Are Checkpoints Moral?
From David Bernstein at the well-known Volokh Conspiracy blog:
Next time you hear someone criticizing Israel’s “checkpoints” for Palestinians, think about this: a surprise checkpoint set up Thursday prevented an Islamic Jihad terrorist from blowing up a children’s Hanukkah party in Tel Aviv. The checkpoints have many harsh consequences on innocent Palestinians, but the blame for these hardships lies with the terrorists who try to infiltrate Israel to murder innocents. And it shouldn’t need pointing out, but it unfortunately does, that before Palestinian terrorists starting using suicide bombings in response to the Oslo peace agreement, West Bank and Gaza Palestinians could come and go from Israel and within the territories rather freely, with over 100,000 Palestinians working in Israel proper (for much better wages than they could receive at home) daily.
Hat Tip: Ezzie, who also mentions the passing of Dr. Abraham Luchins, z”l. Dr. Luchins was a past member of the board of the OU. His son David Luchins was for many years the trusted aide of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of NY and remains active on behalf of the community — may he and the entire family have a nechama (consolation) among all those who mourn for Zion and Jerusalem, and may we share many happy occasions.
I was reading a news account concerning the most recent suicide bombing discussed in this posting, and read that the roadblock where this bombing occured was a temporary roadblock that was setup specificially in response to intellegence that someone (who turned out to be this person) was on his way to blow himself up, along with as many people as he can kill with him. It was not one of the permanent roadblocks. I’m not sure whether this really makes that big of a difference but some have alleged that the permanent roadblocks don’t accomplish much and exist only for psychological purposes.
The questions can be broken down further — 1) are checkpoints moral, or are they a necessary “evil”; 2) is the behaviour of the soldiers at the checkpoints “moral”
while Q1 can be debated, my personal experience at checkpoints has been generally negative (i.e. the behaviour of the guards has quite often been less than respectful). This (IMO) is the bigger problem — by treating the Palestinians in a disrespectful manner, we create an underlying resentment that quite often wasn’t there before.
If there will continue to be checkpoints they need to change the behavior of those soldiers, because they are really mean, disrespectful and make going out of the city a hassle and pain…