News & Politics

Netanyahu: 'Trump is Right on Border Wall'

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stands with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, left, as he speaks during a visit to an army base near the Gush Etzion bloc of Jewish settlements in the West Bank Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Netanyahu pledged to keep up Israel’s tough hand against Palestinians attackers. (Emil Salman/Pool via AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu weighed in on the controversy over Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the southern U.S. border, saying that “Trump was right” to build it because the concept had worked in Israel.

The Israeli wall reference by the prime minister is a 150-mile barricade that extends from Eilat to Gaza adjacent to the country’s border with Egypt. It was completed in 2014, and has been attributed with drastically reducing the number of migrants who attempt to enter Israel from Africa. That statistic shrank from hundreds per month to only 213 during all of 2015, according to Jewish News Service, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said recently that new fortifications to the fence “significantly curbed the flow of illegal infiltration into Israel, with only 11 successful attempts to cross the fence throughout 2016.”

Israel maintains another wall along its border with the Palestinian Authority, the likes of which has restricted for decades the freedom of nearly 2 million Palestinians confined to the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Trump has vowed to order the construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in a bid to curb the influx of illegal immigrants, notwithstanding objection from Democratic politicians, human rights advocates and his Mexican counterpart.

Another example of a successful border wall is in Hungary, where nearly 7,000 refugees a day were crossing into the country until the wall was built. Afterwards, that number dropped into the hundreds.

All told, 65 countries have some kind of barrier along their border. It’s debatable how many of those barriers actually work as intended.

The limits of their effectiveness are visible everywhere – not least, with the migrants and refugees sitting on top of the fence along the border with Morocco and the small Spanish enclave of Mellila, on the North African coast.

Even the fearsome Berlin Wall with its trigger-happy sentries still leaked thousands of refugees even in its most forbidding years.

While there will be no U.S. guards shooting at border jumpers, for some, Trump’s wall will not pose much of a problem at all.

But they do little to address the roots of insecurity and migration – global asylum applications and terrorist attacks have risen hugely despite the flurry of wall-building.

Rather, they just force groups to adapt.

They are mostly effective against the poorest and most desperate, says Reece Jones, a University of Hawaii professor and author of ‘Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel’.

‘Well-funded drug cartels and terrorist groups are not affected by walls at all because they have the resources to enter by safer methods, most likely using fake documents,’ he said.

Shutting down border crossings only ‘funnels immigrants to more dangerous routes through the deserts of the US southwest or on rickety boats across the Mediterranean.

‘The substantial increase in deaths at borders is the predictable result,’ said Jones.

In 2014, there were nearly 700,o00 apprehensions of illegals in the U.S.. There is little doubt that a wall would cause that number to drop significantly. But those we really want to keep out — terrorists, drug smugglers, other criminals — are likely to find another way to enter the U.S. besides coming over our southern border.

And perhaps expectations for what a wall can do for our security have been raised too high. Whatever you may think of the idea of a wall along our border, it’s not going to solve our illegal-alien problem. That’s going to require a regional solution with Mexico, as well asthe nations of Central America coming to grips with their economic and social problems that put pressure on people to leave those countries in the first place.