In the wake of the suicide bombing that killed 19 this week, Israel is nearing a momentous decision: fencing off the occupied West Bank to protect its heartland from further terrorist attacks.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said Tuesday he would appoint a committee Sunday with a mandate to begin the gradual separation of Israel from the Palestinian territories.
The proposed security frontier on the West Bank will include a fence, electronic surveillance, patrolling, and checkpoints.
A decision to proceed with the “military separation line” will have far-reaching political implications for it would effectively define what Israel wants as its borders with a future Palestinian state in advance of negotiations, due in May 1996.
Establishment of such a frontier also would imply Israeli abandonment of scores of Jewish settlements that would lie beyond it.