“When Israel’s free society was defending itself against an unprecedented campaign of terror, most of the international community was calling for an end of the “cycle of violence” and a return to the negotiating table. When the Palestinian terrorists struck… Israel was condemned for imposing “collective punishment” on the Palestinian population. When Israel chose to target individual terrorists with precision air strikes, its actions were condemned as illegal extrajudicial assassinations. It seemed that in eyes of many, the Jews had a right to defend themselves in theory but could not exercise that right in practice… our government understood that there were three options to maintain an acceptable level of security for our citizens. The first was to wage a total war against Palestinian terror using weapons that would claim many innocent Palestinian lives. The second was to keep our reserves constantly mobilized to defend the country. The third option was to build the security fence. Had the Palestinian Authority become a partner in fighting terror, as it was obliged to do under all the agreements that it signed, none of these options would have become necessary.— Natan Sharansky

The West Bank Security Fence construction began in 2002, over FIVE years ago. Even though it is only 57% complete, Members of al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have been less able to conduct terrorist attacks, the numbers of which have decreased in areas where the barrier has been completed. In his interview to Al-Manar TV, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Salah admitted that the barrier is an important obstacle, and that “if it weren’t there, the situation would be entirely different.

Yet with that kind of “ringing endorsement” from the terrorists you have to wonder why the fence has not been completed. As this supposed “peace process” begins to unravel Israel has to prepare for an up tick in terrorism. But in the past four monts— no work has been done on the structure (see Kilometers of W. Bank security fence completed since July: 0 in today’s Jpost.

In spite of that claim, as well as media allegations that the Defense Ministry lacks money in its fence budget for this year, the Prime Minister’s Office told the Post that NIS 500m. of the 2007 budget for the barrier remains in the Defense Ministry’s coffer…..

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…Last year, the Defense Ministry completed 102 km. of the fence. Some 10 months into 2007, however, only an additional 48 km. – just 6 percent of the entire planned route of the fence – have been completed.

Well gee—if its not the money…mmmmm “me smelleth another concession”

Dudi Barrel, director-general of the Israel Infrastructure Contractor’s Association, who is among the initial supporters of the fence, said, “Leaving holes in the structure is the stupidest thing that one could do.” He added that the situation in the West Bank could change any time and Israel could find itself once more before a new wave of terror attacks. “The fence has proved that it saves lives,” said Barrel. He hoped, he said, that it would not take the loss of more lives to renew the drive to complete the fence.

Olmert has never been one to let the loss of Israeli lives get in the way of another concession.