with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Blaming the Security Fence

The media is amazing. I am constantly surprised at their determination to tie two or more completely unrelated things together in order to sensationalize. It isn’t the tabloid news I’m talking about. I’m also talking about major media networks and associations, ones we trust to bring us uncensored and quality news stories…ha! Bull poop!

The latest in my never-ending source of media amusement is the suicide bombing of a bus in Jerusalem this morning. Currently the number of dead is seven, but at least ten more are in critical condition with little hope of survival. More than 60 others were wounded. Arafat’s Fatah (Al Aksa Brigade) has proudly claimed responsibilty.

The suicide bombing happened on a bus leaving a fairly rich neighborhood in Jerusalem and happened very near the conference hotel and center where a bunch of Jewish Americans are meeting, and near the Prime Minister and President’s official residences, though they often spend little time actually living there any more.

We’ve all been expecting this. Israel has resumed it’s targeted assassinations against extremists and terrorists and have been moderately successful. This was in response to more suicide bombings, attempted and successful. Actually, more in response to the successful ones. Two weeks ago, another suicide bomber blew up a bus in Jerusalem killing 12 and wounding dozens. As Israel moved back into the territories to spoil the terrorist fun, the troupes were attacked and fought back in two different situations, and some of the attackers were killed.

Combined with the recent pressure on Arafat to dig into his finances and the decision to stop all cash payments to the Palestinian Authority by most of the European Union in exchange for automatic bank deposits instead, and the United States stopping their funding of the Palestinian Authority after three US citizens and humanitarian aid workers were murdered by terrorists in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority has refused to track down the killers (though they did put on a show trial against some men who had nothing to do with it and the US was not fooled), Arafat has been in a rage. On February 11, he is reported to have ordered Hamas, Fatah and Arafat’s other terrorist groups to begin an all-out assault on Israel. We’ve all been waiting. Israel has caught many of those attempting, but one got through and more Israelis have died and more Palestinians will die in return.

The media twist? They are blaming the suicide bombing on the security fence. What? That’s right. In the same sentence as they report the suicide bombing of the bus they mention the fence. Why?

Well, first of all, the security fence will be in the news a lot soon because a hearing over the fence is about to play out in the Hague beginning tomorrow. Many Arab countries have been given permission to testify about the security fence in the court while most of Israel’s views, wishes, and legal rights have been completely stifled. Israel has been so frustrated fighting this, it announced that it won’t even appear or participate, though they probably will as time goes on.

It’s all such a joke.

Bush, in his infinite lack of wisdom and foresight about anything foreign, has whined about stopping the security fence. The EU has complained about the fence. Sharon has made his point very clear. No terrorism, no fence. Terrorism=fence. It think that’s pretty clear. Israel is spending massive amounts of money to provide security check points all along the border areas, outside of every town and village within the Palestinain Territories. What harm will a fence do? It will cut down on the manpower needed to patrol these areas, and stop the easy access terrorists have. Sure, it will divide up property, but the Palestinians want their own land, and this is a way of getting a border put in. Land is lost to both sides, especially since the land Israel is giving up belongs to them anyway. Before that it belonged to Jordan. Before that, the English controlled it. Before that, the Turks controlled it. Want me to keep going? Everyone has owned a piece of this place at one time or another.

The whole media seems to be changing their tune from the security fence being a bad idea to the security fence is the reason behind the Intifada. Wait, wasn’t the reason behind the almost four year old Intifada Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount or Al Aksa Mosque in the fall of 2000? Or could it really have been the fact that Arafat had been planning this Intifada since he failed to win support at the Camp David talks earlier in 2000? Oh, no, says the media. It’s because of the fence.

Right. Saudi Arabia is now building a huge security barrier along its border with Yemen to keep out the terrorists flowing back and forth there. The UN is supposed to (and doesn’t do a good job) patrol and protect the security barrier between Israel and Lebanon and no one is whining about that. What about the great barrier between the US and Mexico? The US authorities patrol that heavily, collecting up what illegal immigrants they can and returning them to Mexico on a daily basis, while Mexico officials merely watch. While the border between the US and Canada is fairly open, and in fact unseen in many parts of the border, at key places there are security fences and a “no man’s land” between the two sides. Growing up in Seattle, I crossed that no man’s land many times heading up to visit Vancouver and other great areas up north. No one is complaining about that!

Borders keep the unwanted out and they keep the wanted in. During the Vietnam war, the US patrols watched the borders to keep US citizens inside the country and not avoiding the war draft. Borders in Europe have been known to keep their citizens from fleeing when their government wanted to control them, too. It works both ways.

Countries build borders. That is what they do. If they didn’t, it would be really hard to tell where one starts and the other finishes. So why would the Palestinians be so against the security fence. After all, they actually have no right to the land they are on, and if they want to go back to the “green line” of 1967, they would be Jordan and not whatever they are now. But Jordan refused to take back the land, which left Israel stuck with it.

In an attempt to make peace, they offered the land through a series of agreements called the Olso Peace Accords. If Arafat and his minions had concentrated on turning their area into a country, giving their citizens the right of citizens, instead of constantly turning to violence as an answer to something that doesn’t seem to have a question, Israel would be a very different place. But it isn’t. And since Arafat and the Palestinian terrorist groups don’t want to play nice, Israel is saying that if you want it so bad, we’re going to build a border around you and then you can play in your own sand box. Stay out of ours.

Over and over I keep returning to the sand box theory. When children are playing, and the sand box was a great playing area when I was growing up, only the kids who played well together could play in the sand box. Those who didn’t play nice had to leave the box. Either the other children would push him out or the teachers or parents would move in and order the transgressor to sit and watch, from outside the box. You don’t play nice, get out of the box. Hey, Bush told Saddam he had to get out of the sand box and when he didn’t, Bush pushed him out. There is a lot of pushing people into or out of sand boxes in the world. Israel isn’t alone.

For several years before our arrival here, and for our first year here, in general, everyone played nice. Since the Palestinians couldn’t seem to get a lot of business going in their areas, over 80% of working age Palestinians had jobs inside of the Israel border. They took Israeli money back home to buy their washing machines, televisions, computers, and toys for their children. While a good majority of the workers were admittedly working on construction and agriculture, a lot of them had nice jobs in tourism and shops, and many kinds of businesses. In fact, if I remember my facts right, about 90% of the tourism industry jobs were held by Palestinians. Tourism took a blow not just because of the lack of tourists, but also because of the lack of employees to keep it going. It was a double blow. When the television shows the suffering of Palestinians, they are showing the fact that these people helped to create and support a situation that makes it impossible for them to work, so of course they have no money. Did any of these workers flood the streets complaining to Arafat that his continued support and encouragement of terrorism was hurting their employment record and income? Not a chance. Arafat and his minions make sure to keep quiet anyone who goes against him and his agenda.

So after several years of massive terrorism, Israel is building a fence. It’s about time. So what has the fence got to do with the terrorism? Not a thing. No terrorism, no fence.
So they want to blame Israel for where they are putting the fence. Hey, when you put up walls, everyone is hurt and everyone is protected one way or another. One of Brent’s co-workers, Danny, is struggling with the issue of having a home on the “wrong” side of the soon arriving fence. Coping with the high cost of living in Israel, his family took advantage, as did many, of the good tax breaks and low prices of land near the green line. Now his family home will be inside the wall, separated from Israel. They are trying to sell it, but the price of the house is not even close to the remaining value they owe on the mortgage. What is it like to sell a house that is worth even less than what you paid for it 15 years ago? The government isn’t helping and they encouraged them to move there in the first place. So they are selling at a loss they cannot afford, left with a huge mortgage and the rent or mortgage on the house they will buy to replace it. And they can’t sell their house because no one wants it. They might just have to abandon it when the fence is finished, losing this major family asset. Sure, the same thing is played out on the other side with Palestinian families caught on the Israeli side of the wall. This is what happens when borders are made.

Israel began this morning to dismantle an 8 km part of the wall they put up east of West Bank village of Baqa al Sharkiya Sunday and rebuild it along Green Line outside Israeli village of Baka al Gharbiyeh. This is seen by Israelis that the border is flexible. If you bring enough pressure and facts to bear, it can be changed. The workers beginning the dismantling were greeted at nine this morning with the news of another suicide bombing in Jerusalem…I’m sure they weren’t too happy about taking down the fence.

But the point of my whining blog is not to spout on about who is right or who is wrong, it is to figure out what is wrong with the media that they can’t leave the horror of another terrorism attack against civilians alone. Isn’t that bad enough? They have to bring in an immaterial subject like the security fence as if to justify the terrorist behavior. That is no different than finding it acceptable that the terrorists who attacked the Trade Center watched too much violence on television as children.

What?

Millions upon millions of people grow up watching too much violence on television, and they don’t fly planes into buildings. There is no connection and the fence has nothing to do with the terrorism. There were terrorist attacks in Israel before the fence, during the fence, and there will be terrorism after the fence until those who support and encourage the terrorism are taught that there is nothing to be gained by using violence.

That is the real key to all of this. We keep rewarding the terrorist though agreements, money, peace accords, land, rights, and publicity, which teaches them that violence wins. What is the world doing to stop that lesson?

Tel Aviv, Israel

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