From time immemorial, security fences have been built around the world often in disputed territories to disrupt terrorists, drug smugglers, and illegal immigrants from entering. No doubt, these fences often cause difficulties for native populations in the vicinities they are built. To name just a few:
India/Pakistan – India is constructing a fence along the majority of its 1,800 mile border with Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir. The fence is designed to keep terrorists from crossing the border from Pakistan to launch attacks in India. Made up of barbed wire, concertina wire, and giant 25-foot-tall floodlights, it’s a formidable barrier and accomplishing the task it was created to do.
Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan – A land dispute led to the unilateral construction of a barbed wire fence by Uzbekistan to secure their border with Kyrgyzstan in the fall of 1999. The fence was constructed after Islamic terrorists from Kyrgyzstan were blamed for bomb attacks in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. The construction of the fence has caused economic hardships in the poor agricultural areas of the Ferghana Valley and has separated many families in this traditionally integrated border region.
Even more interesting is the security fence being constructed by the Saudis between them and Yemen. Despite incessant criticism of Israel the Saudis have none-the-less constructed a physical barrier of sandbags and pipelines, re-enforced with concrete. It stands 10ft. high and spans the entire 1800 kilometer border shared with Yemen. Ostensibly created to prevent the violence in Yemen from spilling over into the Kingdom, it nonetheless has created hardships for people living in both countries along their common border.
But Saudi Arabia was not done yet. In 2006, at a cost of $590 million and to further insulate themselves, the ever-paranoid, oil-soaked Saudis began constructing a 559 mile concertina wire fence, 23 feet high along it’s border with Iraq to prevent refugees from entering their territory.
Baghdad/Iraq – Attempting to end sectarian violence in that war-torn capital, a movable 7.1 ton, concrete, sectional, 12 foot high fence was created in 2007. Many Iraqi’s not involved in the decision to do so are still up in arms over its construction. The Sunnis have claimed the fence was a deliberate act on the part of the Americans to isolate them. A claim no doubt with a great deal of merit.
Afghanistan-Pakistan – Created by Pakistan in September 2005 to stem the flow of Taliban and al-Qaeda into their country. The fence whose purpose has proven unsuccessful, none-the-less was slated to span their mutual 1500 mile border. President Hamid Kazai of Afghanistan strongly objected to its construction claiming it would, “enslave the Afghans,” yet its construction continued.
A barrier of some sort also exists between Iran/Pakistan, Spain/Morocco, and even within Italy, where a steel 10-foot wall known as the “Anelli Wall” was constructed to quell gang violence, drug dealing, and prostitution just outside the city of Padua.
What do all these walls, embankments, and security fences have in common? To the outside world, few if any people – including myself – have much knowledge of these or any of the hundreds others built by countries around the globe for purposes of separating groups of people nationally or internationally for one reason or another. Has the worldwide media made much of a squawk? If they had, a news geek like myself would have heard about it. Alas, I haven’t. However, Israel, oh that Israel, when it comes to her, she’s an entirely different story.
The truth about Israel’s security barrier
On June 1, 2001 a Palestinian named Saeed Hotari was standing in line outside a Tel Aviv discotheque called the Dolphinarium. Along with several hundred, mainly new immigrant youths from Russia, he seemed like just another kid waiting to have a good time on a Friday night. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. According to survivors of the horrific blast that killed 21 and injured 132 people, Hotari was seen banging on a drum loaded with explosives and ball bearings just prior to detonation.
As a result of this and other incessant terrorist bombings against Israeli civilians, a grassroots organization called “Fence for Life” began petitioning the Israeli government to create a continuous fence between Palestinian population centers and the Jewish population.
The idea of a physical fence separating Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations wasn’t new – it was first broached by the darling of the left, former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin in 1994. Following a particularly brutal homicide attack in Tel Aviv, Rabin stated, “We have to decide on separation as a philosophy.” Keep in mind this prophetic statement was made 6 years prior to the second “intifada.”
Plans for the fence were put on hold in the first few years after Rabin’s assassination, but were revisited and put into action by the Sharon government in June 2002, as the body count of innocent Israeli’s began to mount from an increasing number of homicide bombings.
More concerned with the inconveniences caused by this barrier than the mounting death toll of Israelis, the hypocritical world body, the U.N., and just about everyone else – including the Assads of Syria -lambasted the government of Israel for erecting the fence; a barrier of separation, the sole objective of which is to prevent the uncontrolled entry of killers from Palestinian population centers into Israel proper; a barrier that is – by all measures – successfully achieving that objective.
In most places, the impediment is comprised of an electronic fence with dirt paths, barbed-wire fences, and trenches on both sides, at an average width of 60 meters. In some areas, the defense establishment decided to build a concrete wall six to eight meters high in place of the barrier. The length of the system already built, under construction, or in planning is 709 kilometers, a distance twice as long as the Green Line.
“Apartheid! Apartheid!” the sanctimonious bleeding hearts around the world cried and are still crying. From the hallowed hallways of the U.N. you can still hear the echoes of reproach being hurled against Israel for supposed human rights violations. But nowhere in the din of this outrage is any thought given to the death and maiming of thousands of innocent people, murdered in cold blood for no other reason than that they were Jews. On buses, on trains, in Day Care centers and schools, eating in restaurants, or celebrating weddings, Bar Mitzvahs or the birth of children at a catering hall, the homicide bombers did not -and do not- discriminate; they seek to kill as many Jews as possible. With unfortunate exception, the security barrier has been an unmitigated success in thwarting these goals.
In fact, between September 2000-2007 alone, 1,218 Israeli people were killed; 8,341 were wounded. Interestingly, out of this number, 5,676 were civilians, less than half, 2,665 were security forces, proving Jewish civilians were mainly targeted.
Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism
As the graph in the above graph indicates, the need and efficacy of the security fence is evident by the decrease of homicides from bombings in 2002 (220 deaths), to only 3 deaths in 2007. This has a direct correlation to the progress made during the fence’s construction. However telling these statistics are, they don’t begin recognize the real human suffering and anguish victims of terrorism have gone through before the security fence was built.
Analogous to reading about the number 6,000,000 million being killed during the Holocaust, the number is so big, we tend to forget that everyone of those six million had a family and friends that mourned their individual death. So is true of the victims of Islamic terrorist attacks in Israel.
To put a human face on these latest victims of Jewish hatred, I urge you to look at the ADL’s documentation of major terrorist attacks in Israel and read some of the stories of innocent people murdered for no other reason than being Jewish.
Has the fence stopped all terrorist attacks? Absolutely not. Israel is faced with a dogmatic, cowardly enemy driven by a cultist mandate to kill and maim as many Jewish innocents as possible. This past year alone:
March 11, 2012 – Udi Fogel, 36, and Ruth Fogel, 35, along with three of their children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and 3-month-old Hadas were stabbed to death by terrorists in their home in Itamar, in northern Samaria.
March 23 – One woman, identified by the police as a 56-year-old British tourist, was killed and about 50 people wounded when a bomb exploded across from the Jerusalem Convention Center, near the Central Bus Station. The bomb had been placed near a telephone booth at a crowded bus stop next to Egged city bus #74.
April 24 – Ben-Yosef Livnat, 24, of Jerusalem was killed by a Palestinian policeman at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
September 23 – Asher Palmer, 25, and his year old son Yonatan of Kiryat Arba were killed when their car crashed on Route 60 near Hebron, after being struck by stones.
Attacks such as these are sure to occur notwithstanding the security fence. But most assuredly it has saved hundreds if not thousands of lives of not only Jews but Palestinian Arabs which may have suffered the collateral damage of more frequent IDF pursuits and capture of terrorists throughout Judea and Samaria had it not been built.
Despite their railing and howling against Israel, the U.N. seems to agree, in the face of a dastardly enemy, security fences save lives. Following a deadly attack against their Baghdad offices, the U.N. began building a $21 million dollar barrier fence in and around their New York City headquarters. I guess when it comes to their own territory, they’re not as worried about inconveniencing people to protect their premises and people.Jerrold L. Sobel
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