Monday, December 31, 2007

"Peaceful borders" are dangerous

Guy Bechor

We are used to automatically speak favorably of “borders of peace,” for example the ones with Egypt and Jordan, as well as the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Meanwhile, we speak negatively of wartime borders, such as our northern border with Lebanon. However, the border paradox is much more complex than that: We should in fact direct much attention and be more concerned about our “peaceful borders.” A peaceful border constitutes a threat, because through it we see the infiltration of illegal immigration, which changes demographic realities, as well as drugs, prostitutes, and weapons, mostly directed to criminal elements. These are the borders that allow the third world to pour into the developed world. For example, look at the scope of Palestinian immigration to Israel, which was coupled with the granting of citizenship, during the Oslo years.

When the difference in gross domestic product between Israel and its neighbors is 20-fold and even more than that, the movement will always be one-way. The United States and Mexico also have peaceful borders, so why are the Americans building sky-high fences there? Because these borders separate the developing world from the third world.

This insight raises an interesting question: Would Israel be able to maintain its existence as a Jewish State in a situation of peace and open borders? I find it hard to believe.

To this day, the construction of our fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians has not been completed. We haven’t truly benefited from it, because it has always been breached in one area or another. Now we are told that the fence would not be completed, because the government budget allotted to it has been cut. This is terrible, because today we already see many Palestinians immigrating to Israel while circumventing the fence.

In Israel, and our police know this very well, there are currently tens of thousands of Palestinian illegal aliens, as if we never had an Intifada and went 10 years back in time. What’s the point in constructing a fence if we fail to complete it? This is not only a security issue, but rather, also an economic and demographic issue. This is about the survivability of Israel’s Jewish society.

In the south we have another threatening “border of peace,” with Egypt, which is almost completely breached. Weapons, explosives, drugs, prostitutes, and illegal immigration pass through it almost freely. Meanwhile, the inflow of African jobseekers continues unabated, and every night the IDF encounters more people looking for jobs and a new country to move to.

While the situation in Darfur is increasingly stabilizing, Israel has turned into a preferred immigration destination, and not only from there. The news has spread, and the masses are arriving from across Africa. And why shouldn’t they come? Egyptian troops fire at them on occasion, but this will not deter them. Israel does not expel them, but rather, imprisons them, and many are already working in Israel, particularly in Eilat hotels, and telling their relatives about the heaven that had opened up to them.

There is an urgent need to seal the border between us and Egypt with a fence, and immediately complete the separation fence vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Whatever we fail to do today shall come to haunt us tomorrow and for a long time to come. Based on the rules of the Middle East, and we must always keep this in mind, borders of peace always constitute a serious threat.


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