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June 03, 2005

The Other Side of the Barrier

The June 13, 2005 edition of Fortune magazine highlights something about Israel's security barrier that is often overlooked by the media: It's effectiveness.

Economic growth couldn't have returned if the government hadn't found a way to block the suicide bombers who carried out dozens of attacks in 2002 and 2003. Thanks mostly to the controversial security barrier now snaking its way through the West Bank-a forbidding amalgam of concrete, barbed wire and deep ditches that has been condemned by the World Court and the European Union-deaths from bombings dropped from 54 last year to just 11 so far in 2005. "We are one of the few countries dealing successfully with the threat of suicide bombers," says Shlomo Maital, a Canadian-born economist and professor at Israel's Technion Institute of Management. The barrier has enraged Palestinians trapped on the other side, while reinforcing the Jewish state's pariah status in much of the world. But the sense of security ordinary Israelis now feel has enabled normal life to resume and made both tourists and foreign investors willing to come here again. "People feel better psychologically," says Gloger.

(Contrary to the above, though, it should be noted that the barrier does not so much "snake its way through the West Bank." Along much of its route, the barrier follows the green line, the cease-fire line marking the West Bank frontier.)

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Posted by GI at June 3, 2005 04:05 PM