Thursday, December 15, 2005

KICing Ahead & Writing Back

Over the past week, I have been up to my ears in KICsessions. I can't complain - it's a sure sign that the KICinitiative has an important role to play in Israel education.

As well as currently teaching an online Israel Advocacy course for the American Hebrew Academy in North Carolina, I have also provided three sessions of Israel Advocacy Training for the AUJS Academy groups from Australia and New Zealand. Next week I am off to a Tiberias hotel for a session with Philedelphian teenagers and then a further two sessions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

It's an exciting time for me and has cemented my belief that this KICblog and KICsessions can provide a forum for helping Jews and other Zionists who face tremendous anti-Israel or provocative challenges from overseas media or on campus and the like. For this reason and to help keep themselves current, many KICparticipants are signing up to this blog and receive an email each time I post. (You can register above, on the top right-hand corner).

I would like to use some of my posts as an opportunity to provide advice and appropriate responses to criticisms of Israel. In the coming months, my colleague Ashley Perry and I will be establishing a new branch of KIC which will operate around-the-clock online support to those who support Israel. We will keep you updated with progress in that regard.

In the meantime, you will notice the new live comments area on the right side of the KICblog. A man called Hugh Steadman has been raising some questions about Israeli policy and I feel it is appropriate to respond to him in this space.

I would welcome other's comments on Hugh's questions and I encourage readers who wish to raise issues to do so in that live comments area or in the regular comments section below.

Hugh's comments can be read in the live comments area on the right side of the KICblog. Here is my response at this point:

Hugh - the security barrier is indeed an unfortunate invention
which became necessary after countless horrific terror attacks in
restaurants, buses, nightclubs and on roads around Israel. In a
perfect world, we would enjoy peace that actually meant peace. Walls are not a perfect
peaceful answer. Noone denies that.
However, where possible the fence has been built on
the 'green line' and only dips into West Bank disputed territory for security
needs (as a result of terror) and to include large Jewish areas which will remain under Israeli

The Israeli High Court of Justice has proven Israel's solid
democracy and justice system in passing decisions that back Israel's right to
build the fence but has ruled that in certain areas the fence must be shifted in
order to lessen the detrimental effect on Palestinian life. Israel has followed these
orders and there are great delays in building the life-saving fence while we await deliberation over further applications to the Court.

It should be remembered at all times, that while the anti-terror fence may indeed cause distress and inconvenience to some Palestinians, this does not even begin to compare with the death and destruction which would unfold daily on Israeli streets should the fence still not exist at all.

As for your other point, a blanket condemnation of house and
orchard destruction overlooks the fact that houses are destroyed when
they are used for terror bases or locations from which to launch attacks.
The same is said for destruction of olive groves and the like from which
Palestinians have shot at civilian vehicles and then escaped. Wanton
destruction without reason however is unacceptable and I could not condone

I hope this clarifies these issues.

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