Despite the Democratic Party mantra that a barrier on our southern border with Mexico is a “14th-century solution,” and that it is “immoral,” Israel announced Sunday that it has begun strengthening its own Gaza Strip border with a massive new barrier (existing Gaza barrier shown).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the announcement just before the weekly meeting of his Cabinet that work had already begun, as of Thursday. “Over the weekend we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border.” Speaking in Hebrew, Netanyahu said that the 20-foot structure “will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground.”
In addition, the Israelis are also constructing an underground barrier, 40 miles in length, designed to reduce the threat of Gaza militants using tunnels to enter Israel.
Israel faces a serious threat from militants determined to exterminate the Jewish state, and it is doubtful that they would expend so much time and effort on a border barrier if such a project was better suited for the Late Middle Ages than the 21st century. And the argument that a border wall is “immoral” would most likely be met with derision by the Israeli government, as if protecting its citizens from an invasion could possibly be “immoral.”
Israel has fought three wars with the militant Hamas group since 2008. In the last war in Gaza, in 2014, members of Hamas had used the Mediterranean Sea to get into Israel. Because of that, the Israelis constructed a wall out into the sea to prevent future such incursions.
In light of the continued political opposition to the proposal of President Donald Trump to construct additional border barriers between the United States and Mexico, based on arguments that they don’t work, what Israel does to keep potential terrorists out of its country should provide a concrete example of just how effective a border wall can be. After all, Israel faces not just border crossings from job-seekers as America must regularly contend with, but they are trying to keep out trained terrorists — terrorists intent on killing and maiming Israeli civilians. One can safely surmise that these trained terrorists are better at sneaking into another country than a family of immigrants, and yet the border walls Israel uses are highly effective.
Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) told CNN Sunday that Israel’s border fences have been highly successful, arguing that Israel “had a real problem with illegal immigration coming in from the southern border, about 16,000 in one year. In two years, they constructed [a] 143-mile fence, about $2.9 million per mile, and it cut that illegal immigration rate from 16,000 to I think 18. Cut it by 99 percent.”
In fact, Israel, far from thinking border walls are ineffective, has built barriers along its borders with Egypt, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank. All have been very effective — in the 21st century.
Netanyahu has publicly supported President Trump’s use of a border wall to control illegal entry into the country. “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea.”
Certainly there are differences between Israel, a rather small country, and the United States, which shares a border with Mexico of almost 2,000 miles. But the United States has also constructed border walls already, such as the one south of San Diego, California. Its effectiveness is nearly 100 percent.
One problem in the wall discussion is that wall opponents often use the “straw man” argument. A straw man argument is citing an argument an opponent in a debate did not make — a weak argument — then arguing against that, instead of the opponent’s actual argument. No one argues that a wall by itself will stop border crossings. Wall proponents concede that it works best in conjunction with drones, sensors, and border guards. Yet, wall opponents deceitfully argue that the wall proponents think a wall by itself will stop all border crossings.
And the argument that a wall is “immoral” is largely nonsensical. Under that reasoning, the fence around the White House should be torn down, as should walls around the houses of celebrities, including the one owned by former President Barack Obama.
Article IV, Section 4 of the United States Constitution is quite clear: It is the obligation of the U.S. government to protect each state from “invasion.” This is not optional. At the present time, the U.S. government is willfully failing to live up to this constitutional obligation. As such, the U.S. government — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — should be looking for ways to do their duty.
Israel provides at least a partial example of how this can be done.
2009 photo of existing Israel/Gaza barrier: AP Images