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Sunday, April 14, 2024
The Eagle

Israel and its fence yearn for peace

A nightclub packed with teenagers. A bus stop or Pizza Hut crowded with families of mothers and infants in their cradles. A college cafeteria. These are the venues that have been targets of suicide bombers in Israel. It's these attacks and the Palestinian Authority's unwillingness to crack down on the terrorists that has forced Israel to take the measure of building a 225-mile security fence in the West Bank. This measure is being taken by the Israeli government because of the horrific actions of suicide bombers who have taken the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children, Jews and Arabs alike, and 44 Americans.

Students in the pro-Israel campus community may support, oppose or remain neutral on the issue of the security fence, but all want peace. As you saw last week, a mock wall was constructed at our University Quad in an attempt to bash the Israeli government's security fence. We believe that this attempt to discredit the Israeli government was done with petulance. We ask those who oppose the Israeli security fence why they're protesting the construction of the fence, but not protesting the countless suicide bombings that have killed over 1,000 innocent people, including children? And we ask, why are they protesting the construction of the security fence, but not protesting the fact that Jews are not allowed to enter any part of Saudi Arabia - even temporarily? Or why they are not protesting the facts that Jews are not legally allowed to buy land in Jordan and homosexuals cannot live openly in the West Bank and Gaza due to fear? Where are the American University "peace and justice" protesters against these atrocious conditions?

Let's get our facts straight before taking sides on the issue, shall we? The vast majority of anti-terrorism barrier is a chain link fence (130 miles), not a wall (10 miles). Those opposing the policy call it a wall for purely political reasons - so that they can liken it to the Berlin Wall. Such a comparison has little merit. The Berlin Wall was an oppressive measure to keep innocent Germans in, while Israel's barrier is being constructed in order to keep terrorists out.

Opponents of the fence exaggerate the harm done to Palestinians in the construction of the fence and often omit the fact that the Israeli government gave $22 million to the Palestinians in compensation for use of their land for the fence. There are already 41 agricultural gates so farmers can reach their land, 10 passages exclusively for cars and pedestrian traffic, and five passages to transfer goods. sixty thousand trees have already been replanted. Israel has taken every measure to ease any hardship the fence may have caused or may cause in the future.

The Israeli government has never claimed that the fence is permanent and has even said that they are willing to remove it if and when the terrorism ends and a lasting peace agreement can be reached. Fences can be torn down, altered, dismantled or moved. Not one life extinguished by the invading terrorists can be resurrected. Not one.

Finally, let's not forget that the U.S. has created ditches, barbed wire fences, electronic devices, instituted patrols, border crossing stop-points and utilized guard dogs - all of which are intended to keep undesirable people and products out of the country. Before 9-11, these systems were not even aimed at terrorists who sought to sneak into this country to murder innocent people, but were designed to prevent smuggling of illegal drugs and some commercial merchandise, and to curtail illegal immigration. Every country has the self-evident right to determine who or what will be allowed entrance to its homeland, especially when the lives of that country's citizens is at stake.

Israel's situation is no different. Israel is a sovereign state seeking to defend its borders and its citizens from heinous suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. No more, no less.

Despite the suicide bombings, there are signs of hope for peace. Notwithstanding the daily attempts at terrorist attacks, the number of victims has been cut in half. Also, despite over 100 suicide bombings in the last three years not one has originated in Gaza, thanks to the security fence built there in the mid-'90s. A joint Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian project is in the works to revitalize the Dead Sea, promoting cooperation among the nations. Palestinian finance minister Salaam Fayyad is making tremendous strides in reforming the corrupt regime set up by Yasser Arafat. And 100,000 Israelis and Palestinians have signed the Ami Ayalon and Dr. Sari Nusseibeh draft agreement, which tackles difficult final status issues, demonstrating that an acceptable resolution for both peoples is at hand.

There is a hope for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Unfortunately, based on the constant threat of suicide bombers, the Israeli government has had to build a security fence to keep terrorists away and keep it's citizens safe. On campus we must embrace constructive dialogue with the understanding that all parties recognize Israel's right to exist in peace and security, just as we recognize the Palestinian need for self-determination.

The only hope for the current conflict to end is for Israel and the eventual Palestinian state to live side by side as neighbors with a normal, peaceful relationship. However, this can only happen when the terrorism ends and a peace negotiation can be agreed upon. Until that happens, the Israeli government has the responsibility to protect its citizens from violent terrorist attacks.

Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 

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