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.