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Trump Cites Israel’s ‘Wall’ as Model. The Analogy Is Iffy.

How effective is it?

Since March 2002, there has been a sharp decline in the number and scope of terrorist attacks by West Bank Palestinians in Israel. Security officials say that the barrier has undoubtedly helped, but that there are several other important factors.

As the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, waned around 2004, Hamas, the militant group that now controls Gaza, put a moratorium on suicide bombings. Furthermore, the Israeli military still operates on the other side of the West Bank barrier, carrying out nightly raids in Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps to arrest people suspected of being militants. Israel also benefits from continuing security cooperation with the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which has an interest in suppressing Hamas and other militants in the West Bank and preventing attacks against Israel.

The barrier was never meant to stop all Palestinian movement into Israel. Palestinian laborers apply for permits and more than 50,000 people legally cross daily through a series of checkpoints that puncture the winding 400-mile route of the barrier.

But the system has proved far from hermitic. Depending on the season, up to 60,000 Palestinians without work permits sneak across the barrier to work in construction, agriculture or service industries in Israel, either through gaps in the route or by utilizing the services of local smugglers. And occasionally, the system is defeated by Palestinians who carry out terrorist attacks.

Israel has been lax in clamping down on illegal workers, usually just sending them back if they are caught. Unemployment in the Palestinian territories is high and wages are low relative to earnings in Israel, and the Israeli military argues that the economic well-being of Palestinians contributes to stability and security. In Israel, the illegal workers are generally accepted as part of the economy. Few Palestinians are looking to immigrate, since home is typically no more than a few hours’ drive away.

Source: NYT > World

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