gaza egypt border 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Eyal Gabai, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, informed the
government last week that “as things stand,” he “cannot guarantee that the
anti-infiltration barrier on the border with Sinai will be constructed as
initially planned and completed by the original timetable.”
critically bad news in the most vital strategic sense.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the fence construction to block the
increasing influx of illegals from Africa who reach Egypt and then make their
way to the Israeli border. Work was to have started simultaneously at the
northern and southern ends and continued in a two-pronged fashion till the
The project was considered essential as illegals,
mostly Muslim, from Eritrea, Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Chad, the Ivory
Coast and elsewhere, are flocking toward Israel – the sub-Sahara’s veritable new
Promised Land for the past five years. The exodus out of Africa has now been
redirected to a new exit spout pouring into Israel.
Various human rights
organizations, which despite all evidence to the contrary, persist in calling
these economic migrants “Darfurian refugees,” oppose the construction. But,
other than them, a near-consensus exists in its favor.
months on, there is no sign of a fence.
Not even one completed meter.
Indeed, apart from negligible preliminary earth-moving in the Eilat sector,
there is no sign whatever that any work has been commenced.
isn’t financial. Sums were allocated via the Defense Ministry budget for the
purpose. So what’s holding things up? Interministerial squabbles, to judge from
a letter Gabai dispatched to the prime ministers and cabinet members. He accuses
the Defense Ministry of using funds set aside for the barrier to bankroll the
salaries of Israel Military Industries employees.
Gabai was charged by
the cabinet last March with following up fence-construction progress and
reporting back on it. The picture he now paints is one of unabashed lack of
cooperation by the defense establishment, if not outright sabotage.
requested that the Defense Ministry file its recommendations for modifications
in fence-location at various proposed tracts. The Defense Ministry instructed
its representatives not to so much as attend meetings on the subject. The reply
proffered to Gabai by Defense Ministry director-general Ehud Shani was that his
ministry won’t submit plans for the approval of outside forums and, if the
government insists, the ministry won’t carry out the project.
political tongues allege that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is antagonistic to the
project for the simple reason that “it’s not his baby.”
We frankly don’t
care about the blame-game. The bottom line is that this project is too important
to be disrupted by ministerial pettiness and petulance. The excuses are
irrelevant. If the Defense Ministry won’t play along, for whatever reason, the
project should be taken out of its jurisdiction.
The prime minister, who
initiated the project, has to assume ultimate responsibility. If necessary, the
budgets and operational auspices should be transferred to his office. In the end
the buck stops with him in any case. Hence it serves him not to be at the mercy
of bickering officials.
This is much too urgent an issue. Besides the
exponentially magnifying demographic dangers to the Jewish state, the
uncontrolled border beckons human-traffickers, drug-smugglers and gunrunners
aiding and abetting terror masterminds from Hamas to al-Qaida.
recent appeal, Eilat’s mayor warned that his city is “losing its identity.
Thousands of Africans swamp us and more stream in daily. Every sixth Eilati is
now an illegal African... Eilat is only the sign of things to come. These
illegals constitute the single greatest threat to Israel’s future as a Jewish
This country’s archives are overflowing with unimplemented
blueprints. Important, much-hyped plans – like Tel Aviv’s subway and light rail
systems – gather dust. But the Sinai barrier is more vital than projects that
impact our economy and quality of life. It is simply untenable that an urgent,
authorized, budgeted project is going nowhere, and that Israel’s southern border
remains inadequately protected in the face of a relentless illegal influx.