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A Just Barrier?

German Interior Minister Otto Schily recently said the controversial Israeli security barrier is effective because it has led to a drop in attacks on Israel. DW-WORLD readers comment on the issue.

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Separated by barbed wire


Israel is obligated both morally and ethically to finish building this fence. Any barrier that has shown itself capable of preventing deaths -- on both sides -- must be applauded and encouraged by all people who value human life. German Interior Minister Otto Schily is absolutely correct in asserting that the greatest threat to peace today is not Israel -- as a recent European poll suggested, but rather Islamic militancy. By not supporting the erection of this barrier, the World Court has become an accessory to terrorism by enabling terrorism to succeed. Only when Islamic terrorists are seriously curtailed in their plans to destroy the possibility of peace, only then can serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians take place. -- Marilyn Abramovitz

Israel's security barrier is justified. Over 95 percent of the barrier is a fence (I was recently there -- I saw it), and can be moved after any kind of a peace agreement determining the borders of a future two-state solution is reached. In the meantime, suicide bombers must be stopped. If the suicide bombers were not engaged in their terrorism, there would be no need for a security fence. Israel has tried for years to deal with the terrorism before constructing this barrier which appears to be working. Don't forget, that Israel was willing to end the "occupation" in 2000 under then (Israeli Premier Ehud) Barak and former (US President Bill) Clinton, but (Palestinian leader Yasser) Arafat walked out of the negotiations. -- Mayra Lichter

Israel's fence is necessary to protect its citizens from the bestial murderers of innocent children and adults. When Arafat and his thugs decide to join the human race there will be no reason for the security fence. -- Allen S. Kaplan, USA and Germany

Israel's fence is more than justified. It is obligatory. As long as a nation's first duty to its citizens is to protect their lives, no nation can stand idly by as men, women and children are murdered. The fence is not about land or boundaries. It is about murder, and the Palestinians are in it up to their collective necks. The refusal of the EU to accept this fact, and to deny to Israel the right of self-defense accorded every other nation clearly calls the EU's bona fides into severe doubt and strongly suggests an invidious motivation. -- Alan B. Katz

The Israeil barrier is more than justified, it is totally consistent with attempts to prevent ongoing murderous acts. It has proven its efficacy in greatly reducing instances of bombings in areas in which it is established and forcing the Moslem terrorists to move their activities to areas in which the barrier does not yet exist. Any "inconveniences" to nearby villages could have been eliminated by their inhabitants' refusal to participate in these acts. -- Bruce Sloan

Germany's interior minister is right. Only those who live under the gun can understand what homicide bombers are doing. Germany would have done the same. Terrorism is malignant and hurts Palestinians no less than they hurt Israel. You cannot get rid of them easily and they have the tendency to metastasize to places such as Madrid and even to my hometown Cologne. -- Isaac Barr

It is Israel that's occupying Palestinian land, bulldozing Palestinian homes and planting more Jewish settlements. The Palestinians resist any way they can. The (German interior) minister and other world leaders should be ashamed of themselves to allow Israel its occupation for 35 years in spite of a UN resolution to get out. Dear minister, do you realize that to stop "terrorist" attacks, all Israel has to do is to get Palestine? Then, there wouldn't be anymore "terrorists." By the way, minister, unlawful occupation is the ultimate terrorism, for which Israel should be sanctioned by the UN. -- M. Lakatos, Canada

The UN Court in the Hague clearly condemned the security wall in the West Bank and criticized the Sharon government for failing to comply with international laws. Otto Schily`s justification of this security wall/fence is not changing the clear wording of the international community. In fact, I think the views of Schily could only harm the interests of Germany in many Middle Eastern countries. -- Atilla A. Iftikhar

Israel's so-called security barrier is not justified at all, and is contrary to human rights.
It spoils the right of Palestinians and deprive them from their own lands and puts them in prison. Peace cannot be fully implemented in the region as long as colonization and settlements continues in Palestinian lands. -- Michel Derrouazi

It is justified for the reasons expressed eloquently by Interior Minister Schily. What is interesting about this (DW-WORLD) article is that the first photos shown in the article are of the very short portion of the barrier that is a wall that resembles the former Berlin Wall. The use of these photos creates a distorted view and makes the reader think that Minister Schily is an idiot, which is not the case. The truth is that only about 10 percent of the entire barrier is a wall. The remaining 90 percent is a combination of fences, barbed wire and even open spaces where the "barrier" consists of additional Israeli security forces to prevent unauthorized crossings. -- Ty Rogers

In theory it does seem justified. But what is the justification for it cutting into land the Palestinians want for a future state. In the past, after conflicts, the Israeli army cleared land belonging to Palestinians of its inhabitants, and then in time, the same land was occupied by settlers. By that logic, the fence cutting into Palestinian territory and separating Arabs from their fields and livelihood would only make said land uninhabitable. Thus the inhabitants would in all likelihood leave after a few years, should the wall remain as is. That would leave even more land for the settlers to confiscate, using the same excuse that no Palestinians were living there, when it was the Israeli state which made the land uninhabitable, to begin with. I think the fence is being used to enlarge Israel proper and reduce the Palestinians' chances for a viable state. -- Devon Croll

Arab countries who have traditionally opposed Israel's existence by conducting war with that country now seem to occupy a salient space in the background. The Palestinians, represented by Hamas and the Authority, pursue violence and destruction through terrorist bombings. While I feel much good will towards the Palestinians, I am also appalled and sickened by the effects of the bombs on both the Israelis and the Palestinians. Therefore, I am inclined to support the existence of the fence that separates the two peoples. Why? Because it simply works. Spin, propaganda, or misinformation cannot deny the effectiveness of a physical barrier. The situation is not as simple as stated, and yet it is. -- Clarence Meyer

Whilst a barrier is not the way to have two countries separated, should terror come from one side unabated by its police, a physical intervention may be necessary in the short term to protect threatened people. -- Steven Shochet, Australia

The fence or barrier that Israel has erected is not only justified. It is absolutely essential, both for the protection of Israeli citizens -- Jewish and Arab -- and for the ultimate establishment of peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors. It is obviously impossible to establish peace when suicide bombers who are determined to murder innocent civilians are able to pursue their goals effectively, spilling the blood of women and children virtually at will. The fence provides a respite from the constant threat, and the reality, of murderous attacks, and offers some hope of eventual peaceful reconciliation among the neighbors in that troubled part of the world. -- Burton M. Leiser

















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