Officials try to plug fence budget hole

Gov't grants Defense Ministry NIS 1.3 instead of 1.8; decision could mean 66 km less built in 2008.

October 18, 2007 02:53
1 minute read.
Officials try to plug fence budget hole

security fence 224.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Security and government officials met Wednesday night, seeking to fill a half-billion-shekel hole in the security barrier budget for 2008. Although the Defense Ministry had asked for NIS 1.8 billion in funding, the government has set aside NIS 1.3b. in the draft 2008 state budget. At a cost of approximately NIS 9 million per kilometer, the reduced sum would allow the construction of only 144 kilometers in 2008, as opposed to the 200 kilometers that could be built with the higher sum. To date, 450 km. of the barrier's planned 790 km. have been completed, with around 50 more due to be finished by the end of this year, according to the Defense Ministry. Neither sum would allow the ministry to finish the project by the end of 2008. With a budget of NIS 1.3b. for next year, 146 kilometers of the barrier would be left for completion in 2009. If the 2008 budget turns out to be NIS 1.8b., then around 90 kilometers would be left for 2009. Over the summer, the Defense Ministry told The Jerusalem Post that the project might not be completed until 2010. On Tuesday night, Prime Minister's Office director-general Ra'anan Dinur held a meeting with defense and Treasury officials on the matter. It was agreed that representatives from all three offices would join a temporary committee to seek ways to bridge the monetary gap.

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