The Security Fence Between Israel and the Palestinians Is Necessary for Peace Table of Contents



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The Security Fence Between Israel and the Palestinians Is Necessary for Peace
Table of Contents: Further Readings

Uzi Landau, "The Security Fence: An Imperative for Israel," presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem, December 17, 2003. Copyright © 2003 by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Reproduced by permission.

Uzi Landau has been a member of the Israeli Knesset since 1984 and served as minister of internal security. In the following viewpoint he argues that the Palestinians have signed agreements with Israel in which they promise to stop terrorism, but they have failed to do so. Therefore, he contends, the only way to prevent Arab terrorists from killing innocent Israelis is to keep them from illegally entering Israel. A security fence, he argues, will promote peace and save lives.

As you read, consider the following questions:



  1. How does the author compare Israel's fence to the one on the border between Mexico and the United States?

  2. According to the author, how can Palestinian complaints about the fence be resolved?

  3. According to Landau, how does the fence promote peace?

When I became Minister of Internal Security [in Israel's government] three years ago, I issued two policy directives to Israel's police. The first was to change our approach to Jerusalem, to stop Palestinian excavations on the Temple Mount, and to change the way Israel dealt with a variety of security apparatuses of the Palestinian Authority that were active in Jerusalem.

The second directive was to prepare staff work for a separation zone between Israel and Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. This separation zone had two objectives: first, to help stop the suicide bombers and the ongoing infiltration from Judea and Samaria into the population centers of Israel; second, to stop the ongoing flow of tens of thousands of illegal Arab immigrants from Judea and Samaria into Israel. When the issue came before the government, it ended up as the security fence plan, and Israel's police were already prepared for it.

The decision to build this barrier was the result of a major shift in Israeli thinking. I was against such a fence and against such a separation for many years. But after 35 years of living with the Palestinians and facing this blatant, ugly, terrorist wave, Israel had no choice but to put up a barrier as an important element in an overall defensive system that would intercept those on their way to blow themselves up among us. Israel has decided to build the security fence because we are in a war that the Palestinians have launched against us, and we have to minimize our casualties.

Israel is now building the fence in Samaria, and we will continue to do so between the mountains of Judea and our southern coastal plain because 130 suicide bombers crossed over from these areas. Only three suicide bombers have come from Gaza where there is already a security fence. Two of them, British citizens, crossed through the gate as tourists.

It is quite clear why the Palestinians are raising hell about the security fence. First of all, they are not interested in peace. They wish to continue and promote terrorism in order to get closer to achieving their political objectives, as they have been doing for the past decades, and in particular over the past decade since [the Oslo peace accords] w[ere] signed. Those who want to have peace want to see the fence, because a precondition to peace is no terrorism.

We are sometimes asked: "Can't you build the fence on the 'green line'? Why should you go into Palestinian areas?" My answer is that we are building it in our own areas. Judea and Samaria is ours. That is our homeland. The Palestinians don't like it. They say it is theirs. Fine, let's sit and negotiate. There is a dispute over this? What do people throughout the world do? They sit and they negotiate.



The Palestinian Future Could Have Been Different

The negotiations between us and the Palestinians throughout our history have been just one-way. The Palestinians extracted all of the concessions, but they have not fulfilled any significant commitments.

They could have had a state after the UN [United Nations] partition resolution in 1947, but they rejected it and launched a war. Between 1947 and 1967 there was no claim for a Palestinian state; nobody had even a hint about the existence of a Palestinian nation, and Israel had no settlements in Judea and Samaria. But Judea and Samaria were used as bases for terrorist activities against Israel proper. The 1967 war started because there was a belief on the part of the Palestinians, the Jordanians, the Egyptians, and the Syrians that from those borders they could easily destroy Israel— borders termed by former foreign minister Abba Eban as "Auschwitz borders." Only after 1967 did the Palestinians start to make their demand for a Palestinian state and start to speak about occupation. Yet when they speak among themselves about occupation, they speak about Israel occupying Tel Aviv and Haifa, not Judea and Samaria.

The Palestinians could have negotiated a different future for themselves in 1978 after the first Camp David [peace treaty] signed between Israel, Egypt, and President [Jimmy] Carter. After a transition period of five years they could have negotiated their future. It didn't take place, of course, because they rejected Camp David. Then in Oslo they signed a peace agreement with Israel. Obviously this would have led them to a state of their own. Yet after grabbing all the concessions, and after Israel had turned over control of all aspects of civilian life for over 97 percent of the Palestinian population, they started a new wave of terrorism.

When former prime minister, [Ehud] Barak met with the Palestinians in 2000 at Camp David, he offered them unprecedented concessions. But these talks were followed by an extreme wave of terrorism that Israel is still fighting today.

Last year [2002] the "Roadmap" [two-state] agreement was presented, in which the Palestinians also had to fulfill a number of commitments, the first and most important of which is putting an end to terrorism. It is tragic that when the Palestinians have the opportunity to negotiate a solution in which they will have the dignity of a state, they refuse to do so unless that state is going to be built on the ruins of the State of Israel. We are not prepared to agree to this.

The terrorists have learned that terrorism pays. They can sign whatever agreements they wish and it really doesn't matter because they will not be made to carry out their commitments, and they can simply carry on with terrorism. Building the fence is to help protect us from that. The route of the fence is determined in part by following the best route that will keep most of the Israelis on one side of the fence. If the Palestinians have any complaints about it, they can blame themselves—Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Tanzim, the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], and [Palestinian Authority leader Yasir] Arafat himself. The fence wasn't there for 35 years; it is there now.

The Issue Is Terrorism, Not the Fence

Palestinian propaganda tries to make the fence the issue, and ignores the issue of terrorism which makes the fence necessary. If not for Palestinian terrorism, we would not need the fence in the first place. They also speak of "walls," even though the segments of wall comprise about 4 percent of the barrier and were built on the "green line," the pre-1967 armistice line, next to Tulkarm and Kalkilya because, in the past, Palestinians have fired from those areas on Israeli vehicles.

There exists a huge fence and walls along long segments of the border between the United States and Mexico, a fence meant to stop people who come to find jobs in the U.S. It takes a lot of audacity to come and demand of us not to have a fence, when we have this fence to intercept those who come to commit mass murder.

We are sorry that some Palestinian families are cut off from their fields. We have tried to provide a reasonable solution for this: providing gates throughout the length of the fence. But even with these gates, there will be inconvenience for certain families. We had to weigh this inconvenience against seeing Israeli families blown to bits if the fence is not built. Faced with these two alternatives, which is morally more compelling?



How the Fence Promotes Peace

But the importance of the fence is not only that it is saving a lot of lives. It is also changing the strategic equation between Israel and terrorism.

The fence will not be any obstacle to future negotiations. If we agree that the separation line will be elsewhere, we will simply move the fence. And in the future if there will be a real peace, why do we need such a fence in the first place? It could be a simpler barrier as you might have between two neighboring countries.

The rights of Jews who live on the other side of the fence will also be negotiated. I take it they will continue to be Israeli citizens, and all of the settlements will continue to be Israeli locales. Jews living in Judea and Samaria are not a barrier to peace. It is absolutely natural that over one million Arabs live within Israel today. For those who say Jews cannot live in Judea and Samaria, the immediate conclusion is that Arabs cannot live in Israel. I think they can, and the symmetry should be kept.

Prime Minister Abu Ala has problems with the fence's location, but the easiest way to get around these problems would be to sit with us and negotiate. The Palestinians made a commitment to dismantle terrorist organizations when they adopted the Roadmap. After signing the agreement, Israel transferred lots of money to the Palestinians, we released prisoners, we withdrew our forces from Bethlehem and from some parts of Gaza. But the Palestinians said they are not going to dismantle the terrorist organizations.

The Palestinians also agreed to entirely stop the incitement that takes place on Palestinian TV, in the media, and in the school system. Right after the Oslo agreement was signed in 1993, Israel's minister of education changed the curriculum and declared the "Year of Peace" in Israeli schools. We taught every child, from elementary school to high school, that the Palestinians were no longer an enemy, they were neighbors. We taught our children that Arafat was no longer a terrorist, he was a partner. By contrast, the Palestinians issued textbooks which taught that Israel is the enemy of mankind, that Jews are Satan on earth, that we are poisoning their wells, and that they should be prepared to become suicide bombers. Today we see the products of that educational system, as the majority of suicide bombers are between the ages of 16 and 28.


FURTHER READINGS


Books

  • Said K. Aburish. Arafat: From Defender to Dictator. London: Bloomsbury USA, 1999.

  • Ian Black with Benny Morris. Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. New York: Grove/Atlantic, 1992.

  • John Bright. History of Israel. Phoenix, AZ: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.

  • Noam Chomsky. Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999.

  • Noam Chomsky. Middle East Illusions: Including Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.

  • Richard Ben Cramer. How Israel Lost: The Four Questions. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004.

  • Alan Dershowitz. The Case for Israel. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

  • Noah J. Efron. Real Jews: Secular Versus Ultra-Orthodox: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in Israel. New York: Basic Books, 2003.

  • Norman G. Finkelstein. Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict. New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

  • Martin Gilbert. The Jews in the Twentieth Century: An Illustrated History. New York: Schocken Books, 2001.

  • Martin Gilbert. The Routledge Atlas of Arab-Israeli Conflict: The Complete History of the Struggle and the Efforts to Resolve It. London: Routledge, 2002.

  • Arthur Hertzberg. The Fate of Zionism: A Secular Future for Israel and Palestine. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

  • Theodor Herzl. The Jewish State. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1989.

  • David Horowitz. Still Life with Bombers: Israel in the Age of Terrorism. New York: Knopf, 2004.

  • Efraim Karsh. Arafat's War: The Man and His Battle for Israeli Conquest. New York: Grove Press, 2003.

  • Baruch Kimmerling. The Palestinian People: A History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.

  • Walter Laqueur. A History of Zionism: From the French Revolution to the Establishment of the State of Israel. New York: Random House, 2003.

  • Yaacov Lozowick. Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars. New York: Doubleday, 2003.

  • Benny Morris. Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

  • Jo-Ann Mort and Gary Brenner. Our Hearts Invented a Place: Can Kibbutzim Survive in Today's Israel? Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003.

  • Benjamin Netanyahu. A Durable Peace: Israel and Its Place Among the Nations. New York: Warner Books, 2000.

  • Michael B. Oren. Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East. New York: Ballantine Books, 2003.

  • Ilan Pappe. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

  • Joan Peters. From Time Immemorial: The Origins of the Arab-Jewish Conflict over Palestine. Chicago: JKAP, 1993.

  • Abraham Rabinovich. The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter That Transformed the Middle East. New York: Schocken Books; 2004.

  • Tanya Reinhart. Israel/Palestine: How to End the War of 1948. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2002.

  • Donna Rosenthal. The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land. New York: Free Press, 2003.

  • Joe Sacco. Palestine. Seattle: Fantagraphics Books, 2001.

  • Howard M. Sacharm. A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time. New York: Random House, 1996.

  • Edward W. Said. The Question of Palestine. New York: Knopf, 1992.

  • Tom Segev and Arlen Neal Weinstein. 1949: The First Israelis. New York: Owl Books, 1998.

  • Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky. Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel. London: Pluto Press, 2004.

  • David K. Shipler. Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land. New York: Penguin Books, 2002.

  • Avi Shlaim. Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000.

  • Charles D. Smith. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. New York: Bedford Books, 2000.

  • Leslie Stein. The Hope Fulfilled: The Rise of Modern Israel. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.

  • Baylis Thomas. How Israel Was Won: A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 1999.

  • Tony Walker and Andrew Gowers. Arafat: The Biography. London: Virgin Books, 2003.

  • Keith W. Whitelam. The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History. London: Routledge, 1997.

  • Sigalit Zetouni, Anita Miller, and Jordan Miller. Sharon: Israel's Warrior-Politician. Chicago: Academy Chicago & Olive Publishing, 2002.


Periodicals

  • David Aikman. "Is Peace Possible in the Middle East?" World & I, March 2001.

  • APS Diplomatic News Service. "Arab-Israeli War Is Unavoidable, as Clients Won't Liquidate the 'Terrorist Groups,'" July 7, 2003.

  • Shlomo Avineri. "Irreconcilable Differences: The Best Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Might Be No Solution at All," Foreign Policy, March 2002.

  • Mubarak E. Awad. "The Road to Arab-Israeli Peace," Tikkun, January 2001.

  • Louis Rene Beres. "A Palestinian State and Regional Nuclear War," Israel Insider, October 15, 2001.

  • Avraham Burg. "Arabs and Israelis Must Compromise Their Dreams," Guardian, October 10, 2003.

  • Emuna Elon. "A Fake Palestinian State or a Real One?" Jerusalem Report, June 16, 2003.

  • Don Feder. "Would Palestinian Statehood Be the Beginning of the End for Israel?" Insight on the News, July 22, 2002.

  • Yossi Klein Halevi. "How Despair Is Transforming Israel: The Wall," New Republic, July 8, 2002.

  • Daniel Lazare. "The One-State Solution: However Utopian, Binationalism May Be the Last Hope for Israeli-Palestinian Peace," Nation, November 3, 2003.

  • Ilana Mercer. "Arafat: A Man of the People," WorldNetDaily, April 10, 2002.

  • Melanie Phillips. "Road Map to Hell," Spectator, May 17, 2003.

  • Daniel Pipes. "Arabs Still Want to Destroy Israel," Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2002.

  • Jeffrey Rubinoff. "They Just Do Not Want It," www.MichNews.com, February 26, 2004.

  • Alain Epp Weaver. "Planned Obsolescence," Christian Century, May 3, 2003.

  • Sherwin Wine. "Arabs and Jews: Is There Any Light at the End of the Tunnel for Peace in the Middle East?" Humanist, September/October 2002.

Source Citation:

Landau, Uzi. "The Security Fence Between Israel and the Palestinians Is Necessary for Peace." Opposing Viewpoints: Israel. Ed. John Woodward.San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2005. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Scotch Plains Fanwood High School. 27 Feb. 2013.


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