JERUSALEM -- The United Nations and European Union are threatening to sanction Israel for constructing a security fence on the "green line" that runs along the Palestinian-controlled West Bank even as the Palestinians engage in terrorist acts that necessitate it. On Wednesday, that security fence saved Jerusalem from a suicide bombing.
A terrorist from the Aksa Martyrs Brigade left Jenin in Northern Israel with the intention of entering Jerusalem to conduct a suicide bombing. Hemmed in by the security fence, he was unable to slip into Israel from the north. So instead he traveled down the West Bank past Ramallah. When he tried to enter Israel and saw Israeli border policemen checking cars, he abandoned his original plan, local press reported. The terrorist fled from the checkpoint but used a remote control device to blow up a bomb there, killing two Palestinians who were being checked ahead of him. In further proof of the perverse permutations of Islamic moral theology, he was willing to kill fellow Palestinians to strike a blow against the Israeli police (the bomb wounded 6 Israeli police officers). The Aksa Martyrs Brigade took credit for the bombing, but acknowledged, in the course of explaining why they blew up two Arabs, that their original plan to enter Jerusalem had been foiled.
Israeli intelligence, which makes the CIA look like a temp agency, was also instrumental in stopping the attack. They told police at checkpoints around Jerusalem to go on high alert as they learned on Wednesday that a suicide bomber was planning to enter the capital.
The U.N. regards the Israeli security fence as an affront to humanitarianism. But given the proximity of the West Bank to Israel the fence is just basic common sense. The proximity, to an outsider unfamiliar with the smallness of Israel, almost seems absurd. Israelis living next to Palestinian militants without a fence would be like Americans letting Al Qaeda set up shop in Newark.
"Are you pro-fence or anti-fence?" a young orthodox Jew asked me in a taxi bus as we past the area near Ramallah. "You have to be pro-fence on this road." Where Palestinian militants are known to shoot on to the highway going down to Jerusalem, there isn't just fence but wall high enough to prevent firing. These walls often show up in photos as propaganda against it. International diplomats, with the luxury of not living next to the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, use this propaganda to cast the security fence as the Berlin Wall of the Middle East. Sitting in the comfort of the Hague, the fence just doesn't seem so necessary. One Israeli, dismayed at reports this week that the European Union is planning to help the Palestinians generate international pressure to dismantle the fence, said: "They are going after the shield without going after the sword."
When Israel was run by socialists like David Ben-Gurion, the U.N. applauded it. But now that the socialists of old are gone and more conservative Jews are running Israel (more and more religious Jews are entering the upper ranks of the military), liberals at the U.N. are happy to champion the illiberal side. Liberals within Israel aren't helping matters, doing to Israel what the ACLU does to America.
But even one such liberal Israeli said to me that he feels safer now that Americans are in Iraq. He opposes the war but is glad Hussein isn't lurking around the corner of Jordan anymore. Jews are descended from an Iraqi -- Abraham of Ur -- he reminded me, a piece of information he probably wouldn't have offered a few years ago.
Abraham and his descendants had no problem seeing the necessity of walling off terror. Jerusalem is a city of ancient walls, and as Wednesday's foiled attack proves, it needs the new one.
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