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Israel to build fence on border with Jordan

AFP / Pool / Atef Safadi I Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on June 28, 2015

Israel’s security cabinet has approved extending a security barrier to part of its eastern border with Jordan in a bid to keep out militants and illegal migrants, the prime minister's office said Monday.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the barrier was a continuation of the one built along the Egyptian border in 2013, which runs from the Palestinian Gaza Strip to the southern Red Sea resort of Eilat and has "blocked the entry of illegal migrants into Israel and the various terrorist movements".

UN figures have shown Israel is home to about 53,000 African refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom entered the country illegally through the border with Egypt.

But the Netanyahu government worries that African immigrants and armed jihadi infiltrators might now try to reach Israel via Jordan.

The new 30-kilometre (19-mile) barrier will run northward from Eilat along a now often porous Jordanian border, stopping at the site of a new airport at Timna due to open next year.

Netanyahu said the fence would help protect the new airport, which has been billed as a wartime alternative should Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport come under rocket attack.

“This is an important matter. It is part of our national security,” Netanyahu said.

Surrounded by steel and concrete

Netanyahu's office stressed that Israel was in contact with Jordan over the fence, which will be built solely on Israeli soil “without in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan”.

A fence along the Jordan frontier would leave Israel surrounded by a steel and concrete ring.

The country has already built hi-tech fences in the north on the Lebanon border and along the Golan Heights boundary with Syria. Much of the West Bank is also divided by a network of fences, barriers and walls, while the Gaza Strip is closed off behind high fences and walls.

Israel also has a separation barrier that runs through the occupied West Bank, which it began building during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which lasted from 2000-2005.


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