If President Bush is serious about fighting terrorism, he will say to the Israeli prime minister: “Mr. Sharon, do not tear down that wall!”
Times have changed since Ronald Reagan told Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to level the wall in Berlin more than decade ago. Reagan’s statement reverberated in the following years that saw Soviet-style communism crumble.
Now, Israel has its own wall-a security fence that its builders hope will extend the length of Israel’s border with the Palestinian-controlled West Bank. The goal is to keep out the suicide bombers that have extracted a catastrophic death toll in an excruciatingly slow manner-a bus full of children here, an unsuspecting restaurant or hotel there.
However, an international court in The Hague, Netherlands, is deciding the legality of such a fence, which includes Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Sharon now has agreed to cut off those loops and stick to the 1967 boundaries decided after the Six-Day War.
Bush withheld support for the fence because of its planned intrusion into Palestinian territory, a U.S. embassy spokesman has said. Israel needs America’s veto power because the United Nations Security Council-that bastion of petulance-likely will vote on a resolution demanding the fence’s removal if the court by some stretch of justice declares it illegal.
With Sharon deciding to keep to agreed borders, Bush should support Israel’s right to defend itself from terrorism, much as he expects the world to support his own efforts to keep America safe.
A nation needs to defend itself how it sees fit, and Sharon’s fence-if built on Israeli territory-harms no one but the terrorists who hate the Jews more than they love their families.