There is apartheid in the Middle East on the roads, too. Steps are taken to separate people according to their religion. It's a phenomenon that has escaped the notice of Jimmy Carter, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Goldstone and Scandinavian politicians, but it's there, white letters on a green background on traffic signs in Saudia Arabia. You can see it on highways leading to Mecca on which only Muslims can travel. Other drivers and passengers, impure heretics as they may be, are barred from using them. Out of revulsion they are relegated to another road.
Limitations on Palestinians using Route 443 through the West Bank do not constitute apartheid, in the opinion of Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch. The elation of opponents of the limitations regarding the High Court of Justice's decision last week doesn't reflect the full text of the court opinion. The court in fact confirmed, not rejected, the security rationale at the basis of the prohibitions imposed nine years ago when terrorism struck.
The Israel Defense Forces is being required to update its policies to conform with the calm on the highway since it stamped out terrorism. The 40 army vehicles a day that currently use the road from nearby Arab villages are not enough. A rate of 80 vehicles, the IDF's updated proposal, is also not enough. A further increase in the number and the installation of checkpoints are expected to satisfy the court. The principle of limiting traffic was not invalidated, only the way it is implemented on the ground.
Route 443 from the Tel Aviv area to Jerusalem was partly built on the Arab side of the Green Line, as was Highway 1 to Jerusalem in the Latrun area. But this doesn't impede opponents of the occupation from putting their personal convenience in traveling between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem before the trouble of plodding along the old highway used prior to the Six-Day War. The shock absorber attached to their morality is exposed as more effective than the car.
It's good that there is public and legal supervision of the authorities so they don't act arbitrarily, or in a manner that is biased or discriminates based on religion, nationality, race or gender. (I'm going to snitch here: There is an establishment at the Tel Aviv Port open to women only. Men who try to get in are turned away.) On the other hand, the pendulum can swing the other way and endanger lives, through the mad American logic that gave preference to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's right to fly to Detroit over the safety of the hundreds of his fellow passengers on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.
That is the dissembling, idiotic approach of Democratic U.S. administrations: Bill Clinton and his attorney general, Janet Reno, and Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, who was previously Reno's deputy. With Clinton's blessing, Reno imposed a separation between intelligence collected on terrorism suspects by agencies such as the CIA and the law enforcement of the FBI. The result became apparent on September 11, 2001. Holder, who with Obama's support ordered a criminal investigation against CIA staff accused of harming terror suspects after September 11, is encouraging a mindset that prevented Abdulmutallab from being put on a no-fly list barring his entry into the United States.
Holder, Rice and Obama, as well as Carter and Clinton, who were both governors of southern states before becoming president, have copied a simplistic notion of the civil rights struggle involving American blacks and implemented it in U.S. foreign and defense policy. Racist white mayors and state troopers harassing innocent black pedestrians and motorists? That's exactly what Muslims on Flight 253 and Palestinians on Route 443 must be spared, even if the world blows up.
The intrusive inconvenience to those belonging to high-risk groups, meaning those who create risks and not those exposed to them, should create a measure of deterrence and difficulty for terrorists. The price of misguided lenience in the other direction is much higher.
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