When the security fence along the border with Egypt is complete, a fence will
also be built along the border with Jordan, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
announced Sunday in a Likud ministerial meeting.
The move is intended to
curb migrant workers and refugees from Africa from arriving in
Israel.RELATED:Yishai: Every African 'infiltrator' will return
homeAuthorities see big rise in African
December broke a new record for the number of “infiltrators” who
crossed into Israel illegally by way of the Sinai Peninsula, the Population,
Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) said on Sunday.
PIBA, 2,931 migrants illegally entered Israel in the final month of 2011, part
of a total of 16,816 who entered Israel over the course of the year, according
to PIBA figures.
In a report issued in December 2011, the authority
stated that there were a grand total of 51,125 “infiltrators” in Israel as of
November 25, 2011. Of these, 28,205 are from Eritrea, 13,066 from Sudan and
9,855 from elsewhere in Africa.
The prime minister expressed concern that
when the security fence is completed along the Egyptian border, Eritrean and
Sudanese refugees and migrant workers who enter Israel today through Sinai will
take a detour and will instead come into Israel from the Jordanian
The cabinet unanimously approved Netanyahu’s plan to prevent their
entry. The plan, which will cost NIS 630 million, will be financed by a two
percent cut in all government ministries.
Also on Sunday, PIBA said that
after an assessment was made by the Foreign Ministry, they have come to the
conclusion that Israel can begin working to return those citizens of the Ivory
Coast currently residing in Israel. Though it did not say exactly how many are
in Israel, they are among the nearly 10,000 mainly west Africans and Congolese
in the country.
According to PIBA, the Foreign Ministry has ruled that
the situation in the Ivory Coast can not currently be seen as one of civil war
due to the improved security situation in the country, and that steps can be
taken to begin returning Ivory Coasters home.
As a result of the
decision, beginning January 1, Ivory Coasters will no longer be allowed to
temporarily reside in Israel legally.
They added that they are calling on
all residents of the Ivory Coast to return voluntarily to their home
Defense officials said that the increase in infiltrations in
recent months was understood to be part of an effort by African migrants
interested in reaching Israel before the fence is completed. None of the
infiltrations have taken place where there is a fence and the IDF recently sent
troops from the Golani and Givati Infantry Brigades to try and climb the
five-meter fence and they failed.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.