Fence Not Major Factor In Preventing Terrorism

Haaretz reports:

The Shin Bet’s statistics on terror attacks confirm the public perception that terrorist activity in 2005 dropped considerably compared to the previous four and a half years. The main reason for the sharp decline is the truce in the territories, the security service said Sunday.
[…] The Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces attribute the reduction mainly to the improvement in their joint capability to foil terrorist attacks and to act against terrorist organizations.
The security fence is no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it. The fence does make it harder for them, but the flawed inspection procedures at its checkpoints, the gaps and uncompleted sections enable suicide bombers to enter Israel.

I’m confused: Was the main reason for the decline in terrorist attacks the truce or more effective foiling of terrorist attacks?
The article also implies that the misery and suffering brought upon the Palestinian people by the “security fence” did not help stop terrorism. Yes, it can be argued that the fence was ineffective because it was incomplete, but the article also clearly states that terrorists were able to bypass the already existing parts of the fence, either due to flawed insepctions or by other creative means not mentioned and that this is the main reason for the fence’s ineffectivity.

10 thoughts on “Fence Not Major Factor In Preventing Terrorism

  1. you said it right there:
    “Yes, it can be argued that the fence was ineffective because it was incomplete”
    I think its hard to make any assertion about the effectiveness of the wall/fence without it actually serving as a contiguos, complete barrier. I think its fair to criticize its route, but not its effectiveness in preventing terrorist infiltration.

  2. the route is indeed the major problem i have with the fence why isnt going on the green line, and acting as a true separation fence? the answer is clear – the settlements. thats why qalquilia has a cement ring around it – because of alfei menshe. and so on and so forth.

  3. Analysis is all very well and good, and certainly something that the Shin Bet is paid to do. But it seems to be for nought presently, given that the ‘truce’ has been called off as of yesterday.
    ‘Palestinian armed groups ended a year-long truce with Israel yesterday in a move which could lead to new violence and derail elections in the West Bank and Gaza already threatened by lawlessness and political infighting.’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new
    Good fences make good neighbours, in my estimation. Further, all of you folks who wish to support the Palestinian cause by referring to the Territories as ‘Palestine’ prior to the establishment of a Palestinian state would do well to lobby the PA to declare a state so that a final border can be negotiated. My problem with any argument regarding the Green Line and the fence is that it seems an empty argument without a Palestinian declared border. Would that the arguments within the PA towards peace be as vociferous as the arguments within the Jewish community regarding efforts to protect oursleves, perhaps we could move the process along swiftly.

  4. Asaf
    you’re assuming the effects of the truce and the barrier started at about the same time. In point of fact, reduction in terrorism due to the barrier started in mid 2004. So in the beginning of 2005, you have terror reduction due to the barrier, and that’s the baseline from which you measure further reduction due to the truce.
    Otherwise, how do you explain the sharp drop in terrorism starting mid-2004?

  5. Of course an incomplete fence can’t stop people from getting around. It just makes it more difficult. If and when it’s finished, we’ll see.
    However, if your concern is about the 7% of the West Bank upon which the fence encroaches, don’t forget that at this point it is nobody’s land – not the Israelis’ nor the Palestinians’. If you are concerned that it will become a de facto border, then blame the Palestinians for their refusal in 2000 to make peace and then for launching the war. If they had accepted the peace, only about 2.5% of the West Bank would have ended up in Israeli hands and they would have been compensated for the rest. If the war hadn’t been as brutal as it became (450 murdered Israelis in 2002, most killed before Israel re-entered Areas A), then Sharon would never have agreed to create the fence – to him it was always anathema since everybody knows it demarcates the future border.

  6. asaf, i’m no fan of the wall at and am doubtful of its effecicacy whether complete or incomplete; but i think it would serve us all well to get past the idea of returning to the ’67 borders. gilo, talpiyot, the old city, geulah — these are not going to be handed back any time soon. nor are maale adumim, ariel or gush etziyon. rather, israel should compensate for the land its taken with unsettled land as is one of the stipulated agreements in the geneva accords.

  7. mobius, what about Alfei Mensahe? this is not an extreme right wing settlement. people went there for subsidized housing. I know them from high school and went there for weekend parties. I suggest you drive by Kochav-Yair/tzur igal area and look at the cement ring around qalqilia. Qalqilia is directly to the west of alfei menashe, so the wall had to wrap around it from the east and from the west as well (one side separating it from tzur igal, and on the other side from alfei menashe). google both these towns and check out the population difference (im too lazy). What do we do then?
    some of the settlements have made separation impossible. The route of the separation fence demonstrates this fact. It is true that some land exchange can be made in certain cases, but not in all.
    I still think tony judt’s analysis is pretty accurate – a two state solution is getting harder and harder to implement as time goes by.
    So,should alfei menashe stay or should it go?

  8. one more thing – alfei menashe is much more to the west than maale adumim or ariel. i’d like to see how a map of the palestinian state would look like after these towns are annexed to israel.

  9. alfe menashe sits on an aquifir; part of the reason why it was built there. alfe menashe was originally not planned to be inside the wall, but on a visit to the area, sharon was convinced by alfe menashe’s mayor to include it.
    As for what else accounts for the drop in terror, the wall has made it harder, even zakaria zubedei of the jenin al-aksa brigades has complained about that, but it’s only one factor. Effective counter-terror and intelligence, including a massive network of collaborators, I’d say has been the more important factor; that, and the exhausting of the Palestinian population, decline in support for suicide bombings, which explains Hamas’ truce; they are sensitive to palestinian public opinion, especially now as they enter the political arena. as for the effectiveness of the wall itself, i don’t think it’s the gaps that are the main problem. in 2005 attacks happened in places where the wall is completed, hadera, netanya, and tel aviv . someone from the west bank told me recently everyone knows it’s easy to get into israel. you just get in a cab with yellow plates, and if you don’t have a permit, you pay an extra 50 shekels to the driver to take the risk. the vast majority of palestinians doing this are seeking illegal work in Israel. with thousands of cars going in and out all the time, it’s very hard to check them carefully. Also, because of pressure from the settlers, who dont like putting up with security checks, the government has not made it difficult to get through. Google ex-shin bet head Avraham bendor’s “the bad fence” on why it won’t be very effective. the main reason, of course, is that it creates further enmity since its current route steals additional land and resources.
    including the fence around ariel and maale adumim will effectively cut the west bank into three cantons. leaving the fence in its current route will annex the palestinians’ best farmland and 51 of its wells to Israel. it’s hard to see how a viable Palestinian state can emerge from that.
    Barrier under fire for security failings

  10. Oh, it might not be a viable state, but that has nothing to do with Israel. What’s happening in Gaza now is not happening because of Israel. Viable states come out of viable politics.
    The canton argument is a joke. That was the argument falsely used by Arafat defenders who were trying to justify why he refused a state in 2000 and launched a war. So if someone is building a line that doesn’t cut across any part of the West Bank, as these defenders claimed Israel did in 2000 when they screamed about cantons because one of the passages ran close to Jericho, how is that going to be like cantons again when there is no such passage now?
    Too bad they didn’t go for any of the deals on the table in 2000. They could have kept most of that land. They could have a state already. How many times do we have to keep hearing the mantra about a state not being viable when all people really mean to say is that they don’t want to see a Jewish state there. The Palestinians could have a state already. Instead they launched a war that proved the necessity of a barrier.

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