Sunday, March 30, 2008

Would building a wall at the Mexican border be “apartheid”?

If we ever actually built a fence at our Mexican border The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Israeli version of the ACLU, might very well claim this was the "onset of legal apartheid"; that’s what the organization told the Israeli Supreme Court in a challenge to a security fence built by the government to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks.

The Mayor of a Palestinian village, Ali Abu Safia, says Israel took Palestinian land to build a fenced road within Israel; he says it’s not for security it’s for politics. Of course, he probably would not say that terrorist killing of Israeli civilians and lobbing of rockets and mortars into Israel was not for politics but Israeli attempts to defend its citizens from attacks are for politics and not for security. This is the logic that prevails among Palestinians and increasingly among western journalists and civil right organizations.

The Israeli Supreme Court apparently has the power to decide what steps the government may take to defend against terrorism in its efforts to minimize deaths of Israelis. This seems an outlandish notion to clear thinking people but it is the same thing in the United States. Our Supreme Court feels it is also entitled to determine what our government may or may not do and how we may or may not treat terrorists captured in battle against American military.

Previously the Israeli court ruled that the government could build a road on Palestinian land and in return could compensate the Palestinians for land used for road construction. This sounds very much like our right of eminent domain where private land may be taken for public purposes.

After the protected road was built other roads were authorized to be built for Palestinians who did not have reason to fear terrorist attacks and murder from their Palestinian brethren. However, the attorney representing the Palestinians who argued the case against protected roads for Israelis said a widespread policy of this nature will be "apartheid". Speaking for opponents; Dore Gold said "the protected road is not for ethnic separation [as in the case of apartheid] since both Palestinians and Israelis can use the road. It is to keep out of secure areas people living in chaotic areas. If the Palestinian authority … had fought terror, this wouldn’t have been necessary".

Before the road was protected in 2003 five Israelis were killed by gunfire on the road and since then a number of people have been injured by stone throwing.

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