Who are the Israelis opposing the security fence?
Well, it seems that another anonymous comment has piqued my interest. I don't know whether it's the same "anonymous" or a different one than before, or whether there's just something inherently special about those anonymous commenters.
Here it is, on this thread:
At 3:40 PM, Anonymous said...
Just out of curiosity, if it is anti-semitic or anti-Israel to ask Israel to get rid of the fence/wall, what does that make the millions of Israelis who want the same?
(By the way, I was asserting that it was not necessarily anti-Semitic to be against the wall; there were other commenters claiming that it was.)
Here's my attempt at an answer to the question "what does that make the millions [sic] of Israelis who want the same?":
The short version
Try any of the following:
1) Ultra-orthodox ultra-religious Jews
4) self-hating anti-Semitic Jews
The long version
I'm not sure where you got the idea that there are millions of Israelis who want to get rid of the security fence. First, take a look at these population figures, from 2003. The entire population of Israel is 6.7 million, but 1.3 million of them are Arab Israelis. The Jewish population of Israel is 5.4 million.
Now, take a look at the results of polls conducted in March of 2004 on the security fence, as reported in the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz . You will note that there is an almost-unheard-of degree of near-unanimity in the opinions of Jewish Israelis on the security fence: 84% support it and 13% oppose it.
The thirteen percent of the Jewish population of Israel (5.4 million) opposing the fence would therefore number about 700,000. This is not the "millions" of which you speak, but it is indeed a sizeable number (the only way you could get a figure of over a million is to include the Arab Israelis, but I'm assuming that's not what you had in mind, or you wouldn't have asked the question).
Who are these Jewish Israelis who oppose the fence? As far as we can tell from the article, they appear to be mainly members of the following Israeli parties: National Union, the National Religious Party (NRP), Shas, and Meretz. Although the majority of the members of these parties still support the fence, the percentages of supporters are much smaller than in the rest of the population.
Who are these parties? All but Meretz would fit answer (1), ultra-Orthodox ultra-religious Jews. As such, they support the settlements. Several of these parties are against the establishment of a Palestinian state and are for the transfer of Palestinians out of much of the occupied (or, more rightly, the disputed) territories. Therefore, they are for the expansion of Israel's borders beyond those of the present fence. This may be a key to what is behind the opposition to the fence of a sizeable percentage of the membership of these parties. The parties officially support the fence, but my guess is that those individuals in these parties who are against the fence are probably against it because it doesn't go far enough, not because it goes too far, and because it is being combined with the dismantling of most of the settlements.
Meretz is a different case, and would fit answer (2), leftists. It is a left-wing party that supports the "peace process" and even accepts a divided Jerusalem, and considers the settlements the main obstacles to peace. My guess is that they feel the wall upsets the Palestinian economy too much, and is a setback to the fabled peace process.
As for answer (3), Arabs, see this:
In the Arab sector, in contrast to the Jewish population, there is wide opposition to the separation fence, the prevalent view being that it will not help reduce terror. Similarly, most believe that in determining the route, great weight should be given to the suffering caused to the Palestinian population and not to security considerations of the government.
So, although exact figures are not given, it appears that the majority of Israeli Arabs are opposed to the fence.
Answers (4) and (5) are difficult to quantify, but my guess is that they represent some unknown but not insignificant portion of Israelis opposed to the fence.
During my research for this post, I found a passage that explains the security fence and the philosophy behind it in a novel way, suggesting that it could more rightly be called a "peace wall." (Perhaps the new nomenclature would make it more attractive to leftists: "All we are saying, is give the peace wall a chance?"):
According to Matti Golan, however, writing in Tel Aviv's financial Globes (Sept. 10, 2003), the security-, separation-, anti-terror fence, however one wants to refer to it, is actually a peace wall. "The fence would be better named the 'security and peace fence.' It should already be obvious that the only chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians, if there is any chance at all, lies in them being unable to hurt us. So long as they can hurt us, there will be those among them who will try. The harder it becomes for them to kill us, the weaker will be their resistance to an agreement. In other words, the fence will not only enhance security, it will improve the chance for peace....To the Palestinians who claim the fence will harm the peace process, we must tell the truth: The opposite is the case. The fence will only help the Palestinians who truly want peace, by thwarting those who do not want peace."
Hope that answers your question, anonymous.