Israel plans to rebuild 40 kilometers of its 470-kilometer West Bank security barrier in the northern Samaria area by replacing the wire fencing with nine-meter-high concrete blocks.
The security cabinet approved the reconstruction and a NIS 360 million initial budget on Sunday in the aftermath of two terror attacks in Bnei Brak and Tel Aviv that claimed eight lives.
The new barrier will run from the Salem area to the Bat Hefer region. It "will be comprised of concrete, protective equipment, and additional technological components," the Defense Ministry said adding that "it will be up to 9 meters high and will replace the fence that was built about 20 years ago."
The project will be led by Brigadier General Eran Ofir and work is slated to begin as soon as possible. The bulk of the 525-kilometer barrier, designed to prevent terror attacks, has fallen into disrepair and has gaps throughout by which thousands of Palestinians illegally cross into sovereign Israel to work.
The system of surveillance and maintenance that was designed to ensure that the barrier would be effective was never maintained, despite the NIS 8 billion already spent on the project.
The absence of such a system now allows Palestinians to climb over the concrete sections of the barrier and cut through the wire sections.
Settler sources noted that while any step to improve the barrier was welcome, those who truly want to cross can still do it along the rest of the route's length.
Sections of the barrier remain unbuilt in the Gush Etzion and South Hebron Hills regions of the West Bank.