Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a demand by the Palestinian Authority to tear down the security fence separating Israel and Palestinian population centers in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinians, disclosed that he has raised the issue of the fence (which in some places becomes a wall) with Washington. "The Israelis know that the wall adds to the complexities," Erekat told Reuters. It's part of the problem and not part of the solution."
But in a Knesset address Wednesday, Netanyahu completely disagreed. "I hear they are saying today that because it's quiet, it's possible to take down the fence. My friends, the opposite is true….It's quiet because a fence exists."
Netanyahu acknowledged that U.S.-trained Palestinian security forces have also helped bring some stability to Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank, but he insisted the fence is an important factor as well.
Since Israel began construction of the fence in 2003, the number of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli communities has dropped dramatically.