Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LISA HNATOWICZ
Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LISA HNATOWICZ

An important lesson from the spread of Covid-19 is that we are interconnected beings who require fewer walls and a greater appreciation of our common humanity. It reminds us that unless everybody is safe, nobody is safe. 

As history teaches us walls — from the great one in China to the Berlin version — are no panacea; in fact, they represent the very opposite. Thus, SA’s misadventure in pursuing this option, or that of  Donald Trump’s Mexican wall, are misguided, populist and will court failure.

Alan Wolman’s attempt to defend the Israeli apartheid wall (“Border fence safety”, March 23) using the SA and Mexican versions is thus perverse, aside from it being a false analogy. Hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians breach the wall every day to seek employment in Israel, with no threat to security.

Imagine the SA wall snaking into Zimbabwe, displacing entire communities, separating families and people from their land, and children from their schools, and then our country claiming that land as its own. Herein lies the difference: the walls intended by SA or Trump would be built on their internationally recognised borders, and within the respective countries. 

Israel’s wall violates international law by being built on Palestinian land, robbing them of freedom of movement or access to their land. Nobody would object to this wall being built on Israeli land instead of being a tool of annexation under the guise of security. It is no surprise then that both the UN and the International Court of Justice have found the Israeli apartheid wall to be illegal.

Rather than building walls we should seek just, peaceful and lasting solutions to political problems. In Israel-Palestine this is simple: end the Israeli occupation, grant Palestinians equal rights in Israel, and permit Palestinian refugees the right to return.

Shuaib Manjra
Cape Town