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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Fence of deception

I've warned many times over the years that the 'security fence' is not a panacea for all of Israel's problems with its neighbors, and I've highlighted articles that make the same warning. In April, I blogged an article from the Jerusalem Post that included the following statement by Nadav Morag:
The barrier that Israel is building is not a panacea that will enable Israel to withdraw behind it and forget the Palestinians. Israeli voters may want this to be the case, but wishful thinking does not substitute for realism. The barrier may be effective to a large degree in preventing infiltration, but it cannot prevent the firing of rockets and missiles over it. Moreover, if Palestinian terrorist organizations are afforded free reign in the West Bank, as they now enjoy in Gaza, they will find ways to dig under or fly over the barrier or otherwise compromise it. In order for the barrier to be truly effective, it must be defended from both sides, yet Olmert's plan, if implemented, would ignore this important truth.
In a blog post in March, I wrote:
Israel's 'security fence' (and in most places it is a fence with sophisticated monitoring equipment and not a wall like you see in the western media) started out as the left's answer to suicide bombings in the center of the country (including both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as part of the center for these purposes). It was anathema to the right - including to Ariel Sharon - out of fear that it would set a border that was based on defensive considerations and not on what Israel really needs to survive long term. With the increase in suicide bombings in the early part of this decade, the fence gained widespread popularity. While it is not a panacea, it has reduced suicide bombings. However, it remains an answer only to the suicide bombers and not to sophisticated and unsophisticated weaponry that can be delivered from a distance. The problem with building the fence and then saying "we're over here and they're over there" (as then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak put it) is that unless we're also over there, they can lob rockets over the fence and reek havoc. This is what is going on in Gaza today (where the fence has been pretty much a hermetic seal for years), but the targets that are reachable from Judea and Samaria are much more attractive and dangerous, including Ben Gurion Airport, Israel's only true international airport.
In light of Sunday's daring attack on an IDF post at Kerem Shalom, many Israelis are having an epiphany about the fence, realizing for the first time that it is not the answer by itself. Writing on YNet, Brig. General Yaakov Hisdai, who is both an attorney and a historian, is trying to use Sunday's attack to waken the masses to reality.

But the fence was an illusion, and the country bought it happily. The "Council for Peace and Security" of IDF officers, distinguished more for their military ranks and past achievements than for their analytical prowess, came up with the moronic phrase "saying goodbye," and the country celebrated this fantastic solution.

The fences' success around Gaza was one of the most important proofs for the fences effectiveness. Now, this proof has blown up in our faces.

The failure at Kerem Shalom revealed one of the results of this addiction to magic solutions. Building the fence was accompanied by the phrase "Us here, them there.'" That is to say: let's set a border, we will no longer concerned about them, and they will no longer be concerned about u.

Turns out that this sweet deception influenced more than the IDF. The Security Fence became a flash point for military operations, and pushed off basic professional principles. They are indeed there – and therefore, there is no need to look back or plan for their attacks.

...

The fence project was but one part of wide operation, which included the idea of "two states for two peoples," as well as the Road Map Peace Plan. There are too many signs, however, that all the hopes and expectations of the fence have collapsed.

Read it all.

2 Comments:

At 10:15 PM, Blogger M. Simon said...

Think of it as animal training.

The IDF is training the animals to stay on their side of the fence.

The fence has certainly reduced the number and severity of attacks. So it has some merit in that respect.

You were expecting perfection?

 
At 7:03 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

I wasn't expecting anything except a reduction in attacks. But many of the Israelis who supported the fence believed it meant "us here and them there" and that it meant we could expel Jews from their homes on the other side of the fence and "bring the IDF home." I opposed the fence, because I was afraid it would become a border, and I opposed it even more when the Supreme Court start mucking with its route for reasons that had nothing to do with security. And all of my nightmares about it seem to have come true.

 

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