Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Olmert speeds building of the fence

Good and bad news out of Jerusalem today. Ehud Olmert is trying to hurry completion of the separation fence between Palestine and Israel, enabling the pullout of Israeli troops from the West Bank.

On one hand, I’m happy to see that Olmert has seen it fit to re-route the fence to include the city of Beit Ichsa and the area outside Ariel in the Palestinian side of the fence. Beit Ichsa is a largely Palestinian area just North of Jerusalem, and the proximity to the city had caused Sharon to claim that land as Israeli. This was a major area in the Palestinian claim that the fence is a land grab.

Ariel is a decent sized Jewish town surrounded by a number of little Palestinian villages. The fence had originally given fairly wide berth to Ariel, protecting it while claiming large portions of territory for Israel. The new fence route will give the land to Palestine that surrounds Ariel, while leaving the town on the Israeli side of the fence, though somewhat vulnerable to neighboring villages.

I can’t help but smile at Olmert’s proactive approach to providing a fairer solution to an unfair situation. But I can’t help but suspect that this will not help relations with the Palestinians. The Palestinians want some say in their own future, a feeling of self-determination, as opposed to having their hands held by Israel. I suspect the failure to talk with Palestine about this move will provide Israel with future difficulties.

Posted by Scottage at 2:48 PM / | |