10 years since the Israeli wall declared illegal, debunking persistent myths


Though obscured by the ongoing massacre in Gaza, a recent milestone in Israel’s flouting of international law was the 10th anniversary of the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) declaration that Israel’s separation wall is illegal. Yet even after 10 years, myths about the wall’s rationale and route continue to proliferate in Western media. …

The repeated claim that the wall stopped suicide bombings is rooted in a logical fallacy which wrongly assumes that correlation proves causation and ignores more significant factors that explain the drop in attacks.

As early as 2006, Haaretz, citing Shin Bet sources, was reporting that:

The security fence is no longer mentioned as the major factor in preventing suicide bombings, mainly because the terrorists have found ways to bypass it. The fence does make it harder for them, but the flawed inspection procedures at its checkpoints, the gaps and uncompleted sections enable suicide bombers to enter Israel.

So even before suicide bombings stopped, the wall was cited as ineffective. The same report gives some credit to Israeli forces’ improved ability to foil attacks, but primarily cites Palestinian armed groups’ truce as the reason for decreased violence. It even compares the number of deaths by suicide bombings to Israeli traffic fatalities—at the time, less than one-tenth—reminding Israeli readers that they were in far greater danger from a car crash than a Palestinian attack.

Today, a third of the wall’s planned route remains unbuilt. Every day, thousands of Palestinians lacking expensive and hard-to-get Israeli entry permits circumvent checkpoints by passing through the barrier’s remaining gaps in order to find work inside Jerusalem or Israel. Militants could enter just as easily, indicating that, as former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens told Ma’ariv, “It’s clear there is no connection between the wall and the cessation of attacks.”

Click here to see the full extensive photo essay and complete text on the AIC.