India announced Monday that a 340 mile long electrified fence, being constructed along the line of control in Kashmir that separates Indian and Pakistani forces, will be ready by summer.
There are some interesting parallels with Israel's current security fence, being constructed on or near the green line separating Israel and the West Bank territories. Pakistan claims the Indian fence violates bilateral agreements and UN resolutions. India says the fence is necessary to keep out rebel extremists from Pakistan, who want to seize the Indian portion of Kashmir, and merge it into Pakistan. In several wars and numerous skirmishes over more than 50 years between the two countries , over 65,000 people have been killed in fighting in Kashmir.
The Indian justification for the fence is identical to Israel's: to stop terrorists from crossing and causing murder and mayhem. With both fences, there is territory in dispute between two sides to a conflict. The two sides in each conflict do not agree on where the actual or eventual border is, will be, or should be.
There are, however, some differences between the two situations. For example, India's fence is electrified while Israel's is not.
But the really significant difference is that other than Pakistan, no one in the international community has raised a peep about India's fence, which is much further along toward completion than Israel's. The Indian section of Kashmir is predominantly Muslim and is the only predominantly Muslim state in India. All of Kashmir is claimed by Pakistan. Despite this, other Muslim nations do not seem to be too excited about this fence. No UN Security Council action has been considered against India's fence. No General Assembly action has taken the fence dispute to the International Court for a judgment on its legality.
The international community either does not care about India's fence or understands its rationale. Maybe the international community even sees it as a way to reduce the level of violence along the border area between the two countries.
Similar reasons could be found, if one were fair—minded, in support of Israel's fence. But fairness is not a component of any international consideration of Israel. Israel faces the sort of tribunal at the UN or in the International Court (and other world bodies) that black men might have experienced in a Southern courtroom in the 1930s.
There is Israel, and then there are the 57 members of the Conference of Islamic nations. Forty percent of all UN actions ever taken against a member state have been directed at Israel, an obscene historical fact. Has Israel been responsible for 40% of all that has gone wrong in the world the last 55 years?
Israel knows how the UN operates and so do most Americans, which is why in every poll, a great majority of Americans are not willing to trust their security to the will of the UN or any other international group.
When you hear any candidate this election year talk about giving more authority to the UN, or working more through the UN and international bodies, think about Israel and what this "trust in the UN" suggests about that candidate's sense of reality and fair play, and the strength of his commitment to Israel.