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Sunday November 28th

Response to last week's opinion article on West Bank wall

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Last week an opinion article was published regarding the wall Israel put up several years ago in an attempt to decrease suicide bombings by Palestinians. Apparently, the author believes that taking this type of action to prevent innocent civilians from dying is a brilliant example of Israeli brutality. As an Israeli who lived in Israel for sixteen years I am offended and disgusted by the ignorance and harshness of Jeff Pillar's words. For fear that my anger will get the better of me I will try to address the disturbing issues in the article one by one in an organized fashion.
First of all, Pillar stated that Israel receives more foreign aid from the United States than any other country. But he failed to mention that Israel, the only democratic country in the region, is also the United States' greatest ally, if not in the world then certainly in the Middle East. In many ways Israel is an anchor for US interests in that part of the world, so it makes perfect sense that it receives such aid. Since Israel is continually fighting for its existence surrounded by hostile neighbors, the US aid given to Israel is used among other things to help strengthen the Israeli Defense Forces, and is not a "bastardization of well intended US aid" as Pillar claims.
While the West Bank wall may have impinged on Palestinian landowners, it was the violent actions of their people that brought this about. Even before Israel was declared a state, Palestinians had been using guerilla warfare to try and exhaust the organized Israeli Defense Forces. In fact, the night Israel declared statehood (following a unanimous vote by the United Nations in which the land was to be divided between Israelis and Palestinians in a partition plan), Palestinians attacked Israel. Israel fought back, and ended up pushing back the Israeli-Palestinian border leaving the Palestinians with less land than with what they started. Palestinians want their own state, but lacking an economic infrastructure of their own they largely depend on Israel. Israel and the Palestinians have an economic relationship in which Israel gets Palestinian labor, and the Palestinians acquire jobs and money that they sadly otherwise would not have. Also, Pillar mentioned the checkpoints that Israel has at the wall, but failed to include their purpose which is to allow Palestinians into the country to work, but keep out those who are on their way to commit a suicide bombing. The West Bank wall is an attempt by Israel to reduce violence on both sides. Not only does it prevent suicide bombers from entering the county and murdering civilians, but in so doing it also prevents the Israeli retaliation that may follow a bombing.
In his article Pillar repeatedly referred to the wall as an "apartheid wall" so I would like to elucidate: although there are Arab-Israelis who are Israeli citizens in every way and have the same rights afforded to all Israelis, the Palestinian people are not residents or citizens of Israel nor do they want to be. Indeed, Palestinians do not at present have a nationality as they lack a state., Therefore, the allegation that borders between Israeli and Palestinian territories are based on racial segregation is an absurd notion. Pillar also stated that the wall is not necessary. Aside from Israel's basic right to defensible borders, I suppose that Pillar cannot see the necessity for a country to protect the lives of its citizens. If keeping terrorists from blowing up buses filled with children on their way to school, and cafes filled with families isn't a necessity, then I don't know what is.
Pillar states that Israeli helicopters shoot up buildings in which suspected terrorists are hiding "killing not only the suspected terrorist, but every attending man, woman and child as well." Pillar did not mention that when the IDF surrounds a building in which a terrorist is hiding, they announce numerous times that they are about to shoot, explicitly telling all who wish to remained unharmed, including the terrorists to evacuate the building. This right to life "courtesy" has never been afforded Israelis by Palestinian terrorists.
Israel has been at war since it was declared a state. A tiny democratic island in a sea of dictatorships, it needs all the support it can get. With so much of the Middle East supporting the Palestinian cause, not one of these countries has ever offered to take in the poverty plagued Palestinian population neglected by its so-called leaders and officials. Israel, a country in which so many parents bury their children, is exhausted by war and wants only for it to end. Any peace agreement ever made between Israel and the Palestinians has been ruined by Palestinian terrorists. Criticizing Israel's ways of dealing with never-ending terrorism is a narrow-minded and petty thing to do. Anyone who has not lived in Israel cannot possibly understand the constant dread of a terrorist attack, along with the strong desire for peace and an end to the violence.


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