful middle east, the wall will (symbolically, at least) help Palestine to define and preserve its culture during a permanent period of economic entanglement with Israel.

In the absense of a pogrom against the Jews of Israel -- why is an indeffensible wall anything other than a way to make good neighbors?

NIMBY (4.25 / 4) (#34)
by carbon on Fri Sep 06, 2002 at 09:48:13 PM EST

They pretty obviously want to build a fence, so that they can have a definite backyard to suggest that things not be done in.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
The fence is a good thing (5.00 / 5) (#36)
by Weezul on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 03:56:50 AM EST

You have not been reading if you think the Israeli government supports the fence.  Sharon's party is strongly opposed to the fence.  The fence is being built because most common Israelis want to see a simple solution tried.. and the fence is the next logical attempt.

The truth about fences like this around the world is that they have sometimes been made to work briliantly.  The Israeli-Palistinian conflict has all the hall marks of a good situation for a fence.

Perhaps most importently, the fence is being built to reduce terrorism by seperating populations to a reasonable degree.  This places it roughly allong the 1967 border.  Neither side's hawks (Sharon, Arafat, etc.) are happy with this solution, but it is ultimatly the border we in the international community would draw for them anyway.

As for all your silliness about the fence being a bargening chip, Sharon ain't going to bargin with Arafat anyway.. and he ain't willingly building bargening tools for later governments either.  Sharon is only building the fence as a fence to keep another party from ousting him on a "build a fence" platform.  Our biggest threat is that Sharon would intentionally sabatodge the fence by inculding areas which produce a lot of terrorists.  I personally find this highly unlikely.. though not impossible.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

A political ploy? (none / 0) (#50)
by borful on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 02:00:30 PM EST

You are correct that I'm not up to speed on the current details of the Israeli government. Sharon is the king hawk, from the more hawkish of the big parties. They don't really want the fence because they want ALL the land. But - they're in a coalition now, and the more doveish parties support the fence and the voters want to see something being done, so Sharon takes the issue off the table by getting started on the fence. OK, that makes sense. Thanks.

-borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

Walls have strange properties... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
by Bostik on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 05:17:58 AM EST

...as they not only keep things outside, but also keep things in.

You (and people in general) should be asking the question: What is being separated? As others have pointed out, this new wall will become a border between Israelians and Palestinians. If it becomes succesful, it might well turn into something that the Israel's current politicians do not want to give in to.

A strip of land for the Palestinians they have so long wanted as their own. What was the reason for the suicide bombings and acts of aggression again?



There is no such thing as good luck. There is only misfortune, and its occasional absence.
Getting more (1.00 / 1) (#38)
by Caton on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 08:17:00 AM EST

A strip of land for the Palestinians they have so long wanted as their own. What was the reason for the suicide bombings and acts of aggression again?
The reason? Getting more land than Israel was willing to give, some terrorists actually wanting all the land.

And now they will be getting less than Barak was willing to give. Good. Who knows, maybe at least one would-be terrorist will understand that terrorism does not work as well as negociations...

---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]

The myth of the generous offer (3.50 / 4) (#56)
by felixrayman on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 08:02:20 PM EST

And now they will be getting less than Barak was willing to give

Was Barak willing to give the Palestinians control of the roads in Palestine? Control of the airspace? The water supplies? Would the proposed Palestinian state have control over its borders with Jordan and Egypt? Would Palestinians have been able to travel between towns in this so-called state without passing through Israeli checkpoints?

For folks playing along at home, the answer to all these questions is no.

You can read more about the myth of the generous offer at fair.org

An instructive quote from the referenced article:

"In exchange for taking fertile West Bank lands that happen to contain most of the region's scarce water aquifers, Israel offered to give up a piece of its own territory in the Negev Desert--about one-tenth the size of the land it would annex--including a former toxic waste dump."

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
What part of Jerusalem is outside the fence? (NT) (none / 0) (#65)
by Caton on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 04:41:16 AM EST



---
As long as there's hope...
[ Parent ]
Look At The Map (3.33 / 3) (#69)
by eliwap on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 06:48:24 AM EST

Look at the Map Final Status Map Presented by Israel -- Taba, January 2001 . Do you see any break in the land that was offered in the West Bank?

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Get a clue (4.00 / 1) (#72)
by felixrayman on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 12:29:48 PM EST

You are linking to a map not from the Camp David negotiations, but from the Taba negotiations that were unilaterally broken off by Barak on January 28,2001.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Simple. (1.00 / 1) (#57)
by Bartab on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 08:15:30 PM EST

What was the reason for the suicide bombings and acts of aggression again?

To destroy Israel. I'm not sure how a wall would assist that goal.

--
It is wrong to judge people on the basis of skin color or gender; therefore affirmative action shall be implemented: universities and employers should give preference to people based on skin color and gender.
[ Parent ]

A Viable Peace - Sure - Some Questions: (3.50 / 2) (#39)
by mami on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:18:13 AM EST

If someone builds a fence, he tries to
1. to protect something valuable in the inside from dangers coming from the outside.

2. to prevent something valuable inside from leaving to the outside.

3. to prevent something inside from mingling with something from the outside and posing a danger in the inside.

4. to prevent someone from the outside to mingle with the inside, pulling the inside to the outside and posing a danger from the outside to the insiders thereafter.

Morally acceptable is just case number one. Israel has no inside and outside between Israelis and Palestinians.

As I think Israel is in the state of case number 4, it makes sense for them to create an inside and an outside, so that they become capable to act under condition number 1, the only case which is morally acceptable as matter of self defense.

If the inside has nukes and the outside has nukes, the wall used to work perfectly in the cold war. President Bush seems to have forgotten that (oh well - ). Since you have biological weapons potentially at play, it might not work that well.

Israel gets a lot of its labor from the Palestinians. The Palestinians get jobs in Israel.

All in all the wall is a "job creation tool" and a "get real incubator". Therefore should please anybody who wants to make a living in that region instead of making a dying. Time for the Palestinians to build their own infrastructure and be competitive, time for the Israeli to get real with regards to cheap labor from the "undermenschen". It's always very educative to clean one's own mess and not let other people do it for you at low labor costs. Kind of makes you tired and prevents you from not knowing what to do with all your extra energy...

Walls can work wonders. I am going to build one around my computer in the near future ... and don't tell me you are all that holy than holier and don't do the same thing.

sigh - "Therefore should please anybody " (none / 0) (#40)
by mami on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:21:41 AM EST

should read: Therefore anybody should be pleased who wants to make a living instead of making a dying in that region.

[ Parent ]
sigh - dumber than dumb (none / 0) (#46)
by mami on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 11:54:18 AM EST

if someone is holy than holier, should have been holier than holy ... not my day today.

[ Parent ]
Satirewire knows why (2.33 / 3) (#41)
by bodrius on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:36:42 AM EST

I'm just surprised no one has linked tothis yet.


Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
Me Bad (1.00 / 1) (#42)
by bodrius on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 10:40:53 AM EST

I meant to link to this:

http://www.satirewire.com/briefs/wall.shtml.

Can't trust me typing these days.


Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by DJBongHit on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 04:00:21 AM EST

Can't trust me typing these days.
Can't seem to trust you reading, either. That story was linked directly from the article (and fairly prominently, too, in its own one-line paragraph).

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
A fence, eh... (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by exceed on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 11:16:07 AM EST

If they're going to isolate the Palestinians like that they might as well hand the land they want over to them. The fence kind of defeats the whole idea of Israel keeping the land.

void women (float money, time_t time);
"Isolation" (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by DarkZero on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 05:38:58 AM EST

There are Israeli towns on the so-called "Palestinian side" of the fence and Palestinians and Israelis are being allowed to travel back and forth through the checkpoints along the wall with a degree of freedom, provided that they have not committed any serious crimes. So really, this isn't the first border between Israel and a future Palestinian nation, but really just a security checkpoint along certain Israeli towns on one side and easy access for the military to the Israeli towns on the other side.

[ Parent ]
This Again... (-1) (4.60 / 10) (#52)
by DarkZero on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 03:19:24 PM EST

We already had a story on this when it was breaking news. In it, I posted this comment, because the discussion was equally inane.

This wall is nothing but a fortified border to keep the Palestinian workers from problem areas that work in Israel in line by having their IDs checked before they go into Israel, as well as keep sniper and anti-tank fire to a minimum in the Israeli towns where sniper bullets from nearby Palestinian towns are daily visitors.

The wall is not a perfect barrier: they can tunnel under it, smash through it (and run like mad to get away before the patrols get there) or fly over it.

If they tunnel under the wall, get across the military highway, get into and over the ten foot trench, and somehow don't leave plenty of evidence in the fine sand that's been laid to mark their footprints for the Israeli military patrols, they deserve to get in. Similarly, the ones that manage to get their vehicle through a concrete wall that's meant to stop anti-tank fire, through an electrified fence, across a military highway, and then somehow magically over the ten foot trench also deserve to get in. Flying's a possibility, but that's why the Israelis have ridiculous amounts of airport security.

Of course they could just go across the country to the north, cross over the area where there isn't a wall, and then go back all the way south to get to their destination, but it appears that the majority of the suicide bombers are just poor Palestinian workers with jobs in Israel, rather than fairly well-off people that can afford to travel across the entire country in an automobile. So of course there will still be suicide bombings, but they couldn't be done in anywhere near as casual a manner, which would at least reduce the amount of suicide bombings.

Town to town sniping (none / 0) (#63)
by borful on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 03:44:44 AM EST

I didn't know about the town to town sniper attacks . . . a concrete barrier looks like a pretty good bit of security value per dollar spent between those towns!

The entire width of the fence complex is what, maybe fifty meters? Is it really that hard to dig a tunnel a few hundred meters long?

Thanks,
-borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

Digging (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by DarkZero on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 05:30:10 AM EST

The entire width of the fence complex is what, maybe fifty meters? Is it really that hard to dig a tunnel a few hundred meters long?

From my understanding of the situation, most of the suicide bombers that have been harassing the areas that Israel wants to protect are poor workers that just happened to get ahold of some explosives either through their own means or a terrorist organization. They are by no means wealthy or even well-off and thus do not have the means to be driven across the country to get around the wall or to spend huge amounts of their time digging a tunnel that is several hundred meters long, especially for just a single bombing that will do no more than kill a handful of Israelis.

The idea behind this seems to be the same idea behind fortifying any border or secure installation, or even the concept of security itself: Of course some intelligent, able, extremely determined individuals will still get through, but will 90% of the problem cases be turned away by it? YES. The security system in my house will not stop someone that silently cuts a hole in my roof with a laser, cuts the power cord for the alarm system in the attic, and then comes down through the ceiling in a closet, but it WILL stop 90% of burglars, which are stupid jackasses that go around looking for an open window or door or some sort of opening that they can bash in.

[ Parent ]

Reason (3.00 / 5) (#53)
by Betcour on Sat Sep 07, 2002 at 04:14:43 PM EST

According to most articles I've been able to read about it, Sharon doesn't want it, neither do Palestinians or Israeli colonists. The peoples who want it is the Israelis themselves because they feel it will keep them safe. Of course it won't, but that's not the first or last time that a governement has to do implement a stupid idea because it is so popular that it has to be done no matter what.

Also at the same time the fence is "eating" on Palestinian territories, so it is a good way to settle a border that will look reasonable in a few years while at the same time stealing a bit more land to the Palestinians.

dumber than dumb (2.50 / 4) (#60)
by tbc on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 01:17:38 AM EST

The Palestinians already have tunnels. So what does Israel think it's going to accomplish with a fence? A pox on them all! Twits.


Microphones. (none / 0) (#85)
by Apuleius on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 05:41:44 PM EST

The Palestinians can tunnel under the Gazan-Egyptian border with impunity. But if they try doing it under a fence that is monitored by the Israeli army, they will be darwinated.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Simple: Anything to save lives. (4.00 / 4) (#62)
by Robby on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 03:40:47 AM EST

Sharon didn't want the fence at all when it was voted on in the Knesset. Neither did many israelis, and many palestinians.

The thing that makes it viable is the reality that people on the ground are dying, and quite rightly, anything should be tried to prevent the loss of innocent lives. In the end it will prevent many attacks, and also stop palestinians dying, by allowing the Israeli Army to have a less active profile.

It's a good thing, and It's only $750 Million dollars. Of course, one day, it should be torn down and written down next to the berlin wall but until people can feel safe in a restaurant or bus, or don't have soldiers in their towns, it will and should stay up.

Um, walls are not perfect, so? (5.00 / 4) (#71)
by gregholmes on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 10:17:36 AM EST

The wall is not a perfect barrier: they can tunnel under it, smash through it (and run like mad to get away before the patrols get there) or fly over it.

So? What is it about geeks and perfection (we certainly aren't perfect, are we)?

Locks aren't perfect either, but my front door has one, and I use it. Guess I should just forget it; someone could just use a sawsall and come in through the wall.



Locks cost a few tens of dollars (none / 0) (#76)
by borful on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 10:34:08 PM EST

Locks are so inexpensive that they provide reasonable security for their price. What if, for example, deadbolt locks cost $50,000? Would you find some other way to secure your house? What if they cost $50,000 AND could still be defeated by any bad guy with a good cordless drill?

The part of the paragraph that you quoted needs the context of the rest of the paragraph. At the start of that paragraph, I asserted that even if the fence were perfect, it still would not provide much security. The part you quoted was at the end of the paragraph, where I driving towards: it's not perfect and it wouldn't work even if it were!

The fence is a good value for dollar spent if the Israeli people want their government to spend their money that way. It's a good value if, by establishing a de facto border, it makes future peace negotiations easier. It does not seem to me to be worth the expense as a security measure alone.

I'm glad I posted this; I've learned a lot about what's going on there.

Thanks,
-borful
Money is how people with no talent keep score.
[ Parent ]

But there's a choice involved... (none / 0) (#82)
by mahood on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 10:42:29 AM EST

Would you rather buy and use an (imperfect) lock, or come up with a solution to end all crime, so locks were no longer needed?

Vastly simplified, I know - but Israel sees this as a choice between build a wall, or make peace.

We might all want a crime-free society, but we have to be realistic.

[ Parent ]

are you asking me? (none / 0) (#86)
by gregholmes on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 10:18:31 PM EST

Would you rather buy and use an (imperfect) lock, or come up with a solution to end all crime, so locks were no longer needed?

Er, buy and use an imperfect lock. As I said.

Perhaps you aren't talking to me, although you are replying to my comment? That was my point; that an imperfect lock is better than nothing.



[ Parent ]
It's Really, Really Simple (4.83 / 6) (#73)
by zastruga on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 01:38:44 PM EST

Why is Israel building a fence? Because Israelis want it. Overwhelmingly. Israel, despite every slur, is a democracy. In a democracy, when enough people want something that much, they get it. This in spite of the deep misgivings of pretty much everyone, left and right, in the government. It's certainly not some devious, sinister plot, whatever effects, planned and unplanned, it may eventually have. One has to go looking for a conspiracy only if one has fully convinced oneself that 1) Israel is not a (resposive) democracy 2) its intentions toward the Palestinians are invariably malign 3) the fence is being sold as a panacea rather than as a palliative. Discovering such a conspiracy says far more about the discoverers assumptions than about the actual reasons the fence is being built.



A better solution. (3.33 / 3) (#74)
by ennui on Sun Sep 08, 2002 at 01:56:32 PM EST

Here. Just outfit Palestinians with these. No unsightly, expensive to maintain fence, problem solved.

"You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone." -- Al Capone
It could have SOME effect (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Eater on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 12:37:34 AM EST

Perhaps if the fence is not too easy to pass through, it itself will make a more tempting and far easier target than the civilians on the other side? It seems that it would be a bit better to have terrorists attacking soldiers than civilians, and this could be just what the more rational supporters of the fence are hoping for.

Eater.

You got it right, the doves are behind this (5.00 / 1) (#78)
by Arker on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 03:57:50 AM EST

The hawks have been resisting this move for decades, the doves are the ones that pushed it. It does indeed help solidify the borders that Likud is determined never to recognise.

For the line of thought behind why the doves would want the fence, just hit the following links, one each if you are in a hurry just search for fence, and start reading there.

HaCohen, 12 April 2002
HaCohen, 4 May 2002

Just as in the US, the warhawks in Israel are in a bit of disarray at the moment, as they face stiff dovish resistance from an unexpected quarter - the military. I suspect this has something to do with the move. I'm not privy to insider information though, and I can only speculate on the details. I would bet anything that Sharon, Likud, and allies are working overtime trying to find a way to scuttle the project however.



That forgotten subject: history. (1.00 / 2) (#79)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 07:03:44 AM EST

Those same reasons, words more or less, were used by the Eastern German goverment when they built the Berlin wall.

I guess some people in Israel need some refreshing history courses (and to remind them that the Berlin wall was rutinely crossed).
---
"Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

That's kinda backwards (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by the original jht on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 08:27:19 AM EST

The East Germans built the Wall to keep their people in - not to keep the West Germans out.  Israel, OTOH, is trying to keep the Palestinians out.  They're not restricting where Israelis can travel.

Given how many people have wandered in from the West Bank with murder as their objective, I'm mostly surprised the fence isn't finished yet.  If all travel has to go through military chokepoints, yeah it's a pain but the odds are much better of catching the would-be murderers.

If the Palestinians are pissed off about the fence, I'm not feeling too much pity for them.  Don't send people into Israeli cities to blow themselves up and kill as many civilians as possible, and maybe they'll actually get another concession someday.  Until then, screw 'em.

As for the Berlin Wall - not too many people made it across, as the East Germans killed or arrested most of the people that tried.  I don't see it being likely that Israel is going to be trying too hard to stop people from leaving.

- -Josh Turiel
"Someday we'll all look back at this and laugh..."

[ Parent ]

Please read what I wrote... (none / 0) (#84)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 02:49:47 PM EST

... not what you want to read.

I talked about reasons given, not objectives.

The porosity of a wall is well documented in many other borders: it does not work.
---
"Every duck should aspire to be crispy and aromatic." sleepyhel

[ Parent ]

I did read what you wrote. (none / 0) (#87)
by the original jht on Tue Sep 10, 2002 at 09:04:05 AM EST

Here's the difference.  The East Germans said they were building the Wall to keep NATO out.  But then they designed it to keep East Germans in.  In most places, the west side simply consisted of a blank wall.  The deathtraps and patrol zones were all on the east.

In Israel, the design is very clearly meant to keep Palestinians out.  The moat is on their side.  The razor wire is on their side.

Of course, a wall isn't a perfect barrier.  Some people may get through.  Israel has a few advantages, though - first of all, it's a small border.  It's managable to patrol.  Secondly, there will be checkpoints for legitimate people to pass through.  It's not intended to be a total seal.

The biggest reason of all, of course, is incentive.  Israel has a good incentive to keep security at their wall tight.  Because based on historic trends and recent events, if someone crosses over the fence, there's a good chance it's because they are planning to kill Israelis.  If they're going through the checkpoint instead, odds are they're safe.

- -Josh Turiel
"Someday we'll all look back at this and laugh..."

[ Parent ]

Parallel to the German "fence" (3.00 / 1) (#81)
by buglord on Mon Sep 09, 2002 at 08:58:47 AM EST

A fence makes a good border.

Now, almost 13 years after the border had been dissolved, Germany is still divided. And we aren't of such heterogeneous ethnicity as the Israelis and Palestinians.

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel

Why is Israel building that fence? | 91 comments (86 topical, 5 editorial, 1 hidden)
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