Sunday, February 14, 2010

New: Fence Along the Egyptian-Israeli Border

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

The government is expected to pass today (Sunday) a proposal to build a border fence between Israel and Egypt, at a cost of 1.5 billion shekels (roughly $400 million).The proposal was made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, based partially on a plan formulated by the office of Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch. The purpose is primarily to stop or impede the infiltration of illegal migrants into Israel from the Sinai.

Police estimate that some 100-200 infiltrators currently sneak into Israel from Africa in this manner every week – some looking for work, and the rest defined as “criminal elements” and refugees. In addition, in 2009, Israeli authorities confiscated 1.3 tons of hashish and 130 kilograms of heroin that smugglers were attempting to bring into Israel. Some 5,000 illegal migrants were caught trying to sneak across the border last year; the rest were not caught.

Minister Aharonovitch originally proposed the construction of a simple, low-cost fence along the roughly 200-kilometer-long border. However, the proposal to be voted on today has radar features replacing a physical partition along the middle sections.

“We hope the government will approve the proposal,” Aharonovitch aides said. “This is the first step in a large-scale plan that will deal with the criminal and security aspects of the entire area.”

The Chairman of the Foreign Workers Committee, MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), has long been calling for such a partition to prevent the flood of foreigners from Sinai, which “gravely harms the social-demographic balance in the country.”

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