I have been trying to write this for years and to be honest with you, I have enough material to write a book. If only I had the time, it’s taken long enough to get this far.
I started researching a few years back with the view to showing how the ‘Separation Barrier’ built by Israel is just that, and not an “Apartheid Wall”, or one of the many names given to it. The more I researched the more information kept coming.
Walls are built to provide some sort of protection and have been built almost since the dawn of Man, be it walled cities, walled compounds or walls to protect an entire country.
We build walls or fences around our homes to keep undesirables out, to keep our children and animals in and out of harms way.
However now reading back through what I have written, I see walls, barriers, fences call them what you will, some of which are thousands of kilometres long and which are designed to keep criminals, illegal entrants, terrorists and would be conquerors out, a good idea.
So why in G-d’s name is Israel singled out for being the bad one when all she is trying to do is to protect Her citizens?
You have to see it as nothing else except antisemitism.
Everywhere I looked there was an oversupply of information on Israel’s barrier which is in place for protection, whilst precious little elsewhere on other walls.
A defensive wall (or a “Rampart”) is a fortification used to protect a city or settlement from potential aggressors. In ancient to modern times, they were used to enclose settlements.
Let’s try to fathom out why Israel is the only country whose barrier is called an “Apartheid wall” and why, when there are so many in existence, is Israel’s the only one to cause such a furor?
Security fences have been built around the world for thousands of years, often in disputed territories, with the purpose of protection, disrupting the movement of terrorists, smugglers, and illegal immigrants.
While security fences/barriers are common throughout the world, Israel’s decision in 2003 to construct one was met with protests by the international community and a hearing at the International Court of Justice. No other security barrier has ever been met with such resistance.
I started collecting information about modern barriers but then my mind wandered back into the past.
The walled city of Jericho is amongst the oldest and famed walls built for protection that we are aware of.
Jericho in Judaea and Samaria, had a wall surrounding it as early as the 8th century BCE. Jericho is described in the Torah, as the “City of Palm Trees” and is famed as the place of the decisive Battle of Jericho. The story goes that the walls of Jericho fell after Joshua’s army marched around the city blowing their trumpets.
Uruk in ancient Sumer (Mesopotamia) is one of the world’s oldest known walled cities. Another well-known ones are in Babylon, built by King Nebuchadnezzar, also Cartagena.
During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the shore of Hong Kong’s Guangdong province suffered from pirate attacks. Its winding shores, hilly lands, islands and being far from administrative centres made Hong Kong an excellent hideout for pirates. So the villages built walls to protect themselves against them.
In medieval Britain, walled villages were built. The entire population of the village lived within the walls, complete with their animals, they were completely self-contained with heavy doors which closed at night for protection.
A famous walled city in England is the beautiful and picturesque city of York, the beauty unfortunately is marred by its bad history regarding its Jewish population.
In 1190 York’s Jews had a holocaust of their own. A wave of antisemitic riots culminated in the massacre of an estimated 150 Jews – the entire Jewish community of York.
A plaque commemorates that event today. You hear things like that and then realise why we do need to protect ourselves.No doubt the wall best known to all is the Great Wall of China, built over a period of many years to keep out invaders. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England, on the border with Scotland, to keep out the barbaric Scots.
So clearly walls for protection and/or to prevent ‘comings and goings’ are not a new phenomenon.
This is a list of 12 Impressive Walled Cities in the World you might like to look at.
The Berlin Wall:
One of the most well-known ‘modern’ walls of the world no doubt was the Berlin wall. After the defeat of Germany in WW2, the country was divided amongst the allies, Britain, the US and the USSR as occupation forces. A militarised barrier some 160 kilometres (100 miles) long that entirely separated the enclave of West Berlin from the rest of the city and from East Germany as a whole, the Wall was built in 1961 and torn down in 1989.
Rio de Janeiro:
In 2009, Rio de Janeiro started building walls around some of its ‘favelas’, the shanty towns that crowd the hills around the city.
In total, 13 favelas will eventually be surrounded by concrete with a total length of 14km (8.6 miles) and a height varying between 80cm (32 inches) and 3m.
The aim is to prevent the precariously-constructed communities spilling over into the forest and destroying the surrounding vegetation of the Tijuca Park, one of the largest urban nature reservations in the world.
Some critics think Rio’s walls are an attempt to separate the poor areas from the richer ones situated between the favelas and the sea.
Others say they are intended to limit drug trafficking, as part of a planned regional government clamp down.
The wall was was built to defend Western Sahara from the Polisario Front – a political and military movement which seeks independence from Morocco and autonomy for the Sahrawi people.
The wall, was completed in 1987 is in reality a collection of six different defence walls.
Its total span is more than 2,700km (1,677 miles), and is made up of a mixture of sand and stone, barbed wire, ditches and mine fields.
Human rights organisations refer to it as the “wall of shame” and condemn the use of anti-personnel landmines along its length.
This is the most heavily militarised border in the world and was constructed between North and South Korea in 1953. Bristling with razor wire, sensors, landmines and heavy weapons, the Demilitarized Zone stretches for 250 kilometres (155 miles) along the full length of the border.’
China is now reinforcing fences along its border with North Korea as fears mount of a catastrophic famine in the secretive state.
Fences more than 13ft high, topped with barbed wire, where previously there was a 10ft high fence in place, are now being erected along an eight-mile stretch of the Yalu river around the Chinese city of Dandong.
The border between Mexico and the United States is 3,200km (1,988 miles) long.
The US government has built a metal wall along a third of it, at an estimated cost so far of $2.5bn (£1.5bn), to prevent the arrival of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America.
The first barriers actually began to appear in 1991, but in 1994 the US officially decided to step up their surveillance and expanded the wall under Operation Guardian.
According to the Mexican National Commission of Human Rights, more than 5,600 illegal immigrants have died trying to cross the border in the subsequent years.
The majority died as a consequence of the high temperatures in the desert.
As well as the wall itself, there are also three metal fences in some places along the border, preventing any kind of contact at all. Its average height is 4-5m (13-16ft).
Construction of a “virtual wall” has also recently begun.
This comprises a series of technological devices such as infrared sensors, cameras, radar, watch towers and ground sensors.
In 2001, the two countries jointly agreed to construct a fence along their 400 mile border to reduce smuggling and stop the infiltration of Malaysian Muslim extremist groups that led to the South Thailand Insurgency, a separatist campaign in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces.
It has just been approved to upgrade 141km of it to an electronic fence.
In 2005, Brunei built a security fence along its 20-kilometer border with Limbang, Malaysia in order to control illegal immigration and smuggling.
After having made an agreement with Frontex on the guard of the maritime borders of Greece with Turkey the Greek government decided a 124-mile (200 kilometre) wall should be built at the land border with Turkey, the Evros River.
These actions have been made as a reaction to the illegal immigration to Greece through the Greco-Turkish borders. These immigrants are originated from Muslim Asian and African states. From January to the beginning of November 2010, 32,500 illegal migrants were intercepted in a single 12.5-kilometer stretch of the Turkish-Greek border along the Evros river.
Actually this site is the main entrance of illegal immigrants to the EU from the Asian continent. Illegal immigration is a current subject between the two countries.
A 300-kilometre (187-mile) UN-patrolled buffer zone has divided Greek and Turkish Cypriots since 1974. A wall built along part of the line in the centre of the capital Nicosia was dismantled in 2007. However, Nicosia remains the world’s only divided capital
Israel/Gaza Strip barrier:
In the Gaza–Jericho Agreement the Palestinian Authority agreed to allow Israel to build a “security fence” around Gaza. The Palestinians largely tore down the barrier between Gaza and Israel at the beginning of the Second Intifada in September 2000. Israel rebuilt it between December 2000 and June 2001 and added a one kilometre buffer zone
In 1979, after the signing of the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, the two States created a 14 kilometre long, 100 metre wide strip of land, the Philadelphia Route, as a buffer zone between Israeli occupied Gaza and Egypt. It includes the Rafah Border Crossing between Egyptian and Palestinian controlled Rafah.
Israel built a stronger corrugated sheet metal and barbed-wire barrier as part of a larger 2 to 300 metre buffer in the Philadelphia corridor during the Palestinian uprisings of the early 2000s.
One purpose of the Philadelphia Route was to prevent the movement of illegal materials (including weapons and ammunition) and people between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Now Palestinians, in cooperation with some Egyptians, have built smuggling tunnels under the Philadelphia Route to move these into the Gaza Strip.
Since this time Egypt has constructed a steel wall underground in order to prevent tunnel building and smuggling, but this hasn’t deterred the tunnel builders who dug deeper.
The border between India and Pakistan is one of the most volatile on the planet.
Walls, barbed wire fences and barricades stretch almost half the 2,900km (1,800 mile) boundary line.
At the end of the 1980s, India began erecting barriers in the states of Punjab and Rajastan, saying they needed to combat terrorism.
An additional cause of tension is the use of barbed wire fences combined with mines and other high-tech devices along almost all of the so-called “Line of Control”, the de facto border between Indian- and Pakistani-administered 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 swallows up acres of fertile farmland in Jammu.
India announced prior to construction:
“India will send a team to Israel to learn from its experiences in erecting the security barrier along the West Bank and Gaza Strip to assess technologies that New Delhi could implement at its fence with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Home minister P Chidambaram, who had launched the fencing project in 1986, told a group of MPs this week that the government was exploring use of modern technology in border management and would send a team to Israel to assess technologies used there.”
India/Bangladesh ,India/Burma, India/Kashmir:
The India/Bangladeshi fence is 4,000-kilometres long and the India/Burma one 1,624-kilometres.
Both are being built to check smuggling, illegal immigration and possible infiltration by Islamist terrorists. The refugee crisis could also ensue should a climate catastrophe ravage South Asia.
In addition, India completed the construction of the Indian Kashmir barrier which runs along the Line of Control in Kashmir. The purpose of this barrier is to prevent infiltration by armed militants. Many Kashmiris both in Jammu and Kashmir are against the border barrier since Kashmir is a disputed territory.
The barrier is in place to curb the movement of pro-Taliban militants and members of Al Qaeda into Afghanistan along the 1,500-mile border.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that Pakistan was trying to “enslave the Afghans” with the fence. Opposition groups within Pakistan have said the fence would be “detrimental to the social and economic interests of the ethnic Pashtun tribes.”
The border fence is constructed of large earth and stone embankments, ditches, guard fortresses (3 feet thick, 10 feet high) this is to stop smuggling of drugs to Iran and fuel to Pakistan and to stop terror attacks
The length is 435 miles.
A land dispute led to the unilateral construction of a barbed wire fence by Uzbekistan to secure their border with Kyrgyzstan in 1999. The fence was constructed after Islamic terrorists from Kyrgyzstan were blamed for bomb attacks in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
The government of Botswana claims to have started building a ten-foot-high electric fence along its border with Zimbabwe to control the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. However, most Zimbabweans believe that the fence — 300-mile (480 km) long — really aims to stanch the immigration flow from troubled Zimbabwe into calmer Botswana.
Melilla and Ceuta:
Ceruta/Morroco and Melilla/Morocco : Border fences built by Spain with EU funding between Morocco and the Spanish city’s of Ceruta and Melilla on the north Moroccan coast to stop illegal immigration and smuggling.
The fences are 6 miles of 3 parallel 10 feet fences with barbed wire. Ninety miles of underground cable connect spotlights, noise and movement sensors, and video cameras to a central control booth.
They aim to stop the flow of illegal immigrants from Morocco.
United Arab Emirates/Oman: Oman & Yemen
All countries have 12 to 13ft wire electrified fences in an attempt to curb the flow of illegal migrants, illicit drugs and terrorists into the countries.
The Kuwait–Iraqbarrier is a 120-mile (190 km) border fence extending six miles (10 km) into Iraq, 3 miles (5 km) into Kuwait, and across the full length of their mutual border from Saudi Arabia to the Persian Gulf.
It was constructed by authorization of the United Nations Security Council, its stated purpose being to stop a re-invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.
The border barrier, made of electrified fencing and concertina wire, is braced by a 15-foot (4.6 m)-wide and 15-foot (4.6 m)-deep trench, complete with a 10-foot (3.0 m)-high dirt berm and guarded by hundreds of soldiers, several patrol boats, and helicopters. Construction of the barrier began in 1991.
In January 2004, Kuwait decided to install a new 217 km iron border barrier along the existing border. The stated needs were protecting the northern border, and preventing cars coming from Iraq from approaching the electricity bars.
The barrier cost an estimated 28 million dollars and extends from Umm Qasr until the joint border triangle where Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait meet.
This barrier was constructed by Saudi Arabia along part of its 1,800 kilometre border with Yemen. It is a structure made of pipeline three metres (10 ft) high, filled with concrete and supported on posts and fitted with electronic detection equipment.
The border fence cuts through mountains, deserts and sea borders will provide visibility and operational awareness to Saudi Border Guard by the use of cutting-edge technology which includes installation of sophisticated radar systems along the extensive border.
Designed to stop Al Qaeda attacks.
Saudi Arabia has 550-mile ( 885 kilometres)high-tech fence to seal off its troubled northern neighbour.
It is a barrier equipped with ultraviolet night-vision cameras, buried sensor cables and thousands of miles of barbed wire, will snake across the vast and remote desert frontier between the countries.
This combined with the Yemen barrier is the longest in the world.
There is not too much to be found about this border fence except that the border is disputed and it seems that Saudi Arabia has staked its claim!
Don’t think this is the first time a protection barrier has been in place in Israel.
Tegart’s Wall was a barbed wire fence erected in May-June 1938 by the British authorities on the northern border to keep militants from Syria and Lebanon from infiltrating to join the 1936–1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. It was described as an
“ingenious solution for handling terrorism in Palestine.”
The separation barrier, was built on the orders of Charles Tegart, the adviser to the government on the suppression of terrorism.
The barrier was strung along the entire Palestine frontier. It included a nine-foot barbed wire fence between Palestine and French-mandated Lebanon and Syria on the north and northeast.Before the fence was completed,
“a band of Arab terrorists swooped down on a section of the fence…ripped it up and carted it across the frontier into Lebanon.”
Five Tegart forts and twenty pillboxes were built along the route of the fence. Even so, the infiltrators easily overcame the fence and evaded mobile patrols along the frontier road.
The barrier angered local inhabitants on both sides of the border because it bisected pastures and private property. After the rebellion was suppressed in 1939, the wall was dismantled.
Israel is forced to act:
From September 2000 to mid-2005, hundreds of Palestinian suicide bombings and terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians killed more than 1,000 innocent people and wounded thousands of others.
In response, the Israeli government seeing how effective the security fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip had been at keeping out suicide bombers, decided to construct one that that would run near the “Green Line” between Israel and, Judaea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, to prevent Palestinian terrorists from easily infiltrating into Israel proper.
The project had the overwhelming support of the Israeli public and was deemed legal by Israel’s Supreme Court.
In 2003 the Israeli government started fencing off Judaea and Samaria.
The 500-mile anti-terrorist barrier has proved to be a huge success . A couple of years into building it showed that attacks had declined by as much as 90 % and the number of Israelis murdered and wounded had decreased dramatically.
Just 4% of the barrier is constructed of concrete, the rest is wire fencing. Yet the Leftists highlight the concrete part which was put in situ due to sniper fire and in the main is around Bethlehem.
Given what you have just read regarding other walls in the world, why then this from the International Court of Justice?
UN News Centre – link here
Where is the outcry regarding these other walls, fences and barriers?
I think we know the answer to that.
OH, and by the way, there are a few more ‘separation barriers’ in the world.
In conclusion the beautiful walls of the City of Jerusalem.