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Good Fences Create Good Comfort Zones

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There is a defined and marked border between the Unites States and Canada. To cross it one has to use a bridge or a tunnel. In the past there was free and easy entry between both nations.

When U.S citizens crossed into Canada they were not required to present a passport. One knew that a USA citizen is welcomed into Canada, because the Canadian guards allowed an easy entry. In general, the border guards, on the Canadian side, were not that friendly; they were not there to be nice or friendly but to do their job right. Same when one entered the USA from Canada. As one crosses the border from the USA into Canada, or vice versa, one sees the proudly displayed sign: "Welcome to Canada," or, "Welcome to the United States." The tunnel or bridge that defines the U.S-Canadian border prominently display American and Canadian flags, to mark the borders and one crosses, between the flags, to get to the either side.

The USA and Canada have never been at war, never been at odds and never shared a conflict, yet, there has always been a border fence between these two nations and no one ever complained about it; it was the norm. These two nations, however, share tourism, trade, respect and a free exchange of ideas and products for the mutual benefit of both nations.
Now, because of increased demands for stringent security measures, since June 2009, everyone from every country arriving in Canada by air, land and sea needs a passport to enter Canada.

Likewise, as of June 1st, 2009 all Canadians will need passports to enter the U.S. by land or water. This is in addition to air travel, which has required a passport since January 23, 2007.

With this law, the Canadian or USA border guards may be even less friendly. The fence hasn't changed, security concerns have.
Israel built a Security Fence to separate her from the land occupied by the Arabs, named the Palestinian Authority territory. Unlike the fence between Canada and the U.S, this fence was not built to allow free access between countries, with boasting border guards assigned to frighten anyone who would dare bringing, unnoticed, illegal drugs or any other unwelcome goods and devices across the border. Canadians and Americans are very good neighbors.

The purpose of the Security Fence Israel was compelled to erect was to separate, as much as possible, Jews from Arabs; it was designed, purely, to save life, many lives; it was built to protect Israeli citizens from the endless Arab terror attacks on them. Rather quickly the fence achieved its goal, by almost totally eliminating the free passage of terrorists, who, in the past, entered Israel with explosives strapped around their bodies and brought about death and destruction everywhere. Arab jihad against Jews was almost 100% curtailed.

The Security Fence was erected as a mean to protect Israeli men, women, and children from murder and chaos inflicted on them by their neighboring Arabs; it is a way to keep out the enemy's intent to kill Jews and destroy Jewish property. The fence makes it safer for Israeli youth to go dancing in clubs; it keeps the bar 'hopers,' the open market shoppers, the military personnel hitchhikers and the street strollers safe and unafraid that the next person coming at them will explode, thus will kill dozens and injure countless others.

The world points out that the Security Fence, mostly made of wire, not wall, Israel had erected is a bad fence and it makes bad Arab neighbors. But in truth, it is a very good fence, allowing Israeli citizens to live peacefully and almost without fear. It keeps bad neighbors away from good neighbors.

The United States had no fence with its neighboring Mexico, and that is rapidly changing because of extenuating security considerations and to halt illegal immigration. Yet, Mexico has a very strong fence on its southern border with Guatemala and Belize. In the past Mexico demanded free passage into the USA, while preventing passage into the country from its neighbors to its south.

The U.S unfenced border with Mexico resulted in drug smuggling, crime exporting, illegal immigration and much chaos and deterioration of security. There was no other way to prevent the evil from entering the U.S but building a fence. The U.S is in the process of completing building a border fence, along its border with Mexico, so it can prevent people with ill intent from entering the U.S. But like the Israeli Security Fence many judge and deem this fence to be a bad fence. Truth be said, this fence is a good fence for good people and a bad fence for bad people.

Could this 'bad' Mexican border fence on the U.S south border be one of the reasons why Canada now requires that those who cross its border with the U.S into Canada must present a passport, or is it the lack of such a fence that created fear with the U.S peaceful Canadians neighbors?

Clearly, the USA-Canada's border fence, the USA-Mexico border fence and the Israeli Security Fence, with its Arabs neighbors, simply prevent strangers with ill intentions from crossing into the bordering country to cause harm.

Is the U.S-Mexico a bad fence because it helps preventing the building of illicit smuggling tunnel? Is the Israeli Security Fence, bordering with the area where the Palestinians Authority people reside, is bad because it prevents the building of illicit smuggling tunnel? Where is the logic? After all, these are border fences many believe will prevent crime, terror and chaos.

Does any nation want such evil entering its Homeland? Have they ever? Surely not!

So what is a good fence and what is a bad fence?

Good fences create good comfort zones.

Such fence merely establishes marked borders. If there is no fence, than what is the benefit of having borders that are not marked, thus forced to be disrespected?

Good fences do not separate, rather draw together. They establish boundaries that are the cornerstone of a respected, safe, strong and healthy relationship between, whether it is countries or simply human beings. Fences, some high, some low, instate marked borders and dictate behavior.

The Israeli Security fence is a good fence for people who mean well and a bad fence for people who want to be able to cross it into Israeli territory, with ease, and blow up people on busses, in cafeterias, markets, restaurants and pizzerias, people at bus stops and the like. It is a bad fence for people with evil and ill intent.

The metaphorical poem "Mending Wall," by the American poet laureate Robert Frost is about one man questioning why he and his neighbor must rebuild the stone wall dividing their farms each spring. The neighbor builds the wall without question, quoting "Good fences make good neighbors but Frost's narrator questions the proverb, noting that neither his apple trees nor his neighbor's pine trees are likely to encroach on the other's property. He goes on to say, "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know, what I was walling in or walling out and to whom I was like to give offense.

There may be numerous interpretations of the phrase, "good fences make good neighbors." But in light of today's world, when terror is the news we read about each day, more than likely good fences do make good neighbors.

Maybe it is time the world acknowledges that Robert Frost was right and that in the not too far past the world was different and a far easier place in which to live, but no more.

Nurit Greenger sees Israel and the United States equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom and since 2006, has been writing about events in these two countries. Contact her by writing to nurit.4.nuritg@gmail.com

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