|RESPONSE to: “Israelis Have Every Right to Build Security Fence”, Congressman Scott Garrett’s Op-Ed
Congressman Scott Garrett could have easily stated his blind support for Israel by omitting his lengthy Op-ed piece and keeping the last paragraph in which he affirms Israel’s right to protect its citizens by building a “fence on its borders”.
No one argues that any country, including Israel, should remain silent in the face of outside attacks on its borders and citizens. Israel, of course is an occupying power and for the for the last 37 years has kept five million Palestinians under a brutal regime of military occupation. Moreover, the dichotomy in Congressman Garrett’s message is that Israel is NOT building the wall on its borders but rather deep inside Arab lands, separating and cutting off entire Palestinian communities form each other and from their farming lands
Imagine if the US would build a wall 10- 0 miles deep into Mexican territory to protect us from illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. Would that be acceptable to the Mexicans? Would such a wall be legal? Won’t the Mexicans oppose it? It would be bordering on moral bankruptcy if our esteemed Congressman would support such a “security fence”.
To give blanket support for Israel to continue its illegal occupation of Arab lands is unfathomable coming from respected members of Congress. By so doing, he is willing to let more Israelis and Palestinians die as the status quo continues: Israel’s occupation facing a people’s resistance.
The Apartheid wall is a land grab and a calculated attempt to preclude the establishment of a viable Palestinian State. The solution to the Palestinian Israeli conflict is not building walls but erasing all obstacles to a just settlement. And this will require Israel to end its occupation and to dismantle its settlements in the West Bank just as it has finally recognizing the futility and high cost of keeping them in the Gaza Strip.
Aref Assaf, President
February 24, 2004 – Outside the baroque Peace Palace at the Hague, Israelis bear photographs of relatives who died in recent suicide attacks, they circle the shell of a Jerusalem bus destroyed three weeks ago by a bomber who killed 11 people, and injured many others. These types of memorials occur daily in Israel, where innocent Israeli citizens, including, women, children and seniors have become terrorist targets, and where Israeli shops, streets and schools have become battlegrounds.
Since 1948, the state of Israel has constantly been under attack, from inside and outside her borders, from neighbors on all sides. There are always threats in the country, and always cause for alarm. Daily, Israelis fear for their lives. Today, the threat to Israel’s security has never been greater.
On the eve of the U.N.’s hearing on the West Bank barrier, a Palestinian suicide bomber blew apart a Jerusalem bus, killing himself and eight passengers. This strike, which injured 60 others, was in protest of the security barrier, constructed by Israel to foil such terrorist attacks like this.
This terrible and painful bombing in Jerusalem has brought new urgency to the claim of Israeli leaders that a security fence is desperately needed in order to prevent terrorists from entering from the West Bank and proves that Israel is under a new wave of violence, one that the Palestinian leadership is unable and unwilling to stop.
For this reason, I support Israel’s construction of a security fence and will support additional miles be built should Israel so decide to continue this defense option. The security fence is a proven way to impede terror, which in turn will help advance the peace process. It is situated to protect the lives of Israelis, and is built upon their own land. The separation barrier has thwarted more than 50% of the attempted terrorist attacks against Israel, and the fence around Gaza has prevented all Palestinian suicide bombers from entering the country.
Palestinians are working to disrupt this pursuit towards peace. Monday, Palestinians presented their case to the United Nation’s International Court of Justice (ICJ), standing against the Israeli separation barrier in the West Bank, while Israel appealed to world opinion, and moral common sense, to ignore the proceedings it called inherently unfair.
Israel only began the construction of this fence after a three year period of near daily terrorist attacks that killed 919 Israelis and left thousands maimed for life. More than 40 nations including the United States, the European Union and Australia have joined Israel in protesting the court’s consideration of this matter, because it falls far outside the court’s traditional mandate to serve as a mediator between willing states, and more importantly would undermine Israel’s – and any nation’s – right of self-defense as guaranteed by the U.N. Charter.
The Palestinians and their supporters have manipulated the U.N. General Assembly to request the ICJ to issue a legal advisory on the security fence. Though not legally binding – the advisory opinion could prompt anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. later this year and reinforce efforts to isolate Israel internationally. Manipulation of the ICJ is only the latest in the attempts of Israel’s detractors to use every arm of the U.N. to de-legitimize Israel.
The U.N. has been a source of anti-Israel activity, passing more resolutions against Israel than on any other subject matter – over 400 since 1964. In contrast, the body has never investigated the Palestinian terror campaign against Israel, nor has it investigated the abuse, torture, and other human rights violations by non-democratic states in the Arab world. The U.N. is the same body that voted against removing Saddam Hussein and ending his evil regime over the Iraqi people – and has for years shown a history of misplaced priorities.
The international community and Arab states in the region must come together to strongly discourage further Palestinian terrorism. Arab states should, in an effort to provide Palestinians a home, open their borders to Palestinians, instead of criticizing Israel for protecting the security and sanctity of their country.
Nations around the world must support Israel in their right to defend their land and their people. Israel has every right and must have every-ability to protect their people and their country. Those who say otherwise, that Israel’s self-defense is an impediment to progress, miss the point entirely. The destruction of Palestinian terrorism is not an impediment to progress – it is the definition of progress.
Where the violence stops, the peace process can move forward. Until it does, Israel’s efforts to build the security fence on their own border are necessary and justified responses to the perils that this nation faces.
As Israel is a free, democratic, peace-loving nation, and our only ally in a region filled with unrest and American hatred, our nation must do everything we can to support Israel and not stand in the way of Israeli leaders doing what they feel is necessary to protect their citizens and their homeland.
Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) represents portions of northern New Jersey including Bergen, Sussex, Warren and Passaic counties.