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Peace on the Fence? Israel’s Security Culture and the Separation Fence to the West Bank

Simon Falke


This article examines the role of the separation fence as a metaphorical reflection within Israeli society. Two points of view examined are the construction of the separation fence and the historical idea of separation. Since the founding of Israel, the goal of the political maxim has been to construct internationally approved borderlines. Starting from a historical perspective and continuing to modern day, the development and establishment of various differentiation concepts, the latest in the form of a separation fence, are represented within Israeli society. The search for a boundary and security is questioned as a possible psychological and social bonding component of Israel. Different approaches to the design of the state border are subjected to the sociology of space, as understood in a short analysis by George Simmel. The construction of the separation fence is the political implementation of the Delimitation Theories. Questions regarding recognized borders, security in the country, and the determination of the Palestinian population’s identity are fundamental for Israeli society. The separation fence is the physical expression of these perceptions. Fear, as a collective theme, plays an important role in this debate, and the prospect of a future boundary is a step closer to positively influencing social sense. The need for Israeli security is linked to the search for identity and cohesion. Separation is also linked to Israeli identity, an identity that functions as a basic cohesion of Israeli society. The separation fence can serve as a solution to the historic, territorial conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. However, the separation fence provides no possible solutions for global changes in the Middle East. Against the background of the American withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the regional rise of Iran the purpose and function of the separation fence is, and remains, determined solely by Israeli society.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229