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A Fence for Me, but Not for Thee By: Shawn Macomber
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, August 20, 2004

On a recent trip to Israel, American Spectator reporter George Neumayr found himself in a taxicab with a young orthodox Jew just outside Ramallah. "Are you pro-fence or anti-fence?" the young man asked, before quickly adding, "You have to be pro-fence on this road."


You had to be "pro-fence" on that road because Palestinian militants like to take potshots at the drivers with high-powered rifles as part of their "war of liberation." This exchange between Neumayr and the young Jew is important because it illustrates just how difficult it is to put oneself in the shoes of the people who are living under the constant threat of Palestinian terrorism.


"International diplomats, with the luxury of not living next to the Aksa Martyrs Brigade, use this propaganda to cast the security fence as the Berlin Wall of the Middle East," Neumayr writes. "Sitting in the comfort of The Hague, the fence just doesn't seem so necessary."


Back home, however, the European Union -- despite its vocal and vituperative opposition to Israel's fence at the World Court -- has recently discovered the utility of a border fence. Not to protect themselves from terrorists. No, nothing that serious. Instead they are seeking to defend themselves against migrant workers streaming into EU member states Hungary and Poland from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

The double standard is clear: A fence which has cut suicide bombings down to almost nothing and saved countless Jewish lives is, to the EU, utterly unacceptable. But a fence to protect the socialist economies of Europe from the poor is common sense. "It's incredible the EU has no problem building a fence just to keep illegal immigrants out, but when the Jewish State builds a security fence as a last resort for the purpose of keeping terrorists out and saving Israeli lives, we are blasted by them and the U.N.," a spokesman for Ariel Sharon told Aaron Klein of World Net Daily. "Makes you think, doesn't it?" It certainly made Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, think. "European hypocrisy is as rank as it is blatant," Pipes told World Net Daily in the same article.

Adding to the already bizarre mix is a report that recently surfaced in the Israeli business magazine Globes that the EU was going to use the experts in "separation fence" construction to build their fence -- Israeli companies. Globes reports that Magal Security Systems is "expected to sign a cooperation agreement with a major Western company for building fence and command and control systems in Eastern Europe." Magal, the main contractor for Israel's separation fence, "provides the IDF with war rooms, command and control systems for the buffer area, and the Fortis integrated command and control systems for settlements and secure facilities."

Magal has refused comment on the rumored deal, but the website of the company, which subsidiaries in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, Romania, Mexico and an office in China, puts border control at the top of its list of specialties: "A major concern of most countries is the ability to secure their national borders against illegal immigration, smuggling and the infiltration of terrorists," the brief summary reads. "The Magal Group has successfully applied its perimeter intrusion detection products to border security applications where, because of the long distances, nuisance alarms would discredit the reliability of the installation."

Another Israeli company, El-Far Electronics, is also reportedly seeking involvement in what promises to be a very lucrative project. Estimates based on the construction of Israel's fence put the likely cost of the EU project into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Sounds perfect—and so long as it doesn't stop any Palestinian terrorists The Hague will probably even go along with it. So long as Israeli technology and know-how benefits Europeans, there is no need to rein it in. Just so long as they serve the right master, everything will be kosher -- no condemning UN votes or anything. Ah, blessed are those who were born Europeans! Critical of all, answering to none, and as downright hypocritical as they could ever want to be.

Shawn Macomber is a staff writer at The American Spectator and a contributor to FrontPage Magazine. He also runs the website Return of the Primitive.

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