They say they're building the wall to keep the bad
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,
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
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
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
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
My questions to the community are these: Why is the
fence really being built? Do you see a viable peace that includes the fence?