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.
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 tools.
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 peace process.
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.
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 replanted.
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.