Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

The Bank and the Fence

A new report by the World Bank suggests that the separation fence going up between Israel and the West Bank will, when completed, leave some 95,000 Palestinians cut off on the Israeli side. Another 20,000 or so will be inconveniently cut off from their agricultural lands, forced to go through a fence to get to work. The message — echoing similar complaints in recent months by British, French, Palestinian and other critics — is that the fence is an abuse of Palestinian human rights.

The complaint seems almost comical at first glance. It’s not uncommon for major public works projects to inconvenience some innocents. The cost must be weighed against the project’s larger good. Thousands of New York families lost their homes when the Cross-Bronx Expressway was constructed in the 1960s, but nobody called in the United Nations. The displaced families licked their wounds and moved on. Palestinians inconvenienced by the fence might be expected to do the same, but for the fact that they and their allies seem uninterested in the project’s fundamental goal: preventing Palestinian terrorists from killing Israelis.

No, the real scandal here is a statistic mentioned in the report as a casual aside: that after nearly three years of nonstop violence, close to 800 Israeli lives lost and countless urgent appeals for a fence by every one of Israel’s security agencies, only eight miles of barrier have been completed. Some day, when sanity returns, someone in Israel should be held to account.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.