Israel’s walls are becoming Europe’s walls
WATCHING THE news of the past few weeks, one is struck by how countries that have spent much of the past 50 years espousing the concept of open borders, and even a “borderless” world, are reneging on that policy.
The mass flow of refugees from the war-torn countries of the Middle East and the famine-ravaged countries of Africa has resulted in a reconstruction of physical borders in and around Europe.
Physical barriers between states, we had been led to assume, were no longer necessary in an era of peace and neighbourly relations.
In Israel, where our borders have always been a point of debate, and where only two (those with Egypt and Jordan) have ever received full inter- national recognition by virtue of the peace treaties that have been signed, many borders were left open.
For well over 30 years, the border between Israel and Egypt was not fenced or walled in, while the border running along the west of the country from Elat-Aqaba in the south to the Jordan-Israel-Syria meeting point in the north, was limited to a flimsy, often dilapidated, fence, which few on any side had any desire to cross.
In Israel, borders have returned with a vengeance. Starting 10 years ago, we unilaterally constructed the separation / security barrier / fence / wall (delete whichever term you are uncomfortable with), separating Israel from the West Bank and effectively closing the border to Palestinians.
Anyone who has ever used any of the five major crossing points along the route of the separation barrier will know that, while Israel may be averse to calling it a political “boundary”, it functions like any international border, with documents examined,