Abstract: This article tries to analyze the multiple aspects of separation barriers built by Israel since its inception in 1948, and evaluate their effectiveness in order to show whether such a policy makes Israel more secure. Even if each modern Israeli barrier has been built in a specific context, their goals overlap. Security concerns, perpetuation of Israel's occupation and annexation of more Palestinian lands remain the cornerstones of this philosophy. According to geographic location, these barriers can be divided into three categories: Separation Barriers in Occupied Territory; barriers as de facto borders between Israel and Arab countries; and Israeli Military Barriers on other occupied Arab territories.
Since its inception in 1948, Israel has established barriers of varying structures and effectiveness between populations of Jewish Israelis, and its Arab neighbors. This policy has been a constant element of Israel’s security doctrine, rooted in Zionist thought from the beginning. Writing of Palestine, the father of modern political Zionism Theodor Herzl, wrote in his book A Jewish State, that “we should there form a portion of the rampart of Europe against Asia, an outpost of civilization as opposed to barbarism.” Uri Avnery, an Israeli peace activist and journalist, argues that more than a hundred years later, Ariel Sharon's wall expresses exactly the same outlook; separating ‘civilization’ from its ‘others.’ The idea of building a separation wall in Palestine dates back to 1923, when Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of the most influential Zionist leaders and the ideological father of today’s Likud Party, published two essays entitled “The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World” and “The Ethics of the Iron Wall” in which he defended the idea of establishing a metaphorical, and in many ways physical, ‘iron wall, between the populations, declaring that “Settlement can only develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall which they will be powerless to break down...” At the time, Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ doctrine was not adopted by a Zionist movement which instead sought a solution through the expulsion and displacement of native Arab Palestinians.
Though each modern Israeli barrier has been built in its own specific context, the goals of each project of separation overlap, and in fact form part of a policy of Israeli walls and fences derived from a single Zionist philosophy. This has translated into a state with perpetual security concerns, a lasting occupation, and the annexation of more Palestinian lands. Regardless of international resolutions recognizing the existence of the “Jewish state” within the so-called 1949 Armistice lines, the way and the context in which Israel was created and expanded has left it in an abnormal and hostile situation. Even if most Arab countries recognize, at least implicitly, the State of Israel, their peoples have never accepted a normalization of relations with the “Jewish State” as an embodiment of principals that include a continuation of practices that are at root separating ‘civilization’ from its ‘others.’ So much at the root of the state and its hostile predicament, it can be said that the separation barrier policy reflects to some extent the constant fear in which Israel lives.
This paper analyzes the multiple aspects of Israel’s policy of separation, and evaluates the effectiveness of its contemporary methods in order to determine whether or not such a policy makes Israel more secure. It begins by identifying three categories of barriers based on their geographic location: separation barriers in the occupied Palestinian territories (barriers separating Israelis from Palestinians and barriers separating Palestinians from each other); barriers as de facto borders between Israel and Arab countries; and Israeli military barriers in other occupied Arab territories (in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Syrian Golan Heights).
 See for example Uri Avnery’s critical articles on Israeli separation walls.
 Also translated as “The State of the Jews” published 1896, Leipzig and Vienna.
 Theodor Herzl, A Jewish State (New York: Maccabean Publishing Co., 1904), p.28.
 Uri Avnery, “First of All - the Wall must Fall”, Gush Shalom, August 30, 2003.
 It was originally published in Russian in Rassvyet, Berlin (November 4, 1923), and later translated and published in English in The Jewish Herald, South Africa (November 26, 1937).
 Originally published in Russian in Rassvyet, Paris (November 11, 1923), and later translated and published in English in The Jewish Standard, London (September 5, 1941).