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   Responses to Common Inaccuracies About Israel
Israeli Responses to Palestinian Violence   

Israel is building a “wall” on the West Bank in order to encircle the Palestinian population and to seize more land for Israeli control.

The Israeli army uses excessive force against unarmed Palestinians.

The purpose of Israel’s policy of “closure” and its system of checkpoints is designed to collectively punish the entire Palestinian population for the acts of certain individuals and to deliberately cause economic hardship to the Palestinians.

Israel’s security barrier is a defensive measure undertaken by Israel to prevent Palestinian terrorists from reaching their civilian targets inside Israel.

The decision to build the barrier was made by the Government of Israel in 2002 following two years of unabated terrorism by Palestinians suicide bombers, who targeted Israeli buses, cafes, shopping centers and other gathering points for Israeli civilians. Over 1,000 Israelis were killed, and thousands severely injured in these attacks. Throughout this period, the Palestinian Authority did little-to-nothing to prevent these attacks or to abolish the terrorist infrastructure despite its commitment to do so in agreements with Israel. Israel had no choice but to take strong action to stop these terrorists from entering Israel from their operation centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Government of Israel has stated that the security fence is a temporary and reversible measure that was created in reaction to the reality of ongoing Palestinian terrorism. Israeli leaders have said that should Palestinian terrorism end, there will be no need for this protective barrier and it can be dismantled.

Moreover, this barrier is not a “wall.” The 480-mile security barrier, being constructed in phases, is comprised 94 percent of chain-link fence and 6 percent of a concrete barrier. The entire barrier is a multi-fence system which incorporates ditches, barbed wire, patrol roads and observation systems. Contrary to anti-Israel propaganda, only a very small section of the barrier is concrete, or can be described as “a wall.” The concrete sections are primarily in the area of the Palestinian cities of Qualqilya and Tulkarim, the locus of many terrorist operations, where snipers often shoot at Israeli civilians, and in the outskirts of municipal Jerusalem.

Most importantly, the security fence is helping to prevent terrorist bombings. Israeli security officials say that scores of attacks have been thwarted since 2003 as terrorists have been unable to reach Israeli cities, or have been forced to take more circuitous routes, leading to their capture.

The fence has caused hardship for the small number of Palestinians located on or near its route. This is primarily due to the population density and demographic complications that define the area. The Israeli Supreme Court has issued a number of rulings on the barrier’s route, ordering it changed in areas where it would lead to undue hardship for Palestinians. It is anticipated that further modifications to the route will continue to be made.

Israel has shown the greatest possible restraint and makes a determined effort to limit Palestinian casualties. Whenever possible, the Israel Defense Forces respond to Palestinian violence in a very directed manner, at carefully specified targets.

These operations to root out terrorists and their infrastructure are consistent with the Israeli Government’s right and responsibility to defend Israel and its population from attack. The Israeli military seeks to prevent civilian casualties, in stark contrast to the Palestinian terrorist organizations’ goal of killing as many civilians as possible.

Israel has had no option but to go into Palestinian centers, since Hamas and other groups deliberately position themselves in densely populated areas. Hamas sets up its operation and training centers in the middle of heavily populated centers, inside hospitals, residential buildings and mosques and near schools. Snipers shoot guns or launch mortar shells and rockets at Israeli targets from residential areas. Tunnels smuggling weapons from Egypt are deliberately situated in private homes in Gaza.

Most Palestinian casualties are individuals who are directly engaged in anti-Israel violence and terrorism and who aim to kill and maim as many civilians as possible in their attacks. Tragically, innocent Palestinians have been caught in the crossfire. This is in contrast to Palestinian terrorist operations, which deliberately aim to kill as many civilians as possible. In many cases of Palestinian casualties, the Israeli military conducts internal investigations to determine whether errors where made by its soldiers.

The closures and checkpoints are instituted by the Israeli government to protect its citizens. Border closures and checkpoints have been among the only mechanisms at Israel’s disposal to prevent would-be suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities. Indeed, checkpoints have allowed Israel to thwart numerous terrorists attempting to enter Israeli population centers in this manner. Israel understands the economic hardship the closures impose upon Palestinian civilians who cannot go to their jobs in Israel or receive and send shipments. Israel eases the closures and passage through checkpoints when the threat of terrorism is reduced. However, the checkpoints themselves have been terrorist targets. For example, in January 2004, a 22-year-old mother of two detonated a bomb strapped to her body at the Erez checkpoint in Gaza, killing four soldiers.

Because of the checkpoint system, would-be terrorists have attempted to enter Israel through uninhabited and unmanned areas. The building of Israel’s security fence also aims to prevent such infiltrations.

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