Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overlooks site of work on eastern security fence.
(photo credit: CHAIM TZACH/GPO)
A day after opposition leader Isaac Herzog called on the government to take in Syrian refugees, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went South to launch construction of the next section of a multibillion shekel security fence along the border with Jordan aimed at preventing infiltration from the east.
Since returning to power in 2009, Netanyahu oversaw the construction of a similar fence from Kerem Shalom to Eilat along the Sinai border, as well as an enhanced security fence on the Golan Heights.
“We are beginning today the construction of a security fence on our eastern border, as a continuation of the security fence that we built on the border with Egypt, and which will join up in the end with the security fence that we built on the Golan Heights,” he said, accompanied by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz.
Netanyahu said the world today is witnessing what happens when countries lose control of their borders. He said the combination of brutal terrorism, which is spreading along Israel’s borders, as well as illegal migrant workers makes it imperative for Israel to have control over all of its borders.
“That is what we are doing in practical terms,” he said.
The prime minister said the aim of the fence is to replicate what was done on the Egyptian border, where the completion of the security fence has for all intents and purposes stopped the flood of illegal migrants into the country. That, he said, was an achievement few countries in the world have replicated.
Reiterating what he said earlier in the day at the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the construction of the fence does not mean Israel is unsympathetic or indifferent to the dimensions of the human tragedy around it.
“Israel was the first country that gave humanitarian aid to those wounded in the fighting in Syria,” he said.
He adding that Israel also gives aid to African countries, and it intends to increase that with the help of other countries in an effort to deal with the economic crisis in those areas spawning the flood of migrants looking for work.
Work began Sunday on the first stretch of the eastern border, a 30-kilometer expanse from Eilat to Timna, which is designed to protect the airport being built there. The government has already allocated NIS 280 million for that part of the fence, which is scheduled to be completed in just over a year.
“We are doing this without harming, in any way, the sovereignty of Jordan, which we respect and whom we see as a partner in preserving a peaceful border,” Netanyahu said.