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      Why the Wall Won´t Help

      IDF Col. (res.) Amnon Yogev explained to Arutz-7 today that the security wall can be of limited help in preventing terror attacks - but that this will boomerang if the wall is used to separate the Jewish and Arab populations.
      First Publish: 9/23/2003, 6:34 PM

      Prof. Amnon Yogev of Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, a Colonel in the IDF reserves, explained to Arutz-7 today what he has against the counter-terrorism partition wall currently under construction in Israel:
      "If the current situation continues, where the IDF is on both sides [of the planned route of the wall], and the terrorists can produce, let's say, only 1-2 attacks a week - then of course obstacles and other means of warning can help. But if it becomes an ideology of separation - one that says that the Arabs will be on one side and we're on the other, and all attacks will be stopped at the fence - this is total nonsense...
      "If the wall is totally closed, and the IDF is only on one side of it, then the terrorists can prepare many more than 1-2 attacks and infiltrations a week. After all, the Arabs have 40,000 armed men inside! In such a case, the IDF won't have the manpower to go after all of them...
      "But I'm not only talking about terrorism. Some people talk about the fence as something that will divide the populations, and will obviate the need for strategic depth and for topographical advantages, and will enable us to live on our side of the wall happily ever after. This is total nonsense.
      "Unfortunately, the campaign for a wall started as a gimmick during the elections [earlier this year], and it gained momentum, and now you can barely hear a word against it in the media or elsewhere. People think that is the absolute truth, and are even demanding an investigative commission into why there is no fence; they think that if Iraq had built a wall, the Americans wouldn't have been able to win the war."

      Yogev mentioned in this connection the Bar-Lev Line that Israel built to ward off an Egyptian attack. The Bar-Lev Line was a series of 33 heavily fortified observation posts built after the Six-Day War atop sand ramparts 8-10 meters high along the east bank of the Suez Canal; it should be noted that then-IDF officer Ariel Sharon, already a recognized military hero, opposed it at the time.

      "The Egyptians penetrated and destroyed this line at 14 different points during the Yom Kippur War," Yogev said. "The only difference between this wall and Bar-Lev is that the current partition is much more flimsy... If the government wants to build it to stop an attack or two, fine - as long as the army continues to fight terrorism. But to throw away billions on it and say that it will end all our problems, that's ridiculous... True, [Gen.] Uzi Dayan is in favor of it - but only as a 'security fence,' not as a 'partition wall,' and he says that the IDF will have to continue to fight terrorism..."

      Asked about the example of Gaza, where the fence is apparently successful in stopping penetrations, Yogev said, "They send terrorists from Hevron, so why do they have to send them through the fence? And besides that, the topography is totally different, such that it would be much easier to infiltrate a fence/wall in Judea and Samaria than in Gaza..."