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Report: Israel needs security zone in West Banks

Special to World Tribune.com
MIDDLE EAST NEWSLINE
Thursday, April 8, 2004

A new report stated that Israel's military must establish a security zone to ensure the effectiveness of any security fence and barrier system in the West Bank.

The report by the Washington Institute said a security zone will ensure that infiltrators cannot approach the fence and barrier system being constructed along the West Bank. The report said Israel's military should adopt the lessons of the 60-kilometer security fence erected along the Gaza Strip in 2002.

The report, authored by [Res.] Maj. Gen. Doron Almog, former head of the military's Southern Command, said a security buffer zone must be supported by rules of engagement that would prevent infiltrators. He said a security zone of one kilometer in depth was established in the Gaza Strip in 2001 after Palestinians attacked and dismantled nearly 30 kilometers of the fence in late 2000 in damages estimated at $25 million.

The report said Israel's military must complete the following tasks to replicate the Gaza defensive model in the West Bank.

They would include clearing an area for a security buffer zone [SBZ], establishing special rules of engagement, installing sensors as well as physical barriers, establishing a system of electro-optical observation posts, and deloying professional troops to carry out the mission.

"Most of these components have been implemented in the new seam zone project in the West Bank," the report said. "Yet, two key components have been omitted from completed portions of this project: a bulldozed SBZ and special rules of engagement.

" Based on the long-term assumption of enduring war against Palestinian terrorism, Israel must implement these components as it has done in Gaza," the report said. "In the case of SBZs, Israel should assert control over vital land that is needed to protect the most precious resource of any democratic state -- its citizens. Any such hesitation will force Israelis to pay an even higher price than they already have."

Almog said the security system along the Gaza Strip allowed Israeli troops to see up to five kilometers at all times of day. The security outposts also featured a continuous monitoring and videotaping system. The report said that Palestinian insurgents managed to overcome the electronic fence in eight instances before being captured by the Israeli military.

The report said Palestinian insurgents could be expected to develop new tactics to overcome any West Bank security fence and barrier. Almog recommended a multi-layered system that combines defensive and offiensive capabilities.

"If there is any deterrence against suicide bombers guided by a fanatical ideology, it is 'cumulative deterrence,' a strategy that encompasses a variety of defensive and offensive foiling measures," the report said. "Given the Gaza defensive system's ability to completely prevent terrorist infiltration into Israel, it is imperative that the Israeli government implement a strong, lasting defensive system in the West Bank for the protection of the vast majority of the country's six million citizens."


Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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