While the world was still reeling from the botched terror attack on an American passenger jet, the High Court of Justice proclaimed that the IDF could no longer ban Palestinians from traveling on Route 443. Court President Dorit Beinisch and Justice Uzi Fogelman called on the army to find alternate ways to protect motorists from the terror attacks which had been rampant on this road before the ban. Beinisch and Fogelman thought that five months were about the right amount of time for the IDF to come up with a new strategy.
When I heard the court's verdict, I could not help but link it to Northwest Airlines Flight 253. Astounding security breaches allowed a terror suspect, who had no luggage and paid for his ticket in cash, to board a US-bound plane. As though that were insufficient warning against dropping one's guard, the High Court has demanded that the IDF reduce its protection of an otherwise vulnerable road.
THE CRUX of Beinisch's and Fogelman's argument is that the IDF has no jurisdiction over the strip of Route 443 that traverses a section of Judea and Samaria. Because Arab-owned land had been appropriated to construct the road, Arabs had an inalienable right to use it. According to the majority decision, even multiple terror attacks and the subsequent IDF call for a ban on Palestinian traffic did not suspend this right.
How can two jurists determine the parameters of appropriate security measures - especially when they will not be held accountable for any future failures? Sitting in the courthouse, they are spared the daily realities of terror prevention. Principles of human rights and antidiscrimination have been allowed to hypertrophy - potentially at the expense of human life.
As a member of Knesset, I had to act to prevent the court's hubris from costing Israeli lives. I proposed that the Judea-Samaria section of Route 443 be officially annexed. This would defang the court's claim that IDF had limited authority over formerly Arab-owned land.
Legislating to work around court decisions is a far-from-ideal modus operandi. But Beinisch has left those MKs who see her decision as irresponsible with no other option. We will do everything in our power to support the IDF's assessment of the correct security measures for Route 443.
MEANWHILE, THE US and other countries are still trying to understand the failure to prevent Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding Flight 253. MIT Prof. Yossi Sheffi wrote in The New York Times, "As a society we have to decide if security is more important than misplaced privacy concerns or the danger of profiling, which may cause dark-skinned young males with Muslim names traveling from known al-Qaida hot spots to be checked more frequently than my wife's 95-year-old grandmother."
The lawyers who brought the case against the Route 443 ban would do well to take heed. Attorney Limor Yehuda, for example, welcomed the court's decision, declaring that she hoped it would bring an end to the "separation disgrace."
I have no argument with Yehuda that separation is an unfortunate facet of our lives. But it is a consequence of protecting all our citizens - not only the Jewish ones. And until terror ceases, I will always prefer saving lives over principles of equality. I don't like it, but I know where my priorities rest. I find it morally indefensible to place equality and travel rights above preventing terror.
This week US President Barack Obama returned to work after a less-than-completely-restful vacation. Responding to Flight 253, he said publicly and definitively, "We are at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred, and we will do whatever it takes to defeat them."
Israel is behind Obama 100%, and I for one will do my utmost to prevent misguided court decisions that limit doing "whatever it takes" to defeat terror.
The writer is an Israel Beiteinu MK.