Opinion

Israeli government has a right to protect its citizens

Right now the Israeli government is in the middle of constructing a security fence to keep suicide bombers out of Israel. This undertaking has come under much criticism because the fence, by its very nature, causes even more physical and psychological distance to come between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israeli government, however, has started building this fence out of desperation to save Israeli lives.

The Palestinians have not taken responsibility for security in the West Bank. It is up to the Israeli government to fulfill the most basic requirement of any government; it must defend its people.

Since the Palestinians have proved their unwillingness to combat terrorism, Israel has two reasonable choices. It could keep the Palestinian people under constant siege with over 100 checkpoints and soldiers at every corner, or it could unilaterally separate the Israelis from the Palestinians by building a fence. A unilateral withdrawal without a fence would create an open hunting season on the streets of every Israeli city. I believe this fence is a reasonable alternative. The fence will give the Palestinians a chance to improve the security situation in the West Bank, which could lead to extremely positive results for both people.

When it comes to the security of Israel, Israelis are increasingly developing the attitude that their government should do whatever it takes, within reason, to stop the suicide bombings. This fence is the answer. It creates a temporary border (97 percent of it is fence and only 3 percent is a wall) and is very effective in stopping terrorism. The Gaza Strip has been completely surrounded by fence, and not a single successful suicide bombing has come out of that area.

Sure, the fence has cut Palestinians off from their fields. It cuts into the West Bank and takes lands that Jews have settled. It makes it hard for Palestinians and Israelis to get around. But the one underlying principal behind the fence has not changed: Israel must protect its citizens.

Too many children have died on their way to school. Too many cafes have been covered in blood. Too many scenes of carnage have flooded Israeli news. And if the Palestinians really want this fence to be torn down and for Israel to give the West Bank and Gaza over to the Palestinians for civil control and eventually statehood, the Palestinians must denounce terrorism and do everything they can to combat it.

In affect, Hamas and Hezbollah were the ones that built this fence, not Israel.

Once suicide bombing is rejected, Israelis will listen to the Palestinians’ issues, but in absence of this, Israel will do what it must to protect its people, and peace will remain only a dream.

David Abroms can be contacted at d.abroms@umiami.edu.

February 10, 2004

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.