No terrorism means no fence

By Steven Slivnick

Last Friday in the Daily Illini, Lina El-Beshbeeshy was quoted as saying that Israel has “erected a 25 foot wall” and that as a result, “she believes [emphasis added] the numbers of bombings has increased”. Ms. El-Beshbeeshy is free to indulge her personal beliefs in private; however, journalism must deal with the facts. The 480-mile long security barrier is in fact 97 percent chain link fence. Only 3 percent is a concrete barrier, designed to protect cars from Palestinian snipers, the only section that can even begin to be called a wall.

The security barrier was erected in 2002 after more than 1,000 Israelis had been killed or severely injured in over 20,000 terror attacks which the Palestinian Authority did little to stop. By 2003 there was already a 50 percent reduction in the number of terror fatalities. Today, fewer Israelis have died as a result of Palestinian terror in 2006 than in any year since the start of intensive Palestinian terror in 2000. Furthermore, 99.7 percent of West Bank Palestinians are located on the Palestinian side of the fence. The Israeli Supreme Court has even issued rulings, forcing the Israeli government to change the route in the few places where the path of the fence caused Palestinians especially undue hardship.

Conflating the separation barrier with apartheid is another favorite tactic used by anti-Israel organizations. Simply, without terrorism, there would be no fence. Furthermore, within Israel proper, Arabs participate fully in the national dialogue, serve in the parliament and even on the supreme court. Is this racial separation?

To the Palestinians who desire a Judenrein West Bank and Gaza, Israel on several occasions has committed itself to obliging those requests, culminating in the 2005 disengagement from Gaza. People should be ashamed of themselves for co-opting the memory of the despicable apartheid system for their cheap propaganda tricks.

Steven Slivnick

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