Israel to build massive fence on southern border

Abutting Jordan, barrier to be erected alongside new Eilat airport; PM says it will ‘serve Israel’s security interests’

A section of the  border fence between Israel and Egypt, January 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)
A section of the border fence between Israel and Egypt, January 2012. (Moshe Milner/GPO/Flash90)

The Israeli government green-lighted a proposal Sunday to build a security fence along the Jordanian border that will extend from the southern resort town of Eilat past a new international airport under construction in the vicinity.

Spearheaded by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the barrier will extend 30 kilometers northward from Israel’s southern tip and will be built for security reasons, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Monday.

The barricade, which will be constructed entirely within Israeli territory, was authorized by the security cabinet on Sunday.

Netanyahu called the proposed 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 that is 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 step also joins the fence that we built on our border on the Golan Heights,” he said.

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

Still under construction, Timna international airport will serve as a diversion airport to Israel’s principal hub, Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv.

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

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