The shelling of Sderot highlights an interesting problem, one that nation-states try to forget: the absence of large-scale security. Historically, border areas are a trouble zone. Peace agreements have always been rare, and nations for the most part have always coexisted uneasily. Border skirmishes were common. On the positive side, borders in constant flux reflected the real-time balance of power. Neighboring states fought conflicts on small scales, mostly in border areas. Peace agreements changed that situation. Parties adhering to peace promises refrained from exploiting their current military advantages. Discontent and power disparities grew. When wars finally erupted, they tended to be total. Peace treaties, like other barriers to the natural course of events, suppressed many minor problems until they become one big problem. Total wars replaced continual skirmishes.

Nation-states hate to admit that peace treaties do not bring peace. States are built on the promise of safety for their citizens. City-states amalgamated into nation-states to be more secure, but ended up facing total wars which brewed beyond the walls of peace treaties. Modern states heralded the end of the era when every clan stood for itself and every man walked the street armed. States promised security in return for taxes. Sderot shows that promise is false.

Europe licked its wounds after two world wars, and the US is more attractive to Mexican laborers than to Mexican guerrillas, but most of the world’s borders are not safe. The borders between Iraq and Turkey, Iraq and Iran, Egypt and Sudan, Syria and Lebanon, Abu Dhabi and Oman, and Israel and Gaza are permeable to people and weapons. No wonder the Israeli border is also permeable to rockets.
Border areas have always been lawless. Rome established the pax Romana throughout the civilized world, but Cicero notes that it was a rare person who ventured into the Roman suburbs for fear of being robbed and killed. The countries the West arrogantly calls “failed states” are the historical norm. It was unusual for a central power to establish itself in border areas. The mighty Soviet Union exercised next to no control over its Asian and Far East border zones, and America cannot secure its borders with Mexico and Canada. Most states cannot rein in their fringe groups and guerrillas; those who can are a totalitarian aberration and don’t exist for long, since they invariably suppress political opposition along with the guerrillas. Whether Israel reaches a peace agreement with the Palestinians or not, some of them will continue their terrorism. The Israeli government presents a peace treaty as a panacea, forgetting that Israel recently sustained terror attacks even from Egypt, a country at peace with Israel and with a strong security apparatus.

Carpet-bombing Palestine would solve the problem of terrorism only temporarily. The 1948 war inflicted on Arabs no less suffering than wide-area bombing would have done, but the Palestinians soon returned to terrorism.

Smart states settled their border areas with retired legionnaires or militant pioneers; stupid Israel settled them with welfare recipients. Instead of dismantling the settlements, Israel should line her borders with colonies and give the Jews there carte blanche for countering Arab terrorists, with punishing raids, if need be.

Israel only needs to arm the settlers and turn a blind eye to their actions.