Israel starts massive fence on southern border with Jordan
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Israel starts massive fence on southern border with Jordan

$77 million barrier will run from the southern resort town of Eilat to new airport under construction in Timna Valley

Raoul Wootliff is the The Times of Israel's political correspondent.

  • A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016 (Defense Ministry)
    A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016 (Defense Ministry)
  • A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
    A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
  • A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
    A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
  • A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
    A section of the Israel-Jordan security fence, constructed in January 2016. (Ministry of Defense)

Israel has begun work on a long security fence along its border with Jordan, the only one of its internationally recognized frontiers currently without a physical barrier.

A team from the Defense Ministry’s Engineering and Construction Department began laying down the first kilometers of the security fence along the border this week, according to a ministry statement.

In accordance with a 2015 government decision, approximately 30 kilometers (18 miles) of fence will be built, from the southernmost resort town of Eilat and running beyond a new international airport currently under construction in the Timna Valley. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, and will cost approximately NIS 300 million ($77 million), which will be drawn from the Defense Ministry budget.

When the proposal was passed in June last year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the fence a “national security” interest, and compared it to similar barriers that exist along Israel’s borders with Egypt and Syria.

“We made a very important decision to continue a section of fence along our southern border, this time from Eilat, 30 kilometers north past the Timna airport under construction,” Netanyahu said.

“It is part of our national security. It joins the fence that we built along the length of our border with Sinai, which blocked the entry of illegal migrants into Israel and – of course – the various terrorist movements. This move also joins the fence that we have built along our border on the Golan Heights,” he added.

The project is being spearheaded by Brigadier General Eran Ofir, who managed the development of security fences on the Egyptian border and the Golan Heights, and like those barriers, the project includes roads, observation towers and other security facilities.

The newly erected border fence between Israel and Egypt is credited with dramatically reducing the number of African migrants who enter the country illegally from the Sinai Peninsula. January 02, 2012. (photo credit: Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)
A section of newly erected border fence between Israel and Egypt, January 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

In 2013, Israel completed a five-meter-high barbed wire fence along its border with the Sinai, seeking to prevent terror groups, drug smugglers and African migrants from infiltrating Israeli territory from the restive peninsula.

Israel has constructed security barriers along all of its internationally recognized frontiers, except for the 240-kilometer border with Jordan, which sits mostly in porous desert terrain and in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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