Like it or not, Israel's fence seems to be working.

When the news came out that Israel was building the security fence, it seemed like a stupid idea to me. First of all, I thought, it’s a waste of money, second of all, people are going to find a way around it. Building a wall in response to problems has historically been the analogue to sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away. The Berlin Wall was torn down, the Great Wall of China didn’t stop the Mongols, the Maginot Line didn’t stop the Germans and this “security fence” won’t stop terrorism. That’s what I thought.

But it has been such a long time since I have read anything in the news about suicide bombings in Israel. I remember a while ago it was nothing but suicide bombing, airstrike in Gaza, suicide bombing, airstrike in Gaza, suicide bombing, etc etc etc…a never ending series of suicide bombings. It seemed like there was one at least every two weeks, sometimes every week. Now I can’t recall hearing about any, and I read the news every day.

Call it simplistic thinking, but I think maybe the wall actually is helping. There is a lot of pressure from many groups, including the U.N., for the wall to be taken down, but it seems to be doing a decent job of preventing terrorism. I mean, whenever Israel does anything, airstrikes, blowing up houses, whatever, they are denounced, so if they must do something maybe a wall which does not inherently kill anyone is actually a good idea. Some have said that it cuts people off from villages and other things; maybe they could re-structure the wall to accomodate people who are inconvenienced by it. But it seems like its working.

Apart from saving Israeli lives, the wall has also enriched the pockets of some Palestinians.

And it would have worked just as well if it was entirely within Israel proper. But no, they had to push it, to establish “facts on the ground”. To spite world opinion and create enemies. After all GBW isn’t going to be around much longer, so go spend that blank cheque.

Let’s be clear. Nobody objects to whatever is built within Israel. The only reason anyone minds is because of the land seizures the wall effects. The theft, in plain language.

I’m not that up on the issue, but wasn’t one of the major problems that they’re not just building the wall at the Isreali border, but rather building it on disputed territory? Kind of like if the U.S. built a wall on the Canadian border, but put it, say, 20 miles into Canadian land, so that Canadians are excluded from their own territory. That actually makes it a land-grab rather than just a security measure. Wasn’t that really the crux of the issue?

Also, I think I’d wait a while before declaring that it’s “working”. It’s not like suicide-bombings go on a regular schedule or anything.

Oh, sevastapol’s post got in there while I was composing mine. Sounds like that indeed is the issue.

Apologies. I posted directly onto space that was blowero’s. Ironic no?

It’s not really theft; Israel won that territory in a war, in which they were attacked first by the people they won it from (an undisputed historical fact.)

That said, if they really wanted to “steal” land, why would they build a fence to cordon off small areas of Arab populations, many of them towns and cities with people living in them, rather than going in by force, declaring martial law, throwing the Arabs out, forcing them into Syria, Egypt and Jordan, kill anyone who doesn’t want to leave, truck in thousands of armed soldiers to enforce the law, demolish all the Arab buildings and then cart in Jewish settlers to live in the territory? That’s what usually happens when land is “stolen.”

Instead they are annexing Arab villages; what, do they think that the Arabs will all die out and then they will have the land as part of Israel?

Winning territory by means of war is no longer a legitimate pursuit. In any case, if the land is “Israel proper” rather than “occupied territory”, are those people on it not therefore Israeli citizens with full democratic suffrage and freedom of work and movement? I think not, and one can’t have it both ways.

As others have said, it is not the existence of the wall but the location which denies water and farmland to the Palestinians and prevents a viable state.

A guide to the issues. Since the wall has already been built around the narrowest point of Israel (the prison town of Qualqilya), the “security from invasion” argument appears to have been discarded permanently.

Says Who?

That site you have linked to, by the way, is so blatantly biased it’d be like going to John Ashcroft for marijuana-growing pointers or tips on how to get laid at a gay bar.

SentientMeat said so. And, you know, International law, UNSC resolutions and the like.

Are you saying that such a pursuit is considered legitimate?

Unbiased sources may be hard to come by in regard to this, but this links to some of the relevant resolutions.

The UN Charter to which Israel is a signatory.

Biased, yes, but it is also an Israeli site which provides a great deal of important factual information. For instance, do you accept that the proposed path of the wall would deny Palestinian access to 80% of the fertile land and 65% of the water resources in the West Bank? Do you accept that the prison town of Qalqiliya will never see another sunset, and that visiting relatives or going to work 3 miles away would involve a 48 mile trip through 7 checkpoints?

Alright, I will accept that it is an unfair inconvenience. The wall ought to be restructured so as to eliminate said injustice (although I don’t know about the “Prison Town,” maybe a wall around that is not such a bad idea.)

I still think the wall in general has been successful in preventing terrorism.

And you must remember that the U.N. is biased against Israel. On the issue of the U.N.: I personally am completely opposed to the idea of Arab theocracies and third world countries without running water and electricity telling Israel and America what to do. The U.N.'s resolutions on Israel carry as much moral validity as Hugh Hefner’s views on monogamy.

Just for the record, I sense that the majority of people on this board are anti-Israel and liberal. I will make my position clear: I am a civil libertarian and a liberal-minded person who opposes the Bush administration, opposes multinational corporations, and supports Israel. I am voting for John Kerry despite his Clintonesque plans for Israel; I believe the leader of America should be elected on the basis of American policy towards Americans.

I want to know the political views of each person here on this thread, just because I am curious. And I want anyone reading this who shares my opinion on Israel to say so now. Because I would love to know if anyone is on my side here, much as I have come to believe such a thing is not possible. Surely someone here must be pro-Israel.

You seem to be arguing (please correct me if I’m wrong) that the wall is a good thing because it is successfully preventing attacks by the Palestinians. The ends justify the means. Exterminating the Palestinians would be even more effective, wouldn’t it? Would that make it an acceptable strategy? After all, they’re attacking Israel, so killing all of them would just be a matter of self-defense, wouldn’t it? Aren’t people allowed to defend themselves?

Depends upon how you look at it. Has it occurred to you that perhaps if the airstrikes in Gaza stopped, along with the creation and enlargement of “settlements” on Palestinian land, maybe the suicide bombings would stop, too?

Maybe no one is on your side because they’ve concluded that it’s insupportable.

PaulFitzroy. The UN isn’t biased against Israel. You do know the US has a veto on any UN resolution?

Rather then a board of pro/anti-anythings I think most people who post here will look at how the evidence stacks up in each particular case.

Be it Israel, the current US administration, global warming or whatever. However this board may have a partisan leftish appearance for 2 reasons.

Firstly, we are in the rare or unique position of having a US administration that cannot seem to do anything right, at all.

Right-wingers, as much as there are, don’t have anything much to swing with. The arguments simply aren’t there either to be made or won. So you don’t see them.

Concomitantly, many of a rightward bent have left in exasperation, or imploded. So the personnel aren’t there, or only appear in reduced quality and number.

My question to you: What bothers you about a Clintonesque plan for Israel?

(btw my experience here feels like the opposite of yours: Namely that the views are majority pro-Israel, right or wrong. Far less considered than yours. Wait until the US daylight hours for the effect to kick in.)

Then you misunderstand the nature of the UN. Both Israel and the US signed the UN Charter (indeed, the US practically wrote it). The job of the UN is to judge whether its members are honouring the promises they made when they signed it. Israel (or the US) could avoid being “told what to do” by the UN by simply withdrawing their signatures from the UN Charter.

“Pro” or “anti”-Israel are overly simplistic labels, and I am neither. I understand that Israel must defend itself against attacks which deliberately target civilians (which I unreservedly condemn). Show me a particular Israeli policy and I will offer my opinion on it.

The wall around Gaza does indeed appear to be “working” (although freedom of movement for those with ‘reasonable cause’ is still massively overly restricted), and I note that it does largely follow the path of the Green Line. I hope that this is a lesson to those planning the next stage of the West Bank barrier.

Incidentally, you will find many with what you might term a “pro-Israel” stance here, indeed there are a few Israelis themselves. Most notable is Noone Special, a former employee of the IDF who is as well-informed and fair-minded a member as we could hope to attract.

“security fence”? What, didn’t you read the memo FitzRoy? It’s called Apartheid Wall!

Umm… I think both the Great Wall of China and the Berlin wall was effective in their respective purposes. The Berlin wall didn’t stop the Soviet collapse of course, but it did stop the massive flight out of DDR for a few decades, and the Great Wall of China probably stopped the incursions of the Hun (which forced the Attila to turn to Europe instead). As for the Maginot Line, well it did force the Germans to circumvent it through much more difficult terrain, the problem was more the French’s overdependence on it. (and barrier walls are only as good as the men manning them - insert Frog-joke here)

As far as I know, there is no internationally recognised border between Israel and the Palestinian territories. And a fence along the temporary truce line would do little to protect those people living in settlements close to it but on the other side. And those are also humans that deserve protection from fanatic terrorists who have repeatedly shown they think no act too despicable to be used, including murdering women, children and babies sleeping in their pram. The Israelis didn’t build the fence the Palestinian terrorists did. If they want it gone, they can stop targeting Israeli citizen with suicide bombs.

Incidentally did you know the captain of the Beagle, Darwin’s ship around the globe, was called FitzRoy? He died, committed suicide, an old and bitter man. Heh heh.

There is no internationally recognised border because there is no nation of Palestine yet. In 1988 the Palestinians agreed to settle for the Green Line and let Israel have the other 78% of the pre-1948 land.

“Close to it” only describing a tiny minority of the settlements, of course (and which are also in violation of the UN Charter). A wall which encompasses deep settlements like Ariel or Qedumim would leave a Palestine comprising only parched, barren hillsides suitable for little more than launching mortars from.

PaulFitzroy, the wall is only 10-20% finished, so I don’t think you can attribute the recent sharp decline in attacks to the wall.

Btw, we discussed this less than a week ago, in a thread Rune ran away from (he was obviously busy in other threads), here