Sunday, May 6, 2007

Few things have damaged Israel's international reputation more than the security barrier it has been constructing to prevent Palestinian terrorist crossing into its territory and commiting outrages against innocent civilians. Invariably — and inaccurately — portrayed as a wall ('The Apartheid Wall'), the barrier has been pillored in the media almost everywhere. I've written at some length about this issue on an earlier blog, so I won't repeat myself here. One of the points I made in that blog was that, although the Israeli barrier is portrayed as egregious, even unique, it is, in fact, just one of many similar barriers around the world. Human rights activists protest about the Israeli barrier, however, yet remain silent about fences and walls that are longer, higher, and, in some cases, deadly. We need to protest this for its imbalance. By a great irony, the Guardian recently published a map of security fences round the world. It won't reproduce easily, so I have tabulated the basic data, which I reproduce below as a resource for anyone who has to talk about this issue.

Security fences or barriers to peace?
Information taken from a map published in The Guardian 24 April 2007

(Reformulated Denis MacEoin 4 May 2007)

US/Mexico Proposed. 3,360km. Several barriers already exist with Mexico (California, Texas, Arizona). This would cover the entire border. Anti-immigration.

Belfast, N. Ireland. Built early 1970s. Average 500m. Number around 40. Anti-terror.

Padua, Italy 2006. 85m. 3m-high, round mainly African Anelli estate. Internal.

Ceuta, Morocco 2001. 8km. €30m. EU-funded. Anti-immigration.

Mellila, Morocco 1998. 11km. Anti-immigration

Morocco/Western Sahara 1987. 2,700km. To keep out W. Saharan (Polisario) insurgents

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt 2005. 20km. Anti-terror

Botswana/Zimbabwe 2003. 500km. Anti-immigration.

South Africa/Mozambique 1975. 120km. Anti-immigration. Carries 3,300 volts. Has killed more people than Berlin Wall

Israel/West Bank Under construction. 703km. Anti-terror.

Adhamiyya, Iraq 2007. 5km. Anti-terror.

Cyprus 1974. 300km. Conflict zone barrier.

Kuwait/Iraq 1991. 193km. Conflict zone barrier.

Saudi Arabia/Yemen 2004. 75km. Anti-terror.

United Arab Emirates/Oman 2007. 410km. Anti-immigration.

Russia/Chechnya Proposed. 700 km. Anti-terror

Kashmir 2004. 550km. Anti-terror (India).

Pakistan/Afghanistan Proposed. 2,400km. Anti-terror (Pakistan).

Uzbekistan/Kyrgyzstan 1999. 870km. Conflict zone.

China/North Korea 2006. 1,416km. Conflict zone.

Korea Demilitarized Zone 1953. 248km. Av. 4 km wide. Patrolled by 2 million soldiers. Most heavily border in world. Conflict zone.

China/Hong Kong 1999. 32km. Internal barrier.

China/Macau 1999. 340km. Internal barrier.

Brunei/Limbang 2005. 20km. Anti-immigration.

Thailand/Malaysia Proposed. 650km. Anti-immigration.

India/Bangladesh Under construction. 3,268km. Conflict zone.

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