Fencing Off Terrorists

Desperate to protect itself from Palestinian bombers, Israel begins to build a controversial and costly wall around the West Bank

The crane operator lifts a 30-ft. concrete partition and slots it into a long row of identical slabs. Like the other Israelis laboring along this two-mile strip of wall, he wears not only a hard hat but a bulletproof vest as well. Fewer than 100 yds. away are the outskirts of Qalqilya, a Palestinian town. For the militants among Qalqilya's 25,000 people, the workers must seem an attractive target for sniping. So too will the thousands of Israelis who will pass by on this stretch of the Trans-Israel Highway, which, when it opens at the end of the month, will skirt...

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