February 23, 2004

On The Fence

Two interesting articles are out this week on the subject of Israel's security barrier, the so called "fence". In Peter Berkowitz' article, he explains how a large majority of Israelis have come to favor the building of the barrier:

"...as late as three years ago, almost nobody in Israel was thinking about a fence, in part because it contravenes both left-wing and right-wing views. Those who have embraced the fence from the left have been forced to relinquish their dream of Israelis and Palestinians integrating their economies, traveling daily across open borders, and living together in harmony. And those who have come to it from the right have had to abandon the ambition to maintain Israeli control over, and settlement in, all or most of the disputed territories without partition.

The catalyst for both camps has been the staggering scale of Palestinian terrorism since late September 2000. In the war launched by the Palestinians following Yasser Arafat's rejection of Prime Minister Ehud Barak's offer of a Palestinian state in all of Gaza, almost all of the West Bank, and a good portion of the Old City in Jerusalem, more than 900 Israelis have been killed and more than 6,000 have been wounded. In a country of about 6.4 million, that is the equivalent of almost 40,000 dead and a quarter of a million wounded in the United States.

And Frank Gaffney suggests that the precedent set by the ICJ hearings this week may serve to restrain those of us who take steps to protect ourselves from attack:

the International Court of Justice (ICJ), popularly known as the World Court, is holding hearings that could result in an advisory opinion concerning the security fence now under construction by Israel. The immediate object of the exercise is to provide Arab and other opponents of the fence a new stick with which to pummel the Israelis. It is predictable, however, that the nation that stands to lose the most, ultimately, from the court's verdict — that is, its decision to interfere with the steps sovereign nations take concerning their security needs and how to satisfy them — will be the United States.

Posted by dan at February 23, 2004 10:13 PM