Settlement Sign 370.
(photo credit: Josh Hasten)
The large red sign with white lettering in Hebrew, Arabic and English at the
entrance to the Arab village just off Route 367 in Gush Etzion reads: “This road
leads to a Palestinian village. Entrance for Israeli citizens is
Over the past decade, I have seen many red signs along the
roads leading toward Arab villages throughout Judea and Samaria warning that
entering Area A, which is under complete Palestinian control, is illegal under
But this was the first time I had seen wording indicating
that should an Israeli accidentally make a wrong turn – or perhaps intentionally
venture out in search of cheaper construction materials, or auto body parts –
that such actions could cost them their lives.
No, this new sign was not
put up by the PA to keep Jews out, but by our own security officials.
could argue that due to the realities of the situation on the ground between
Israel and the PA, where history has proven that a wrong turn can lead to murder
(the two IDF reservists who were lynched after erroneously winding up in
Ramallah during the second intifada being the ultimate example) is that Israel
has no choice but to do the responsible thing and put up these signs.
this warning, and the countless other security initiatives, specifically those
which are defensive in nature, undertaken by Israel over the past nearly 20
years solidify one simple fact: Oslo has failed.
Before that historic
1993 agreement on the White House lawn, while perhaps Jews and Palestinians were
not the best of friends, at least there existed some degree of daily interaction
and respectful coexistence.
For example, it was not usual for the
residents of Gush Katif and the western Negev to shop in the markets of Gaza
City. In addition, there was no need for the various “bypass” roads, as often
the main route to reach communities in Judea and Samaria was through Arab
We didn’t have military checkpoints; approximately 500 km. of
security fence including the adjacent patrol roads; or the worry of
differentiating between areas “A,” “B,” or “C.” And of course, we didn’t have
daily shootings on the roads, which began thanks to our policy of arming our
peace partners, who instead turned their weapons on Jewish motorists.
it’s not just the residents of Judea and Samaria that have been exposed to the
dangers brought about by Oslo. In Sderot and throughout the western Negev, while
there are no visible red warning signs indicating that simply going outside can
cost you your life, instead a blaring and nearly daily “Code Red” alert
indicates residents that rockets, mortars or missiles are in-bound, forcing them
to seek shelter or risk death.
And what was our response to the attacks
in the South? Israel spent nearly NIS 500 million to fortify all private homes
and places of public gathering including schools within 4.5 km. of
Just this week, the government allocated yet another security
blanket – NIS 270 million toward fortifying the homes (and public buildings) of
those who live between 4.5 km. and 7 km. of Gaza.
And of course for those
under fire further out in major cities like Beersheba or Ashkelon, our answer is
the Iron Dome anti-missile system.
And let’s not forget about the 240-km.
fence along the Egyptian border under construction to prevent terrorists or
migrant workers from entering the country.
But are the fences, shelters,
anti-missile systems, etc., appropriate responses? Perhaps they are necessary –
but these are not solutions, merely Band-Aids; holding things together in the
short-term without addressing our true longterm security threats.
rockets landing in the South, and an entire generation of traumatized Israeli
children is simply inexcusable. Having to fear for your life if you enter Area A
in the historical Jewish heartland while at the same time Arabs are free to shop
in Jewish supermarkets, farm their land and walk the paths of Area C with their
heads held high is unacceptable.
It’s time to admit once and for all that
Oslo has failed. It’s time for our leaders to implement offensive policies that
eliminate the terror threats against us.
When that happens, it will also
be time to take down that sign.