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August 03, 2007

More Crimes from the Century

James M. Wall’s antipathy toward Israel is a lodestar in the intellectual universe of mainline Protestantism. Hardly a month goes by when the Christian Century's resident expert on the Middle East doesn’t lambaste Israel for its efforts to protect its citizens and give some sort of boost to its adversaries. This month is no different.

In his most recent piece, Rev. Wall asserts that Israel's security barrier (which he calls a wall) "does not block a pathway a suicide bomber might take into Israel; it is a barrier that divides families and communities.” Wall's reasoning? Because according to an Israeli newspaper, it's not finished and won't be until 2010.

Rev. Wall, who writes that the barrier is "hardly a guarantee of protection" continues:

In other words, Israel's security wall is being constructed under false pretenses: it has little to do with security and everything to do with the expropriation of large tracts of land for Israel.

The Israelis are not looking for guarantees. They are looking for solutions. The question is not if the unfinished security barrier stops pathways suicide bombers might take to kill Israeli civilians, but whether the barrier as it currently exists, blocks pathways that suicide bombers have or will take to into Israel. And on this score, we have testimony from Palestinian terrorists. Their assessment? Yes, it works.

In November 2006, Ramadan Shalah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader stated that while his group had every intention of launching suicide attacks against Israel, actually carrying them out was difficult, because of a number of factors including … you guessed it ... the security barrier.

“For example,” he said, “there is the separation fence, which is an obstacle to the resistance, and if it were not there the situation would be entirely different.”

More recently, in June 2006, Moussa Abu Marzouq, Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau stated that carrying out suicide attacks is "made difficult by the security fence and the gates surrounding West Bank residents”.

Note that the The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reports that in the Arabic original Marzouq calls the barrier “the isolating fence” demonstrating that even Marzouq knows that for most of its length, the barrier is a fence and not a wall, as Rev. Wall writes. To be sure, the barrier does have tragic impacts on Palestinian families, but then again, suicide bombers have tragic impacts on Israeli families.

Readers will have to decide for themselves who has a better idea about the effectiveness and nature of Israel’s security barrier – James M. Wall, a man whose contempt for Israel grows with each passing issue of Christian Century, or the terrorists who contend with the security barrier.

Now, if Rev. Wall wants to contradict Marzouq’s assessment of the security barrier effectiveness, then he’ll have a a tough time explaining his praise for the Palestinian leader’s guest column in the July 10, 2007 issue of the Los Angeles Times. In the same piece in which he asserts the barrier is "no guarantee of protection," Wall lauds Marzouq’s “sound logic and erudition” as he

refutes the mainstream media's explanation of how and why Hamas rescued British BBC journalist Alan Johnston from a militant Gaza family. Marzook explains that Hamas did not rescue Johnston "as some obsequious boon to Western powers" (the conventional wisdom in the West), but took the action to rescue Johnston "as part of our effort to secure Gaza from the lawlessness of militias and violence, no matter what the source."

If Rev. Wall trusts Marzouq’s testimony about Johnston’s release, then how does he square that with Marzouq’s testimony about the security barrier, which contradicts Wall’s assertion that it has “little do with security?”

Posted by dvz at August 3, 2007 04:42 PM

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