Saving Lives: Israel's Security Fence
November 2003 Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
For illustrations www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0o170
The security fence would not have been needed had there been no terrorism
against innocent Israelis.
The fence is not a border. The border will be determined by negotiations.
The Palestinians will not be cut off from their fields, places of commerce
and urban centers.
The terrorists target their victims for death. Death is irreversible.
Inconveniences caused by the fence are reversible.
The right to live free from terrorism must take precedence.
A legitimate temporary security measure, the fence will help to end terror
and restore calm - steps that are necessary for renewing the peace process.
More than 900 people were murdered in attacks carried out by Palestinian
terrorists since late September 2000.
Thousands of Israelis have been injured, many of the victims maimed for
life. The terrorists infiltrated Israeli cities and towns and carried out
attacks - including suicide bombings - on buses, in restaurants, shopping
malls, and even private homes.
No other nation in the world has before this time faced such an intense wave
of terror, especially in the form of suicide bombings.
In almost all of the cases, the terrorists infiltrated from Palestinian
areas in the West Bank. The Palestinian leadership has done nothing to stop
them and has even encouraged them.
The security fence - a temporary defensive measure, not a border
A fence, not a "wall"
As a result of the unceasing terror, Israel decided to erect a physical
barrier. The absence of such a barrier makes infiltration into Israeli
communities a relatively easy task for terrorists. No terrorists have
infiltrated from the Gaza Strip into Israel in recent years, because an
electronic security fence already exists there.
The Government of Israel has an obligation to defend its citizens against
terrorism. This right of self-defense is anchored in international law.
The security fence will not annex Palestinian lands, change the legal status
of the Palestinians, nor prevent the Palestinians from going about their
daily lives. It will not establish a border, which is to be determined by
direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Despite the many pictures being shown in the international media of a tall
concrete wall, more than 97% of the planned 720 km. (480 mile) security
fence will consist of a chain-link fence system. Less than 3% of the fence
will be constructed of concrete. The short concrete sections are intended
not only to stop terrorists from infiltrating, but also to block them from
shooting at Israeli vehicles traveling on main highways alongside the
pre-June 1967 line.
The security fence forms a strip approximately the width of a four-lane
highway. At its center is the chain-link fence that supports an intrusion
detection system. This technologically advanced system is designed to warn
against infiltrations, as is the dirt "tracking" path and other observation
The decision to build the security fence was taken only after other options
were tried, but failed to stop the deadly terrorist attacks.
Despite its numerous commitments, the Palestinian Authority has failed to
fight terrorism. The obligations that were violated by the Palestinian
Authority were contained in the Oslo Accords and subsequent agreements, as
well as in the Roadmap that was presented to the sides in May 2003.
Had there been no terrorism, Israel would not have been compelled to build a
fence to protect its citizens.
The Palestinians must dismantle the terrorist organizations, confiscate
weapons, arrest the planners and perpetrators of terrorist acts, stop
incitement and resume security cooperation with Israel; all these steps are
required by the Roadmap. These measures are imperative for renewing the
The route of the fence has been determined solely on the basis of security
needs and topographical considerations.
The fence is being built in such a way that, if necessary, the relevant
parts can be moved to different locations. In this context, it will be
remembered that when Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon, in fulfillment
of UN Security Council Resolution 425, the UN delineated the border between
Israel and Lebanon. Israel moved its security fence, sometimes only a few
meters, to comply with the new border.
Israel has made the use of public lands a priority in building the security
fence, in order to avoid, as much as possible, the use of private lands. If
this is not possible, then private land is requisitioned, not confiscated,
and it remains the property of the owner. Legal procedures allow every owner
to file an objection to the use of their land. When private lands are used,
owners are offered full compensation, in accordance with the law; this
compensation is offered both as a lump sum and also on a monthly basis.
Taking into consideration Palestinian humanitarian needs
In addition to its efforts to ensure the security of its citizens, Israel
attaches considerable importance to the interests of the local Palestinian
residents. Israel recognizes the necessity of finding an appropriate balance
between the imperative need to prevent terrorism and defend its citizens,
and the humanitarian needs of the Palestinians.
Most Palestinians will be on the eastern side of the fence. They will not be
cut off from their commercial and urban centers.
No Palestinians will have to relocate. Israel will make every effort to
avoid causing hardship and interference with their daily lives.
Dozens of crossing points have been set up to enable the movement of people
and goods. The security fence was located, to the greatest possible degree,
on unused land to avoid harming agriculture. Palestinian farmers will have
access to their fields and will reach them through special gates that are
being built into the fence. Trees affected by the construction will be
Saving lives must always come first!
The security fence has only one purpose: to keep the terrorists out and
thereby save the lives of Israel's citizens, Jews and Arabs alike.
The security fence is not an obstacle to peace, as the Palestinians are
trying to portray it. In fact, by providing a barrier to terrorism, it will
help restore quiet to the region and thereby increase the chances of
achieving peace. It will not create permanent facts on the ground that will
affect the outcome of negotiations.
The Palestinians seek to blame Israel, the victim of terrorism that is
taking a purely defensive measure. Moreover, they ignore the hundreds of
innocent victims murdered by Palestinian terrorism emanating from the West
Bank. There would have been no need for a security fence had there not been
an orchestrated campaign of terrorism that targets Israeli men, women and
children for death. Death is permanent. It is irreversible. The
inconvenience caused to Palestinians by the security fence is temporary and
reversible, once terrorism stops and peace is achieved.