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Often when people think of the word "Hamas," it becomes intrinsically linked with Islamic and Muslim peoples. This is highly unfair. Hamas is actually a very limited population of Palestinian and Islamic extremists. In the book Hamas: a History from Within, author Azzam Tamimi (2007) brings the reader into the world of the Hamas and explains to the rest of the world how things really were. One of the focuses of the text is the ways in which the nation state of Israel has erred in its dealings with the Hamas. Had the Israelis made better decisions, he seems to argue, a lot of the animosity between the Israeli government and the rest of the Middle East would not be present. This takes the stance that Israel is the real perpetrator of wrongdoing, but that does not seem to be the truth.
The security fence erected by the Israeli government in the West Bank has sparked much controversy since it was originally proposed. Since late 2000, Israel has been routinely attacked by terrorist attacks in the forms of exploding vehicles, suicide bombers, and other forms of murder and assault. The barrier currently under construction will create a separation between much of Israel and portions of the country inhabited by Palestinians. The Palestinian part of the country is where the terrorist attacks are emanating from. After many attempts to get the Palestinian government to intervene and force terrorist groups to disband, the Israeli government felt there was no other recourse than to erect this fence. The security barrier is designed to protect innocent people and to save lives. Despite the criticisms from opponents, the security barrier will indeed serve the purpose of saving lives.
Before the erection of the Security Barrier, there was much debate over the question of separation vs. inclusion between Palestinian and Israeli peoples. There are two camps of thought in the State of Israel that reflect these two perspectives. There are those that desire a peaceful solution to the problem and advocate compromise between the two groups. The other group, the ones that would eventually determine that the Security Fence was a necessary measure, desired to separate the two populations from one another. The idea being that the two groups are so different from political viewpoints that there is no hope of ever living cohesively in the same area. Leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak are the primary supporter of "hard separation" and Shimon Peres is the primary proponent of the first viewpoint of "political separation with wide ranging cooperation, particularly in economic relations and economic development" (Baskin 2002,-page 7). These two factions would be the precursor to the wall's erection.
Another supporter of complete separation of Israel and Palestine, Dan Scheuftan, points to the economic drain of allowing continued interaction between the two populations. He claims that the lack of democracy in Palestinian governments prohibits their economy from the kind of growth seen in other nations of the world. "Economic life and quality of life, he states, will always be much higher on the Israeli side of the wall. Israel does not need the burden of having to worry about the needs of the Palestinians" (Baskin 2002,-page 9). Because of this discrepancy, Scheuftan advocates not only the separation of Israel and Palestine, but a permanent closing of the borders between the two areas. "There should be no Palestinian trans-boundary movement of people or goods. Only when the Palestinians can prove that they are worthy of joining the community of nations, should Israel open its borders to the East, but only for the purpose of trade -- not for labor" (Baskin 2002,-page 9).
Israel has made many attempts at peaceful reconciliations with the neighboring factions, to no avail. The Arab nations simply seem to have no interest in making peaceful negotiations with the Israeli nation. After the Six Day War of 1967, Israelis learned that in order to defend themselves from violent enemies, they must be willing to sacrifice greatly. Since their enemies would not hesitate to perform acts of violence against Israel, Israel must not hesitate to respond in kind (Cohen 2005,-page 738). There has now been a decades-long stalemate between the States of Israel and Palestine with neither wishing to concede anything to the other. Finally, Israel, under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, determined that the erection of the Security Barrier would put an end to the death and destruction of this political and ethical quagmire between ideologies.
In June 2002, the Israel government decided that the violence against its citizens had gone on for long enough and that something had to be done to prevent further terrorist attacks. The decision was made to erect a large fence which would divide the Israeli citizens from Palestinian nationals. The fence would be more than 400 miles long and feature more than 70 crossing stations so that those who wanted to cross between territories would still be able to do so, but only under supervised conditions. During the second Intifada, terrorist attacks coming from the Palestinian side of the country went on a campaign of violence against Israeli citizens. This led to pressure on the Israeli leaders from its citizens who demanded something be done to protect them (Ben-Eliezer 2006,-page 172).
The Israeli Security Fence, as it is referred to by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, was designed to deter terrorist attacks from Palestinian forces. The Ministry of Defense put out this statement in 2007:
Terrorism has been defined throughout the international community as a crime against humanity. As such, the State of Israel not only has the right but also the obligation to do everything in its power to lessen the impact and scope of terrorism on the citizens of Israel. The Security Fence is an operational concept conceived by the Israeli Defense Establishment in order to reduce the number of terrorist attacks whether in the form of explosive-rigged vehicles or in the form of suicide bombers who enter Israel with the intention of murdering innocent babies, children, women and men (Israel's 2007).
The intent of the wall is not to segregate one population from another or to create hardships for the Palestinian people. The intent is to protect people from the wrath of terrorists.
The fence, although controversial, is nothing new in the nation of Israel. The country has built similar barriers between Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan (Bard 2007). Israel is not the only country to build fences to protect itself and its interests. The United States, for example, has been working on a barrier between itself and the neighboring country of Mexico in order to thwart illegal immigration. Also, Spain has built a fence to keep Moroccans out of their country. India is constructing a wall to separate Kashmir and Bangladesh. Saudi Arabia is working on an epic wall structure to prevent Iraqi immigrants from entering their country. China is working on a similar erection to separate neighbor North Korea. Pakistan is working on a barrier between itself and Oman (Ehrman 2007,-page 41). Why then, when all these other nations are constructing similar barriers and fences to keep out their unwanted populations, is the Security Fence between Israeli peoples and those of Palestine considered an issue of international proportion?
During the Oslo accords, the Palestinian government pledged to dismantle terrorist networks (Bard 2007). This has not been done, although many opportunities have presented themselves. In 2006, the state of Palestine elected a Hamas government (Litvak 2005,-page 41). Hamas people are an extremely violent and revolutionary branch of Islamic Resistance and have characteristically shown no inclination to compromise or prevent attacks on innocent people. "In its Charter, Hamas states that peace initiatives and international conferences are 'in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.' With its refusal to recognize, and calls for destruction of, the State of Israel, Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) in effect legitimized Israel's decision to pursue unilateralism" (Jacoby 2007,-page 24). The violence against Israel has made it necessary for the government to take drastic measures to protect their citizens.
There have been numerous attempts to block the continued construction of the fence from a legal standpoint. The case even made it to the International Court of Justice in The Hague (Jacoby 2007,-page 1). Particularly of legal question, Palestinians claim that the Israeli government is seizing privately-owned lands in order to construct the Security Fence. In response to these accusations, the government of the State of Israel has responded that the situation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is very close to a war, just without official declarations. The violence exhibited by the Palestinians on the State of Israel has shown that they have every intention of continuing their attacks, which makes them the enemy of Israel. In Article 23 of the 1907 Hague regulations, International Law states that it is forbidden "to destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the needs of war" (Jacoby 2007,-page 35). Since the Palestinians began…[continue]
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