Having said that, there is still a part of me that want to see it, hoping against hope that it will somehow redeem itself, be better than the critics say. Forlorn hope I know. I guess I'll make it one of those guilty rentals in six months time or so.
Dammit, why did it have to be bad? I was so looking forward to seeing Scooby and the Gang again. I'll just have to go and watch Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back again for a view of what could have been.
Now they have already green-lighted a sequel. (Okay: today, and today only, I will have a problem with capitalism.) Why do I already hear the voice of Scrappy-Doo?
The latest atrocity carried out by Palestinian terrorists -- 20 dead, at last count, in a homicide-bomb attack on a Jerusalem bus -- will amplify demands to build a large-scale security barrier between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. On Sunday, ground was broken just north of an Israeli checkpoint near Jenin. Following yesterday's attacks, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Defence Minister, promised to accelerate its construction, especially in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
In the short term, a fence would probably help reduce the number of terrorists crossing into Israel. But it will not solve Israel's problem in the long run: If a terrorist is so committed to the goal of killing Jews that he is willing to blow himself up in the process, he will probably not be discouraged by a barrier of wire and concrete.
So? Stopping Palestinians at checkpoints doesn't solve Israel's problem in the long run either. It can help protect Israelis in the short term, and the long term is made up of a whole bunch of little short terms. Reducing the number of attacks is the goal. perfection isn't attainable and is not the immediate goal of building the fence.
A fence will not discourage a bomber, but will slow him down, force him to expend time and effort in finding a way through/around it. This will make it easier for the Israelis to catch the bombers.
The reality is that construction of a full ring around the West Bank would take several years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
As I've previously mentioned, the cost of continually calling up the reserves, loss of tourism revenue and the human and medical cost make it worth it, if not cheap by comparison. A fence will not necessarily take years to complete either. Even a partially built fence will make completed areas harder to attack from.
Even then, determined killers can still slip through checkpoints with forged papers or recruit volunteers living within Israel's pre-1967 borders. Around built-up areas, such as Jerusalem, it will be impossible to seal every possible hole.
True, but if the terrorists have to come through certain choke points, the job of stopping them becomes easier because you can concentrate your resources.
Moreover, once built, the fence may contribute to the isolation of Israeli settlements and give terrorists more freedom to arm themselves openly from foreign sources. Some of these arms, such as Katyusha rockets and mortars, can be fired over a fence. Indeed, terrorists themselves can fly over the fence in gliders, tunnel beneath it or land behind it from the sea.
I'm not quite sure how the lack of a fence prevents katyushas from firing into Israeli areas. A solid wall, on the other hand, would have some effect at stopping rifle fire. The Israelis have attack helicopters that would not regard any fence or wall as an obstacle. One of the problems with this editorial is that it insists on considering the fence in isolation, instead as part of Israel's defence integrated with Intelligence, helicopters, naval boats, satellite surveillance, electronic sensors, mines, armed patrols, etc, etc, etc.
Oh, and I'd love to see them try the glider. The West bank is not Colditz Castle.
But the greatest weakness of the fence concept is that it symbolizes withdrawal. By encouraging groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to believe they have caused Israel to abandon territory, it will encourage more attacks -- as did Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the buffer zone in southern Lebanon in 2000. Hezbollah saw the voluntary withdrawal as a forced retreat, or proof that terrorism works against democracies. Thus, unless Israel accompanies its fence project with a robust counterterrorism campaign within the disputed territories, the barrier may create more problems than it solves.
Okay, the last paragraph I can't disagree with. A permanent fence would be seen as a sign of Israeli weakness, and would be a goad to world opinion. But the bottom line to me is that a fence, or better yet, a set of walls with a minefiled inbetween will save Israeli lives.
After reading through the description, one unfortunate though immediately came to mind: the Greens would love this weapon. Just think, a means by which they could halt the industrial society they despise in its tracks without piling up people like cordwood. Their supposed moral high ground can be maintained while they attempt to halt human progress.
The "fence" Israel has undertaken to build is a false promise. The Great Wall of China has proved to be more successful as a tourist attraction than an obstacle to northern barbarians. Hadrian's Wall, while less successful as a tourist attraction, marks the point where the Roman Empire began retreating. Hitler found a speedy way around the Maginot Line, on which the French wasted huge sums. The Berlin Wall delayed German unification for only a few decades.
A "fence" is merely a further drain on a severely damaged economy, not a way to Israeli safety.
Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. The Berlin Wall analogy is particularly dumb. There is a difference between a wall built to keep people from escaping and a wall built to keep attackers out. The Great Wall of China? What a logical debating tactic, looking at its role today and thus concluding that its function a thousand years ago was unsuccessful.
The Maginot line is perhaps a good comparison, best used to illustrate the dangers of relying on a fence for your protection. Complacency and arrogance on the French scale will undermine any defense. I don't think that the Israelis are going to become complacent anytime soon. When your enemy is constantly testing your defences and trying to kill you, it focuses the attention wonderfully. In Korea they've had North Korea smuggling spies, commando teams and even outright skirmishes between their boats on a fairly regular basis for the last fifty years. The forces along the DMZ have maintained their readiness.
As for the economic cost the building a fence would impose, I don't think it is that much of an issue, at lest compared to having to call up the IDF reserves every few months. Calling up the reserves takes key people out of place all throughout the economy. There is also the loss of cheap palestinian labour that would hurt the Israeli economy (in particular the Kibbutzim). That would prove harder to replace.
Thoughts and comments on this idea would be appreciated.