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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Israeli wall protects with a proven method

In response to an increase in suicide bombings and terrorist activity over the past months, the Israeli government has opted to build a wall around the West Bank, separating it from the rest of Israel. This security barrier is intended to protect Israeli citizens from attack by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
Recently, the United Nations, the organization that created Israel in 1948, has denied the nation’s right to defend itself. On Dec. 9, The Washington Post reported that the United Nations called upon the International Court of Justice in The Hague to make a ruling on the legality of the wall. Security barriers such as the one in Israel should clearly be allowed by international law. They are necessary for operational security during war time.
According to BBC News, the United Nations formally condemned the wall in October. In November, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Anon issued a report stating that the wall is illegal and demanded its removal. These attempts by the United Nations regarding the security barrier were clearly ignored by Israel, as it views the wall as necessary for security. However, a ruling that approves such walls from The Hague, the world’s authority on international law, will have a greater impact.
To the United Nations, the issue is a matter of legality. However, the United Nations denies Israel the right to defend itself against terrorist acts. The British government created “peace lines” between Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland to stem violence between the groups. Currently, U.S. forces in Iraq employ similar security checkpoints to protect U.S. military personnel. Thus, a ruling condemning the use of security barriers will, according to The International Herald Tribune, “impair the ability of democratic nations to deal with difficult security challenges.”
The legal precedent of security walls dates back to the Geneva Convention, which requires that civilians in occupied areas be treated humanely. If anything, this will make life easier for Palestinians in the occupied territory. Previously, the Israeli Defense Force had a large presence in the West Bank both guarding roadblocks and enforcing a strict curfew. The security fence eliminates the need for this military presence and effectively makes life easier for the Palestinians. In fact, much of the hostility between Palestinian citizens and the Israeli military has ceased simply because the soldiers are no longer in close proximity to Palestinian neighborhoods.
Recently, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced that the government would consider changing the path of the fence for “humanitarian reasons.” The Israeli government has even offered compensation to Palestinian farmers who were separated from their fields due to the building of the security wall.
The Palestinians’ main concern is the issue of land. The Palestinian Authority fears the wall is an attempt to establish borders and seize land. The Israeli government claims the wall is purely for defense and is in no way meant to be a territorial border. Even calling the defensive barrier a “wall” is a stretch. Only a small portion of the wall is concrete, and this exists solely in areas deemed as “hot spots,” or places where violence from the Palestinians was common. The rest of the barrier is made up of fence line, ditches and patrol roads – something, the Israelis claim, that is easy to destroy. Even if the wall can be deemed a border, it gives Palestinians control of more than 90 percent of the West Bank. The Israeli government has realized that it will have to give up land to the Palestinians in exchange for peace, and the Palestinians have to make compromises as well.
Despite opposition, the wall has been extremely effective at accomplishing its goal. Critics argue that the wall will spur increased Palestinian attacks and harm the peace process. However, many believe the wall will benefit the peace process. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger argues that the fence will make Palestinians more accommodating and make Israelis more willing to take risks to achieve peace.
The wall has also been proven effective at its immediate goal of saving lives. The Israeli government reports a decrease in suicide bombings since the construction of the wall. More importantly, since Israeli soldiers guard the checkpoints leading to and from the West Bank, the wall almost entirely eliminates Palestinian terrorist groups such as Hamas from targeting Israeli civilians. If terrorists can’t get to Israeli markets and schools, they can’t attack them. While terrorist activity against soldiers is no less deplorable, at least soldiers are trained to defend themselves and fight back.
In a place as desperate as the Middle East, solutions require desperate measures. While the Palestinians have a valid claim to having a state of their own, no progress can be made until the violence stops. The security barrier is a justified action and a step toward peace. The Israeli government has the right to protect its citizens against terrorist attacks. A ruling by the World Court condemning such action would be a travesty to justice.

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