Building The Security Wall (INN-ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) 07/24/03)
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As Prime Minister Sharon prepares to meet with U.S. President Bush in
Washington next week, interest begins to focus once again on the
partition wall Israel is building in an attempt to keep terrorists
out of some Jewish areas in Israel.
The U.S. is against the wall altogether, but is pressuring Israel to
at least build it to the west of the central-Shomron city Ariel.
Defense Minister Sha´ul Mofaz promised just this week, however, that
the wall would pass to the east of Ariel, thus joining the city with
other Israeli cities such as Tel Aviv and Petach Tikvah. Over 100
kilometers of the eight-meter-high wall is already completed.
Senior Cabinet Minister Ehud Olmert spoke to Arutz-7´s Haggai Segal
today about the partition wall: "The Israeli position regarding the
wall is that it should be built, and that it should be built
according to the security needs. In no case will it be built along or
close to the Green Line." He said that the government´s position on
this is clear, "and it´s not dependent on anyone else´s position." He
acknowledged that there is a disagreement on the route of the wall:
"The left-wing wants it to go along the Green Line, because they
think that in the end, we will turn it into a border, meaning that we
will annex whatever is to the west of the wall, and they can´t sleep
at night from worry about what will happen to the PA entity... Those
on the right also think the wall will be a permanent border, and so
they want more territory in Israel. I, and the Prime Minister, see
this wall as a security measure and nothing more, and therefore I do
not agree with either of those positions."
Asked if the wall will pass to the east of Ariel, thus keeping
Ariel "Israeli" according to the above positions, Olmert said, "I
A-7: "You only assume?"
Olmert: "No, I just don´t remember the exact route, but the general
inclination is yes..."
A-7: "So Sharon will simply say no to Bush next week if he pressures
him to build it west of Ariel..."
Olmert: "I don´t think he will pressure him so much. The way I know
these talks, they´re not built in such a way; rather Sharon will
present Israel´s position, and Bush - who is a good friend of ours -
even if he has a different approach... no real clash is expected on
A-7 (tongue-in-cheek): "Maybe with the hudna (temporary cessation of
terrorism), we don´t need the wall at all...?"
Olmert responded that he has his doubts about the hudna and that
Israel is not a party to this agreement between the PA and the
terrorists. He also explained that the PA had not even begun fighting
against the terrorists the way it promised:
"Let me make something very clear. There is a tremendous difference
between the present government and that which signed the Oslo
Agreements. The Oslo government tried to sell us a vision of a New
Middle East, that peace was on our doorstep and that everything would
be great. The present government, on the other hand, never promised
anything, and has not created any illusions. We are simply involved
in a very careful, thought-out experiment, with carefully calculated
and justified risks. The Americans, for instance, said straight out
that if the PA does not fulfill its obligations, they will not meet
Atty. Ilan Tzion, director of the Public Council for a Security Fence
for Israel, appeared next on Arutz-7´s news magazine today. "What
we´re concerned about," he said, "is that the Prime Minister, for
over a year, has simply been holding up construction of the wall, and
has not been making decisions on what route it should take."
Arutz-7´s Haggai Segal: "It would seem that the reason he´s delaying
is because he is simply not convinced of the importance of building
Tzion: "I agree that that´s true - but not because he doesn´t think
it is important from a security standpoint. Sharon´s official
position, and that of the government, is that the wall is important.
It´s just that he doesn´t want to build it for other reasons..."
Tzion said that he doesn´t care where the wall is built: "If Sharon
thinks that he can build the wall even though the U.S. objects, then
fine. But if he cannot do so, then let him build it according to a
route that the Americans will agree to - but the main thing is that
it should be built already!"
Atty. Tzion also said that the wall would pay for itself within a
short time: "A drop in terrorist attacks will bring back tourists and
Segal: "That´s only if it in fact leads to a drop in terrorism, which
no one can be sure of."
Tzion: "I am sure of it, but I can prove this only after it´s
completed - and I´m afraid that it won´t be..." (IsraelNationalNews ©
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