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The Racist Wall

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The world has watched for many years as the state of Israel was established. A number of the other Middle Eastern countries were, and still are, opposed to the idea of an independent Jewish state. Many of the Palestinians, who were displaced by the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine are still living in refugee camps, and the sheer number of refugees is staggering. Estimates have placed it around 4.9 million, with only a few hundred thousand who have returned to their homes.
These Palestinians, frustrated with Israel's existence, attack it.

In 1994, after many terrorist attacks by Palestinian liberation groups in Israel, the Israeli authorities approved construction of a “security barrier” designed to separate the Palestinian areas from the Israeli areas, and prohibit foreigners free access to Israeli towns and settlements. Now, all traffic has to be routed through checkpoints, intended to screen travelers for bombs and other threats. [1]

Eighteen years later, the barrier is nearing completion. Palestinians are continuing to protest it, and the Israelis continue construction on it.

There is nothing new about the idea of a border fence; the United States is building one along the southern borders to keep out illegal Mexican immigrants, and Israel already has similar barriers along its borders with Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. No suicide bombers have managed to cross the completed barrier around the Gaza Strip, thus possibly making a case for the barrier.


[2]


The barrier has had many effects on Palestinians including road closures, loss of land, increased difficulty in accessing medical and educational services in Israel, restricted access to water sources, reduced freedoms and other economic effects.

Is this difficulty to Palestinians worth the increased safety to Israelis?






Israel says that the construction of the barrier is purely defensive, and the Palestinians have only themselves to blame for it.
Statistics show that the number of Palestinian-perpetrated terrorist attacks have dramatically decreased in areas protected by the barrier, and Palestinian militants, including a senior member of Islamic Jihad, have confirmed that the barrier made it much harder to conduct attacks inside Israel. Members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas have been less able to conduct operations in Israel; the number of attacks have decreased to almost zero in areas where the barrier had been completed.
Not one of the 122 suicide bombers that killed 454 people in Israel between 2000-2003 entered Israel through the Gaza Strip, which is already separated from Israel by a barrier similar to the one being constructed by the West Bank.
The majority of Israelis support the construction of this barrier, with nearly 70% in favor. [3]
The majority of Palestinians support the attacks against Israeli citizens, at 67% support and 31% opposed, perhaps justifying the construction of the barrier.


With this in mind, is the Israeli security barrier really an “apartheid wall” as the Palestinians are claiming? Or is it just a fence to keep out the very real threat of Palestinian terrorism?



References
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_West_Bank_barrier
[2] http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/fence.html
[3] http://www.osaarchivum.org/galeria/the_divide/cpt08files/securityfencefinal.pdf



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