Peacekeeping: June 24, 2004


Peacekeeping operations often have unintended consequences. Case in point is the security fence  Israel is erecting around the Arab West Bank. In some cases, the fence is going up between an Israeli Arab village and a Palestinian one. Naturally, the Israeli Arabs (who are citizens of Israel, but tend to be pro-Palestinian), protest the erection of the wall. But once the fence is up, two things are noted. First, theres less crime. Thats because, without the fence, theres a constant stream of Palestinians trying to sneak into Israel. The Palestinians would often make unwanted passes at local schoolgirls, and steal things (even cars.) With the fence up, all that stopped. And people noticed it. People also noticed that they could no longer go over into Palestinian villages, where many items were cheaper (because they were often smuggled in, and paid no taxes.) So Israeli Arabs had to do all their shopping in Israel. Not so good for the shoppers, but the local merchants noticed. Unfortunately, few Israeli Arabs speak out publicly about the fence related improvements. It is still not considered politically correct for an Israeli Arab to say anything good about the security fence, so this story only leaked out by word of mouth, as people told close friends about the positive changes. For the Israeli government, this side effect has muted the opposition from Israeli Arabs. Even the Palestinians have some good things to say about the fence. Parents of teenage boys no longer have to worry so much about their sons walking across the border with a gun or bomb, and getting killed in the process. About half the Palestinians support the terrorist attacks against Israelis, but far fewer support sending their own kids to do it.


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