I am finally reading the last chapter of The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan. An incredibly well researched and historically accurate account of the history of Arab-Israeli conflict.
This chapter is about the security wall constructed by Israel beginning in 2002. The wall is electrified in some places and covers over 400 miles, cutting off some parts of the West Bank from others. According to Tolan's research, Israel declared, '"The sole purpose of the fence is to provide security' in response to 'the horrific wave of terrorism emanating from the West Bank.'" Presidential candidate John Kerry called it, "a legitimate act of self defense." Palestinians call it apartheid. They accuse Israel of using the opportunity to get more land, since the wall does not follow the Green Line of 1967.
It think it's both. And I'll tell you why.
It is the best way Israel could think of to stop the horrendous acts of terrorism that were (and are) killing civilians on buses and planes, in shops, and walking the street. It was the most human and non-violent way to deal directly with the terrorism.
The reason the security fence will not work is that terrorism is not the problem but the symptom of the problem. Building the security fence is like giving aspirin to someone with a broken leg.
Terrorism is a symptom of prolonged and insoluble anguish. Of helplessness and anger. Just like early Jewish militias Irgun and The Stern Gang, Palestinian terrorists are responding to their belief that there is no other way to be listened to and respected. And Israel proves over and over that they are right.
Until Israel learns to deal with their neighbors with respect and compassion, terrorism will continue, no matter what walls they build.
In 2004, the UN's International Court of Justice declared the wall unlawful. Israel responded by saying, "If there were no terror, there would be no fence."
And as the chicken-or-egg question rages on, I must look outside the box and think, well they both exist now so what difference does it make who started it?