PM: Security fence to be built along Jordan border

When fence along Egypt border complete, work to begin on new fence to prevent migrant workers, refugees from entering; record number of "infiltrators" arrived in December.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu broad gesture 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu broad gesture 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
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.
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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.
According to 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 side.
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 country.
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.