Israel’s security fence:
Islamic Jihad leader admits it’s effective

Published: 4 December 2006
Briefing Number 187

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Israel 's rationale for building the security fence

In 2002, Israel was forced to begin building its security fence as a last-resort measure (see Beyond Images Briefing 5).

From the start, its declared purpose was to protect Israeli citizens against a sustained wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and other attacks originating from Palestinian groups operating in the West Bank .

In 2006, the fence is still not “complete”. But Israel maintains that it has contributed significantly to the reduction in the number of Palestinian attacks (see the Israeli Foreign Ministry website at )

A leading figure in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, based in the West Bank , has now admitted publicly that the fence has indeed been effective.

Islamic Jihad attacks against Israel

Islamic Jihad has been responsible for dozens of suicide bombing attacks since 1994 (see Briefing 78). They have also launched many attempts at mass killing which have been foiled (see Briefing 144). And they have claimed responsibility for some of the most notorious murders of Israeli civilians in the last six years (see eg Briefing 91 – the murder of Tali Hatuel and her daughters).

Islamic Jihad have never agreed, even in a token way, to a ‘ceasefire' in their attacks on Israel . To the contrary, they repeatedly attempt further attacks.

“The fence is an obstacle to the resistance…..”

On 11 November 2006 , the leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank , Ramadan Shalah, gave a long interview with the Lebanese TV station Al-Manar, in which he said that Islamic Jihad had every intention of continuing its suicide bombing campaign. He added that their timing and the possibility of carrying them out from the West Bank depended on other factors. Then he said:-

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

(“Resistance” is a euphemism for terrorist attacks). The interview was reported by Israel 's Centre for Special Studies (see ) on 15 November 2006 . This is a clear admission that the situation without the fence would be “entirely different”.

Beyond Images comments

The security fence saves Israeli lives, and helps to foil the plans of Palestinian groups.

Many critics of the security fence either ignore these claims altogether, or allege that they are Israeli propaganda.

But the leader of one of the most determined and dangerous Palestinian groups has now admitted that they are true.

Related Beyond Images resources

Briefing 160 – Palestinan attacks on Jerusalem : the context for the security fence around the city

Briefing 73 – The case for Israel 's security fence

And see Beyond Images Israel Accused: Concise Responses 17 and 49.