Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Israel's Egypt barrier: Your emails

A selection of readers' emails on Israel's proposed new barrier along two parts of its border with Egypt: near the Red Sea city of Eilat and the Gaza Strip.

Emails from Israel, Egypt and Gaza

As an Israeli I have mixed feelings... We have an influx of illegal refugees, causing demographic problems etc, but on the other hand, these poor people are being murdered trying to cross into Israel by the Egyptians. These poor souls are Muslims, who are seeking refuge in the Jewish state, we here in Israel ask ourselves, where are all the rich Arab countries? Why don't they lend a hand to help their poor brothers?
Steve, Tel-Aviv, Israel

I think it's a very good plan, as that's the only way to maximize security and prevent smuggling weapons illegally. It will also stop other sorts of drugs from coming into Egypt and prevent Gaza men from attacking Egypt from the Strip, interfering with Egypt's land.
Youssef El Shaikh, Cairo, Egypt

Israel has absorbed many families from such places as Darfur and Somalia, and I help in organisations which award scholarships to immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia. I also help teach English to children of refugee families. However, Israel is a tiny country, so there are limits to what it can achieve in this direction. Therefore, if such a barrier can deter future attempts to enter or encourage larger neighbours to share responsibility for these unfortunate people, it will have served its purpose.
Geoff Menzer, Tel Aviv, Israel

Whilst any country needs to stem the flow of illegal immigrants, this barrier would not be ethical. These immigrants are fleeing the worst human rights abuses in the world, and must avoid the Egyptian police who indiscriminately kill them if caught (your article goes easy on the Egyptians - the Israeli papers report more on this). Whilst Israel cannot allow these people to stay indefinitely it should allow them ease of entry and then work with global agencies to settle them safely elsewhere.
Jason, Modiin, Israel

The impact of this border has consequences for Egypt, Gaza and Israel in equal measure. Mostly, it victimises innocent Palestinians in Gaza. If Israel and Egypt really wanted to "keep out" militants and illegal immigrants, it would remove the suffocating economic embargo that's collectively punishing the population. The idea that sealing borders, and thereby denying 1.5m people of basic freedom, is really going to tackle the problem of militant extremism is absurd. The damage that this is inflicting on Gaza's 800,000 children is going to take a very long time to reverse.
Hanaa Ageel, Gaza Strip

Ok as long as it is on Israeli soil. I only hope it doesn't make things worse for delivering aid and food to Gaza when it is under blockade
Shady Anwar, Cairo, Egypt

Emails from elsewhere

I have a large part of my family living in Israel. If this is a way to keep their citizens safe then it is a very good move. We cannot condemn a country for protecting their own. Better that than by violent means as other countries have done.
Carol Collier, London

The barrier is a positive step in reducing terrorism. The barrier built between the West Bank and Israel has proved extremely successful in this manner. This will have positive effects on the Palestinians in Gaza. Smuggling of weapons will be reduced and Israel and Egypt will increasingly allow those Gazans who just want to get on with their lives access to the supplies they need.
Ed, Rome, Italy

I am an Israeli citizen currently working in England. I have no objections to sealing the border with Egypt against potential terrorist threats but am exceedingly agitated at the actions of the Egyptian border police who shoot to kill what they consider to be illegal border crossings into Israel from their territory. I have met many of these illegals working in Israel and am proud that we have been able to offer them a home away from the poverty and physical abuse that they suffered in their respective homelands. These people have integrated well and made good and productive lives in Israel.
Avi Altman, Bracknell UK

It cannot escape notice that the proposed and ongoing barrier constructions surrounding Israel's frontiers on all sides threaten to turn the country into a fortress of military isolation. Does this protect the 'freedom' of Israelis or turn them into something else? Would these decisions have met with the approval of those Israelis who founded the nation?
Mark Harrington, Königsdorf, Germany

I am Israeli and yes, he is right to close the border. Israel has enough problems without illegal immigrants coming in. We don't have the infrastructure, money or jobs to deal with them. We are struggling to cope as it is. Legal migrant workers are a different issue, many are here already. Israel has serious security concerns and if illegal immigrants enter they could be anti-Israel and cause more terrorism.
Eve, London

I am of South American/Mexican heritage, and a citizen of the USA. At present, the federal government is still constructing a literal wall between Mexico and the US. Some of the same security and heavy equipment used to build it is also being used by Israel. In general, this US wall is still extremely porous, despite advanced surveillance technologies... Remember the Edgar Allen Poe story, Masque of the Red Death? Where the host of a castle invites friends behind thick walls in order to protect them from a deadly pestilence? They died anyway.
Eduardo Delanderos-Tierre, USA

Everyday Israel's existence is challenged by the Arabs and other groups, it is imperative for Israel to be pro-active and build structures that keep the bad elements out, it is one of the methods that will assure Israeli citizens of some form of safety. The corrupt regime of Egypt is incapable of routing out the bad elements in their society, add to this the African migrants from war torn countries with radical Islamic views. Israel is the only country with the will and mechanism to deal with modern day Islamic terrorism.
Kaliyug, USA

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