And yet - even though the fence is fundamentally necessary, the Sharon government is going about it all wrong. As Gil Shterzer has eloquently stated, the present government has lost sight of the purpose of the fence - to prevent terrorists from infiltrating Israel. Instead, it is building the wall according to the agenda of the far right, resulting in the planned Ariel loop and the proposed extension along the eastern boundary of Area B. If the fence is built along the route now envisioned, it will go far beyond anything necessary to protect Israel. It will effectively divide the West Bank into two enclosed cantons that are cut off not only from each other but from Jordan, effectively separating them from the world. I don't ordinarily like to use the word "bantustan" to describe proposals for a Palestinian state, but no other word does justice to the proposed redrawing of the West Bank map.
But Sharon isn't the only one getting it wrong. So are the international opponents of the fence. The great majority of them seem to oppose the fence in principle as well as in practical application; they fail to distinguish between the objectionable and legitimate parts of the wall, and refuse to acknowledge the terrorist incursions that prompted its construction. As such, they give the appearance - and sometimes the reality - of not acknowledging Israel's right to defend itself and control its borders. By doing so they virtually guarantee that their criticism will not find a receptive audience within Israel, and will indeed contribute to the sense of siege that led to the current plans. It's clear at this point that the fence is going to be built, and by overstating their criticism, the international community is sacrificing its influence over the route.
He's absolutely right - especially about how critics of the fence also failed to understand how it could even be legitimate. I am an opponent of the fence as well in principle, but I'd support the one that Jonathan proposes (though I think that his proposal for parties external to Israel deciding the fence's route would be an impossible sell).
However since there's no chance of that fence being built, I think that principled opposition to the fence at all costs is the best position, since the way it is being implemented in service of Greater Israel will ultimately harm Israeli self-interest. Jewishness, Greater Israel, and democracy - pick two.