“This has no political significance,” the wolf told Little Red Hiding Hood, “it’s just a security fence, a barrier on the seamline to stop terrorists, just like the one in the Gaza Strip.” Nonsense.
If this were a security fence, they would have put it somewhere else entirely, 15 kilometers more to the east.
The fence, whose construction began this week, more or less follows the Green Line, it is a political, and not a security fence. From a security aspect, it will be more of a burden than an asset. The fence will shrink to zero the warning expanse for Kfar Saba and Petah Tikva, Rosh Haayin and Modiin, Bat Hefer and Kochav Yair. All the forces that today safeguard Kfar Saba from deep inside, will be stuck maintaining the fence, and they will be alerted only after a terrorist already crosses it and the electronic warnings go off. But from the time the fence is crossed until a terror attack is committed in the middle of a neighborhood or a mall, there is no expanse in which to catch the terrorist.
And that is the main bluff, but not the only one, when comparing the Sharon fence to the Gaza fence. While it is true that almost all the suicide bombers have come from Samaria and not from Gaza, it is not true that terrorists do not cross the fence around the Gaza Strip. There is no problem in crossing it, and it has been crossed hundreds of times. In some cases, terror attacks were also perpetrated, such as when the soldiers in the outpost near Kerem Shalom were killed, or when terrorists infiltrated Nahal Oz or when they placed bombs in the fields of Alumim.
In most of the cases, the terrorists were caught before managing to carry out their mission. Explosives belt to be used for an attack were found near Moshav Birchiya in a hiding place. Because the fence is not a barrier, but a system of alert. There is no fence too difficult to cross. Every fence can easily be cut or climbed over, or dug under, and if it is electric, it can easily be de-electrified. Getting across is very easy. What is hard is to get across without discovery, and that is what makes the Gaza fence effective.
A terrorist who (easily) crosses the fence knows that in an hour or two it will be discovered that he crossed and that the pursuit for him will begin. To commit a terror attack, he has this amount of time to act. He has to find a target of less than an hour’s walking distance from the place he crossed the fence. And around Gaza, there are no such targets.
This is not the situation on the seamline. There, there are targets in abundance, there one can cross and disappear immediately. There, with relative ease, even if you look Arab, you can get on a bus or hail a taxi.
And this is the second bluff. The real reason for the fact that almost all the suicide bombers come from Samaria and not from Gaza is not the fence that does exist in the Sharon and does exist in Gaza, but because of something that there is in the Sharon and isn’t in Gaza: somebody waiting on the other side. In Gaza, the fence separates between an area that is entirely Arab and an area that is entirely Jewish, and a terror cell walking around there stands out like a Maccabi fan in a Beitar bleacher, while on the seamline, this is a fence that has an Arab population on both sides of it.
Most of the suicide bombers crossed the Green Line on foot, because even today, when there is no fence, there are barriers and there are patrols and there are lookouts from planes, and it is very hard to cross by car. But when a terrorist reaches our side by foot, there is usually somebody waiting for him here who has arranged transport for him. From this aspect, there are a few places on the seamline where a fence will be more like the fence that goes through Rafah. The one that weapons and drugs and people continually cross over and under between Egypt and back, and no one can stop it.
If somebody wants to put up an effective fence that will protect Kfar Saba and Hadera, they must put it up far to the east of the Green Line and keep all the barriers and roadblocks that exist there today between this fence and Kfar Saba. Those who recommended and those who decided to put up the fence on the Green Line know this. They know that their fence will not promote security, but just the reverse. But they want the fence for its political significance. The fence is a fact on the ground. Like a settlement. Only in the other direction. The fence says, by means of the fact on the ground: up to here is ours, from here on it isn’t ours. The settlers frequently use the term “driving stakes in the ground.” In this case this is no image, stakes are being driven, and stakes in the ground are what will determine the future.
The builders of the fence know this. They are trying to dupe us that it has no political significance, because they want to harness the fear of the residents of the Sharon, Hadera and Afula to their wagon. But the only thing it does have is political significance. To create facts on the ground, to mark the future border of the country and to even determine the boundaries of society, who is in and who is beyond the fence.
And where are the demonstrations, where is the NRP, why do we hear nothing from the Likud? And our prime minister, Ariel Sharon, a man who understands a thing or two about creating facts and the meaning of driving stakes, where is he in this matter, among the dupers or the duped? Is he a partner to the plot, or has he fallen asleep on watch.
This piece ran in Yediot Aharonot on June 14, 2002