Border Walls and Border Security Around the World
In 2002, Israel began construction on the "Separation Barrier," a 26-foot (41-kilometer) high concrete wall in the West Bank. The entire wall is planned to run over 400 miles (643 kilometers). Many Israelis believe the wall has saved lives. For Palestinians, it has meant towns completely divided, and agricultural lands destroyed. Palestinians refer to it as the "Apartheid Wall" and claim the wall violates international law and human rights as determined by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Israel is also constructing a wall along the border with Egypt.
The United States military has been strategically building walls in Iraq throughout the occupation that began in 2003. However, a wall constructed in 2007 around the Sunni neighborhood Adhamiyah has drawn much criticism from Sunnis, Shiites, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. While the military hopes to quell sectarian violence, many residents see the wall as "punishment" and believe that it will increase violence.
The number of border walls continues to grow. Iran is erecting a 700-kilometer (435 mile) wall along its border with Pakistan. India has constructed fences along its border with Pakistan, and plans a fence along the nearly 5,000-kilometer border with Bangladesh, as well as a 767-kilometer (476-mile) fence along Jammu and Kashmir. Outside the Middle East, Malaysia and Thailand have been building a wall along their shared border to deter illegal workers, smugglers, and terrorists. In South America, Brazil is building a 3-meter ( 10-foot) high wall along its Paraguayan border, near the city of Foz de Iguaçu, to deter smugglers from entering the country illegally.