Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Political soapbox time. Because it's midnight and because I've been trying to get up for shacharit every morning and because he's said it well, I'm going to let Alex do the talking. A disingenuous disclaimer: the following paragraphs are purely the opinion of their author.

"Notice that this morning's suicide bomb, which killed eight people, took place the day before the International Court of Justice in the Hague begins its deliberations into the legality of the 'separation / terror prevention / apartheid' (take your pick) fence. It shows why placing a suicide-bomb simply in the context of a 'despair' scenario is absurd (it takes only a tiny modicum of political insight to realise how much damage this bomb will do to the Palestinians). It also shows why the anti-fence movement, whether abroad or in Israel, has failed massively. The reasons for this relate to the reasons why I have not been able to support the campaign.

"Put simply, a separation fence between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an absolutely fantastic idea. It is what all sane people have been calling for over the last 36 years. The problem with this particular fence, then, is not in the concept, but in the location - it de facto annexes huge swathes of land to Israel while leaving the Palestinians who happen to live near it in an appalling situation. Unfortunately, opponents of the fence have attacked the concept and the route together. This seems to me to stem from the unwillingness to accept Israel's existence, and more significantly, the fact that more efforts are put into demonising Israel than helping the Palestinians. So it is worth repeating - the fence must go up, in the right place. Because there is no denying the accuracy of Yosef Lapid's (interestingly, Lapid has been the biggest opponent within the cabinet of the route of the fence) words after this morning's attack - "If there was a fence around Jerusalem there would not have been an attack today."

"It is sad and uninspiring, but the reality is that Israelis and Palestinians need a fence, a fair fence on 1967 borders, to protect themselves from each-other. The exploded bus and the shattered lives on the streets of Jerusalem today are evidence of that."

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