Good fence makes “good” neighbors; good fences keep a country safer.
Ask Hungary that has just erected a razor-wire wall. Its purpose is to keep out refugees, mostly Moslem refugees, from flooding the country and Europe.
There is a defined and marked border between the U.S 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 countries. When U.S citizens crossed into Canada they were not required to present a passport and one knew one is welcomed into Canada because the guards allowed an easy entry. In general, the border guards on the Canadian side were not that friendly or welcoming; they were not there to be nice or friendly but to perform their job right.
As one crosses the border from the U.S into Canada one sees the proudly displayed sign: “Welcome to Canada.” The tunnel or bridge that defines the U.S-Canadian border prominently displays American and Canadian flags to mark the border and one passes between the two flags to get to the other side.
And the border closure is working, it has effectively stopped illegal border-crossing.
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 countries and no one ever complained. These two nations have, however, shared visitors, trade, respect and a free exchange of ideas and products for the mutual good of both nations.
Since 2009 with a new Canadian law in place, a passport is required in order to cross the border from the United States into Canada. With this law, the Canadian border guards may be even less friendly. The fence hasn’t changed; perhaps the Canadian neighboring did. Are American visitors less welcomed into Canada today? Perhaps.
Israel has surrounded herself with Security Fences, in the south with Sinai, Egypt and Gaza; in the north with Lebanon and now in the north-east, on the Golan Heights with Syria. Unlike the fence between Canada and the US, Israel did not build these fences to have control over free access between countries, with boasting border guards assigned to deter anyone who would dare try bringing across, unnoticed, illegal drugs or any other unwelcome goods.
The Security Fences Israel was compelled to erect are designed to save life, many lives; they are built to protect Israeli citizens from the endless Arab terror attacks. Rather quickly after the first fence was erected, it had 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. The fences also ended illegal human beings’ infiltration into Israel.
In the past, these Security Fences were erected as a means 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 Israel’s enemies’ intent on killing Jews and destroying their country. These fences make it safer for Israeli youths to go dancing in clubs; they keep the bar ‘hopper’, the open market shoppers and the street strollers safe and unafraid that the next person coming at them will explode in order to kill dozens and injure countless others.
The world may say that the Israeli Security Fences are bad fences and it makes bad Arab neighbors. But in truth, these are very good fences allowing Israeli citizens to live peacefully and almost without fear.
Now there is a phenomenon in Israel whereby the local Arabs, holding Israeli permanent residency or citizenship, have taken on new methods of attacking Jews, throwing rocks, fire bombs and stabbing with knives. Fences will not stop these Arabs from attacking Israeli-Jews.
Until very recently, the United States had no complete border fence with its neighboring country Mexico, but soon there will be one.
Mexico has a very strong fence on its southern border with Guatemala and Belize. In the past Mexico demanded free passage into the USA, a situation that has changed, while preventing passage from its neighbors to the south.
Thus far, the U.S open, unfenced border with Mexico resulted in drug smuggling, crime exporting, illegal immigration and much chaos. There is no other way to prevent the evil from entering the U.S but building an effective border fence. The U.S is in the process of completing building its border fence along its border with Mexico so it can prevent people with all kinds of ill intent from entering the U.S. Just as some people criticize the Security Fences in Israel some judge and deem the USA fence with Mexico to be a bad fence. Not for much longer. Truth be said, a fence is a good fence for good people and a bad fence for bad people.
Could this bad, easy to infiltrate USA border with Mexico, to the south, be the reason why Canada now requires that those who cross its southern border with the U.S must present a passport? Or is it the lack of such a fence that creates fear among peaceful US and Canadians neighbors?
Clearly, the USA-Canada border fence, the USA-Mexico border fence and the Israeli Security Fences with Arabs neighbors simply prevent strangers, with ill intent, from crossing into the bordering country to cause harm, to break the law.
Is the U.S-Mexico fence a bad fence because it also prevents the building of illicit smuggling tunnels? Are the Israeli Security Fences, bordering with hostile to Israel areas, bad because they prevent the building of illicit smuggling tunnels? Of course not. Logically and after all, these are border fences that have proved they prevent crime, terror and chaos.
Now we can add Europe into the mix. The European Union borderless idea is dead and erected razor-wire walls are a commodity in great demand in the enlightened European continent.
Does any nation want any evil and law breaker 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.
A fence is merely a demarcation of a border. If no demarcation fence then is there a border? Is there any benefit of having a border that is not respected?
Good fences separate and also 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 mark borders and dictate behavior; they keep the bad out and invite the good in.
Therefore, Israeli Security fences are good fences for people who mean well and are bad fences for people seeking to cross it with ease into Israeli territory and blow up buses, cafeterias, markets, pizzerias, people at bus stops and the like. It is a bad fence for people with ill intent.
The dilemma Israel faces today is that you cannot build a security fence around every Israeli. There is no way to stop an Arab passing by, an Arab riding a bus with you, an Arab neighbor, an Arab employee in your company, or an Arab who knocks on your door to deliver service from knifing or shooting you. There is no way to build a security wall that can stop incitement, or a wall that stops an ill intent Arab, who suddenly appears from somewhere and throws a fire bomb or a rock while you are driving on the highway. Here Israel requires invisible borders, perhaps God’s border.
The American poet laureate, Robert Frost, once said that “good fences make good neighbors.”
There may be numerous interpretations of the phrase, but in light of today’s world, more than likely good fences do make good neighbors. And I will add, good fences keep bad neighbors away. Maybe it’s time the world acknowledges that Robert Frost was right and that in the not too far past the world was different and a far more pleasant and easier place in which to live, but no more.
As for Israel, many times it is addressed as a “start-up, most innovative nation.” Would Israel be able to invent that good fence that will protect each one of her good citizens from those bad ones who are roving on her streets with intent to murder and cause mayhem, destruction and subvert the entire country?
We shall see, while the suffering in Israel is going on with no end in sight.