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The Fence complies with Oslo II

18 November, 2003

To The Editor of The Guardian

May one hope that impartial UN delegates will take the following reality into account when voting on the expected General Assembly resolution in the wake of the ICJ advisory.

Believe it or not, Israel's construction of the anti-terror barrier (ATB) complies fully with its duty under the Oslo Accords. Article XV of the of the 1995 (Oslo II) Interim Agreement specifically provides that "Both sides shall take all measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against each other, ..". Having regard to the Palestinian Authority's (PA) flagrant failure to comply with its obligations under this clause, Israel's construction of the ATB should be welcomed as the only non violent remaining means available to comply with its obligations under this clause.

The more so is this true in view of the PA's tolerance of, and even cooperation with, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP and other openly terrorist organizations in gross violation of Article XIV which unambiguously forbids any armed forces in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip other than the Israeli army and the Palestinian Police Force. This clause clearly states "Except for the arms, ammunition and equipment of the Palestinian Police described in Annex I, and those of the Israeli military forces, no organization, group or individual in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip shall manufacture, sell, acquire, possess, import or otherwise introduce into the West Bank or the Gaza Strip any firearms, ammunition, weapons, explosives, gunpowder or any related equipment, unless otherwise provided for in Annex I.

It is also difficult to understand what alternative is open to Israel in countering terror attacks especially in view of the PA's violation of its obligation under Article XXII to abstain from incitement, take legal measures to prevent such incitement and to ensure that their respective educational systems contribute to the peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples and to peace in the entire region.

If we were living in a rational fair-minded world, the ICJ would have welcomed, not only this non-violent ATB, but the fact that by reducing the incidence of terror attacks, it will hopefully minimize, if not avoid the need for violent incursions into PA controlled territory. It would also have considered in-depth, the PA actions which motivated the ATB.

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