Sunday, October 01, 2006

Border Fences

Two related stories popped up over the weekend. The BBC (and everyone else) is reporting on the bill passed in the US Senate to build a border fence between the US and Mexico. The aim is to keep out illegal immigrants.

The Telegraph is reporting that Saudi Arabia is planning to build a similar fence between itself and Iraq, the aim is to keep out terrorists and other undesirables.

Of course, you can probably guess where I'm going with this. These fences are almost identical to Israel's border fence. They are all designed to keep out non-citizens that the citizens do not want to get in. They are all unilateral initiatives (something which is apparently intrinsically wrong). They all involve (for the most part) wire fences and electronic surveillance.

There is one difference between them though. America's fence is to keep out illegal immigrants, and Saudi Arabia's fence is to keep out smugglers and insurgents. Israel's fence was to keep out suicide bombers who would imminently kill people on buses and in cafes.

So, will the UN and the ICJ condemn these fences, or is that reserved for Israel alone in its defence against terrorists?