International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

The Fence

Israel’s security fence, running more or less along the borders of the West Bank, is meant to do just what its name states—provide security for the people of Israel. Its purpose is not to separate, harass, or isolate Palestinians. The security fence has one goal: To deter, and, it is hoped, prevent terrorists living in the West Bank from infiltrating Israel and harming or killing Israeli citizens. Critics have called the fence a “wall” (evoking comparisons to the Berlin Wall before it). But the fence doesn’t even much resemble a wall area along most of its expanse; much of the barrier is a simple chain-link fence.

The fence was not without precedent. Israel had created barriers like this before, along its borders with Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Since the Gaza fence went up, for example, no suicide bombers have made their way from Gaza into Israel. Other countries, too, have constructed similar fences—the United States, for example, built one along the border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration.

Talk about this security fence began back in the 1990s, following murders in Jerusalem and violence in Gaza. When the al-Aqsa Intifada started in 2000, the unprecedented level of attacks, most often perpetrated by terrorists entering Israel from the West Bank, spurred the government to action. Hundreds of citizens had been murdered, thousands more maimed.  Without a barrier of some kind, pulling off an attack was as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. The Palestinians, though they had officially renounced violence as part of the Oslo Accords, showed no intention of actually ending the attacks (as evidenced by the deaths of hundreds of Israeli civilians in terror attacks). The Israeli government thus had an obligation to protect its citizens, Arab and Jew alike.

The fence, started in 2003, follows the border of the “Green Line” demarcated as the Israel-Jordan border after 1948. Israelis and Arabs both fear that the fence will become an eventual Israeli border: Israelis living in West Bank communities located outside the fence worry that they will be left defenseless, in a hostile Arab environment, while Arabs worry that Israel is slowly annexing the territory they believe to be rightfully theirs. However, Israel does not plan to make this fence into any kind of border; its existence is solely to ensure the safety of Israeli citizens. The route of the fence will eventually include as many Israeli, and as few Palestinian, settlements as possible, and it weaves in and out of the West Bank.

The government has attempted to use only public land when possible to construct the fence; when private land is used, it remains the property of the owners, who receive government compensation. Doubtless the fence creates inconveniences and bad feelings for Palestinians who come to Israel for work. It also makes the movement of goods between the West Bank and Israel more difficult. Responding to these unfortunate byproducts and to help with the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians, Israel has created checkpoints along the fence allowing Palestinians to enter Israel legally. In fact, the government contends that the fence will eventually benefit the Palestinians, as the improved safety it brings will make military operations less necessary in the West Bank and reduce the number of troops deployed in Palestinian towns.

The route of the fence has sparked much controversy, and work has stopped numerous times as the courts debate the legality of certain portions. For example, since the government wishes to include as many Jewish towns as possible, authorities have constructed the fence farther inside the West Bank instead of strictly along the 1949 armistice line. And the construction of the fence around Jerusalem has also sparked opposition. Answering legal challenges, the Israeli courts decided in 2005 to build a temporary fence separating Jerusalem from the West Bank, and to delay building the permanent fence until the legal issues can be resolved.

The fence itself, though seemingly made of low-tech materials, is actually highly sophisticated, incorporating sensors, trenches, unmanned aerial vehicles, and land mines. And it works. Violence has fallen dramatically since the fence’s construction. From 2000 (when the al-Aqsa Intifada started) until 2003 (when the first part of the fence was completed), terrorists operating out of the West Bank carried out 73 attacks, killing 293 Israelis and wounding 1,950. But those numbers fell dramatically the next three years, post-construction. Between 2003 and 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445—still distressing numbers, but much lower ones. Why the difference? Approximately 75% of the Palestinian terrorists coming from the West Bank had infiltrated Israel from the area now protected by the fence.

The security fence may be controversial, but it is saving lives, both Jewish and Arab.

What do you think?

  • ross
    April 10, 2013
    1:08 pm

    This issue of fence or wall is a tiny portion of protection versus the migthiest, greatest threat to Israel being the docs.,declarations for its total destruction by Arabs and Persians. All right?

    Reply to this comment »
  • WER
    July 16, 2012
    1:59 pm

    I have been there also. And YEP, they know how to build a “wall”. We could take some lessons from them. We need a “wall” like the one entering Bethlehem, on our southern border. Enter legally.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Marie Rose
    April 1, 2012
    2:53 am

    I will always stand for Israel because our almighty God – the creator gave them this land and they are God’s children.

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  • martin
    September 23, 2011
    6:36 pm

    Steve: The wall is 10% of the project where people can shoot at passing cars from buildings and high points. The other 90% IS a fence. Your “not Anti-semitic” is intellectually dishonest.

    Reply to this comment »
  • miriam
    June 16, 2011
    12:26 pm

    Israel has a right to protect it’s people.the only Democratic state in the region. They not only have a right to keep their land as is, But a God given right. They have a temple to build.I can remember not long ago Arafat was deemed a Terroist by the united states, do not know when that changed, however I do believe the majority of the American people are for Israel. Prayers for your country & leaders. God bless.

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  • Mitchell
    March 29, 2011
    11:54 am

    I recently visited Israel and no one I met wanted the physical wall at all but conceded that it was necessary for security and has helped to reduce the Arab’s constant terror campaigns.

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  • marsha
    March 28, 2011
    7:05 am

    when we look at the GEOGRAPHICAL SURROUNDINGS of Isreal,Whats the issue with the tempory fence,Isnt The LORD and SAVIOUR is ISREAL’s fence?PSALM 91:4

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  • Chris
    March 11, 2011
    12:33 am

    It is time for Israel to remember her roots; to bring to bear the history of Israel’s heritage to the world and the promises made to them; the promises that gave Israel life in the first place. To state categorically Israeli’s must own Israel in its totality and not be forced by international opinion to secede any portion of Israeli sovereignty in order to placate an international dictum. If the international community wants involvement in the Israeli peace process let them call upon the United Nations to annex Lebanese and Syrian coast lands, proclaim the annexed lands “New Palestine” and invite the Palestinians to move out of Israel immediately. Israel would be sovereign once again, the Palestinians would have a home they can call their own, the international Muslim community can rejoice in the freedom their Palestinian neighbors wanted and the international community can applaud the United Nations for benefiting both Israel and New Palestine in bringing peace between all the factions involved.

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  • lavonne
    November 11, 2010
    2:06 pm

    Gen 15:18 On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—

    Deu 11:24 “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates, even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.

    Jos 1:4 “From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.

    The HOLY G-D of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has said these things. HE stands to fight for HIS people Israel forever!

    Reply to this comment »
    • Judy
      November 19, 2010
      9:16 am

      For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet.”(Isaiah 62:1),God Bless your people Israel, I pray God’s protection over them and their land.I will stand firm, and support God’s people Israel!

      Reply to this comment »
  • gogo
    October 14, 2010
    3:26 pm

    out of religion,who give them the right of this land? they ropped a state,and you discuss their right to protect them selves from those who have been fair,and searsh correctly for as you call terror.

    Reply to this comment »
    • lavonne
      November 11, 2010
      1:54 am

      The Holy God of Heaven Who created all the heavens and earth GAVE the land of Israel to the children of Israel a long, long, long time ago!
      They have whatever right to protect their borders whatever way they deem proper to care for their citizens and to make sure that the children are safe from maniacs who want to harm them.
      May the God of Peace protect and watch over them in their time of need.
      Blessings upon you, ISRAEL!!!

      Reply to this comment »
  • Mark
    September 23, 2010
    12:17 pm

    What has happened to common sense today? Doesn’t anyone remember when terrorists were killing innocent women and children in Tel-Aviv and other Israeli towns? Apparently not.

    The wall was not built to oppress anyone, it was built to protect innocent people from death. Now why is that a problem?

    If the Palestinians don’t like the wall, they should stop supporting terror coming from their land and take a stand against it from within their own people. This includes the rockets that are being fired from Gaza.

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  • ronald
    August 6, 2010
    1:04 am

    look back in the old testament and you will notice during those times that wall fences were in constant use for for keeping out bad people and for protection purposes thi s goes back to king david and before him all the fore fathers did this for generations so why should it be any different today israel has a right just like any other nation has a right to protect it’s borders

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  • Michael
    July 5, 2010
    6:37 am

    What would be so wrong if the whole fence was a wall? Unlike the infamous Berlin wall, which was erected to keep it’s citizens under lock and key (and to keep out foreign influences), the Israeli wall is being built to protect it’s people, and keep out terrorists. Honestly, I’m amazed at Israel. The media likes to portray Israel as being haters, but they still allow Muslims to live and work among them, as long as they are peaceful. If the Arabs would give up there JIHAD against Israel, there’d be peace there. Israel has bent over backwards and beyond to try and make peace, but you can’t have peace with people who’ve sworn to destroy you. In my opinion, Israel should take out one Arab town for every terrorist attack perpetrated against them. I believe they’d have a military peace rather quickly that way. The Muslims may not like Israel, but they do respect sheer force.

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  • cedric
    June 29, 2010
    11:45 pm

    i dont think its enough,Israel has every right too besecure;if america was truly a friend it would use the military and put a stop to any nation doing them harm…u cant divide their land god gave them
    this land

    Reply to this comment »
  • Laurie
    May 5, 2010
    11:08 pm

    This fence is only Israel’s business the way I see it. The safety of the Israeli people is what it is for. This land belongs to the Israelite people, so what is wrong with their doing what they see as necessary?

    Reply to this comment »
  • Tiara
    March 24, 2010
    2:50 pm

    I have also seen the wall, and it is, in fact, a wall. The concrete portion is the most compelling. Other parts are composed of barbed wire or electric fencing. The article is extremely partisan when it states that the wall is for the sole purpose of security. The wall prohibits Palestinians from reaching Jerusalem, the heart of Israel’s economy. In addition, the wall does not adhere to the green line when it cuts major portions of olive farming, again disabling Palestinian economy. I’m impressed with the article’s attempt to undermine the significance of the wall. As an American, can anyone of you image living in that situation? I read from this site to have a bi-partisan outlook on the situation. I urge others on this site to do the same and read from perspectives of the opposite view.

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  • Geraldine
    January 16, 2010
    1:16 pm

    On a visit to Israel 5 years ago, I was very surprised to see that what had been condemned as a “wall” was actually nothing more than a chain link fence similar to one which circles my backyard. I applaud it and the safety it provides to the people.

    Reply to this comment »
    • Steve
      February 25, 2010
      5:14 pm

      I am very familiar with what Geraldine calls a fence. A 30′ to 40′ high concrete wall is more than a fence, really. It does smack of a “Berlin Wall.” And all this done with the complicity and funding of the US government! This is not “Anti-Semitic.” It’s true and tragic that the unrest and crimes against humanity are happening in the name of a religion.

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