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A Mere 7 Percent

By Michael Freund
2/18/2005, 12:00 AM

This Sunday, the Israeli cabinet is slated to approve two decisions with critical long-term repercussions for the country’s future.

In addition to bringing the expulsion of Jewish communities from Gaza and northern Samaria to a vote, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will also seek ministerial approval of his plan to move the security fence even closer to Israel’s pre-1967 frontier. In effect, the Government is setting the stage to hand over nearly all of the territories to eventual Palestinian control.

Whereas the plan originally approved in October 2003 would have incorporated 16 percent of Judea and Samaria on the Israeli side of the fence, the new plan going before the cabinet on Sunday includes just 7 percent. This, of course, means far less land would remain under Israeli control, and far more Jews will be on the “wrong side” of the fence.

To be fair, a number of the changes made to the fence’s route are the result of rulings by Israel’s Supreme Court, which occasionally seems more concerned about ensuring access to Palestinian olive trees than preserving Jewish lives.

Fence But let’s not kid ourselves – the fence being built has powerful political and symbolic value, and there is little doubt that the Palestinians and others will relate to anything “beyond the fence” as having been conceded by Israel.

It is a testament to this Government's failure that all it has to show for its efforts is retreat, withdrawal and abandonment. Instead of fencing in the bad guys, the Government is handing them 93 percent of what they wanted on a silver platter.

This Sunday, the borders of the country might very well be drastically re-drawn - and in exchange for making unprecedented concessions, Israel will receive nothing, absolutely nothing, in return. Talk about a bad deal.