Palestinian terrorists skirted Israel's partially constructed security barrier blowing up 2 municipal buses in Beersheba, killing at least 16 and wounding dozens. The Christian Science Monitor reports that this was the worst terrorist attack in an Israeli city in almost six months:
The wall, envisioned as a matrix of walls, barbed wire, and fences is intended to keep Palestinian terrorists away from Israel cities. The wall has been given credit for a decline in successful terrorist attacks.
The twin explosions - the first ever to rock the largest city in southern Israel - left about 90 injured and shattered one of the longest periods of calm inside Israel since the start of the four-year cycle of violence.
The city's location near the southern edge of the West Bank - which hasn't yet been closed off by Israel's security barrier - raises questions about whether Palestinian militants have shifted their target focus to exploit the opening. The attack is likely to spur Israeli calls to speed up work on the fence, which the International Court of Justice in July declared a "breach of international law."
Only about one third of the wall has been completed. Progress has been slowed by Palestinian legal challenges over the location of the barrier:
"What we've learned in the last half year is that where there is a fence, there's no terror, and where there isn't a fence, there is terror,'' says Israeli Public Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi.
So reexamine the wall's construction then get on with it. Israel has no real choice. Arafat has proven time and again that he is not to be trusted. Until the Palestinians choose a leader who can, and will, be a true partner for peace the wall, separating Israel from that portion of the West Bank that would become Palestine is the only way to prevent terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. If some future Palestinian Government negotiates a real peace with Israel the wall could always be moved to conform to a negotiated border.
Arguing that the snaking path of the fence inside the West Bank constitutes a de facto land grab and creates unnecessary hardship, the Palestinians won a nonbinding ruling from the United Nation's world court in July that raised the specter of international sanctions against Israel.
Both Israel's Supreme Court and the attorney general have reportedly said that the government will have to reexamine the fence construction in light of the UN court ruling.
After the World Court Ruling, Israel's deputy prime minister Ehud Olmert said:
Build the wall. Build it now and wait for the Palestinians to agree to a real peace.
"It's certainly unpleasant to have the ruling, but it's more unpleasant to have suicide attacks from territories not defended by the fence," he said. "The fence is probably uncomfortable and inconvenient for the Palestinians who live alongside of it, but it doesn't kill. The fence is removable and reversible, and death is not."