I must take issue with reader Laurence Faiman’s depiction of Israel’s wall (July 19) as simply a legitimate successful defensive strategy.

Whether we call it a wall (my preference) or a fence (his), the fact remains that, when completed, this structure will entirely ring the West Bank and turn it into a virtual prison whose access and exits are entirely controlled by Israel.

As currently planned and implemented, the fence is not on Israeli territory, but rather on what is still considered occupied Palestinian territory as defined by U.N. resolution 242. Indeed, 375,000 Palestinians are cut off by the wall from the remainder of the West Bank. Farms and towns are split in half by it. The town of Qalqilia (population 45,000) is completely surrounded by the wall/fence and therefore exists as an island within the West Bank.

The fence itself consists of a bulldozed swathe, frequently accompanied by a moat, and invariably equipped with electronic ground sensors and electrified wires.

Rather than a simple, defensive structure, the wall is a substantial part of Israel’s effort to permanently annex adjacent West Bank territory, in clear defiance of international law. For this reason the United Nations International Court of Justice has ruled that the wall/fence is illegal.

If there is to be a two-state solution, Israel must grant the Palestinian state real territorial integrity, not the equivalent of a partitioned reservation.

Steve Bien, Jay