Sharon has been part of Israel since its inception in 1948, fighting under the star of David when the country was attacked on the day of its birth by members of seven surrounding Arab states. He fought in the 1956 Sinai Campaign, and was a general in the 1967 Six Day and 1973 Yom Kippur Wars. A vociferous critic of the Oslo Accords, he did an about-face last year in ordering the removal of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip, ostensibly to appease the world community but pragmatically to relinquish territory too costly to defend. Who will emerge now that the nascent Kadima party has lost its marquee man is up in the air, as is the tenuous relationship between Israel and the rest of the Middle East.
In the tributes, an interesting thing was noted--the precipitous drop in terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israelis:
In 2002, the year Mr. Sharon ordered an invasion of the West Bank, 452 Israelis were killed by Palestinian bombers and gunmen. That number was halved in 2003The infitada that brought routine Palestinian suicide bomber attacks in 2001 forced Israel to respond aggressively. But offense was only part of the equation:
and halved again in 2004. Last year the figure was 45. Palestinian losses to Israel also declined by 75% during the same period, as fewer terrorist attacks elicited fewer reprisals.
This was not achieved because of Palestinian restraint -- even now, the number of attempted terror attacks has scarcely abated. It came about through a combination of large-scale Israeli military actions, targeted killings of Hamas leaders such as Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Rantissi, the arrest and incarceration of suspected Palestinian terrorists, and the building of the security barrier [my emphasis] in the West Bank. All these actions were fiercely denounced, particularly in Europe, as illegal, immoral and counterproductive.Aha! Indeed, the security fence has been incredibly effective--terrorist attacks have virtually ceased in places where it stands (not all of Israel's perimeter is fortified by the barrier, although it is being expanded in phases). It's keeping the bad guys out.
Of course most illegal immigrants in the US are not bad people, and, at least at this point, the security threat from south of the US border pales in comparison to the danger the West Bank poses to Israelis. But American illegals are law-breaking net liabilities that are harmful to the economic, security, and cultural interests of the US. We have firsthand evidence of how helpful a barrier can be. The WSJ acknowledges it here, but only a week ago derided Tom Tancredo and his supporters for wanting to construct a similar panoply on the US-Mexico border, suggesting it would fail in additon to being evil. What gives?
Sharon is renowned for his ability to feel the pulse of his constituents. Rather than fight those he was elected to represent, he actually represented them:
When Israelis overwhelmingly supported the construction of a West Bank fence, Mr. Sharon, who originally opposed the barrier, began to build it.So, when public opinion in the US shifts in favor of building a barrier our politicians will heed our wishes and begin construction immediately! Wait, the majority (60%) already supports the tough reform measure by a ratio of over two-to-one. But the House (closest to home) is the only body amenable to public sentiment. President Bush certainly is not. Hopefully the Senate, the Administration, and the WSJ will realize what the American Joe is now well aware of--massive, meritless immigration from Latin America is harmful to the US and action should be taken immediately to stop it.