Israel Jordan border

View of the Jordan River Crossing, an international border crossing between Irbid, Jordan and Beit She’an, Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Facing growing regional turmoil, Israel is taking extensive measures to secure its borders against refugees, illegal migrants and terrorists.  

Israel has commenced work on a security fence on its eastern border, shared with Jordan, which is meant to stop an influx of migrants, including terrorists and possible Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war in their country.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured a section of the border on Sunday, joined by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz, IDF Deputy Chief-of-Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan, GOC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Sammy Turgeman, Fence Administration Director Brig.-Gen. Eran Ofir and other high-ranking officials.

Turgeman and Ofir briefed Netanyahu on the plans and timetable for the work in the area.

The project is an extension of the security fence that Israel had built across its southern border with Egypt, which has dramatically decreased the number of migrants infiltrating Israel from Africa through the Sinai Peninsula. The plan is to link the fence to the existing one in the Golan Heights.

Goal is to ‘Duplicate our Great Success’

Netanyahu warned of the dangers Israel faces and discussed the measures being taken to guard against these threats.

“Today we see what is happening to countries that have lost control of their borders. The combination of very brutal terrorism, labor migrants, smugglers and loss of control in the face of the human tragedy that is taking place 360 degrees says that we must restore control and ensure Israel’s control of its borders.”

Scheduled to be completed within less than two years, the first segment of the border was budgeted at NIS 280M and will also protect the Timna airport near Eilat.

“We do not know what the day will bring. We know that the more we move forward, the more we will be able to duplicate our great success along the Egyptian border, where we blocked entry and illegal migration into the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said during the briefing, pointing out that this is a success that almost no other Western country has achieved.

IDF-syria-hospital

IDF evacuates Syrian wounded for medical treatment. (IDF)

“But Israel has achieved it and I am determined to continue this on Israel’s other borders and ensure that Israel controls its borders,” he stated.

Israel empathizes with the human tragedy occurring in the surrounding countries and was the first to extend humanitarian assistance to the victims of the war in Syria as well as to countries in Africa, he added, “but Israel is a very small country with neither geographic nor demographic depth, and we must control our borders. This is what we are doing today.”

The National Security Council (NSC) coordinated the inter-ministerial staff work along with the Defense, Finance, Justice, Foreign Affairs and other relevant ministries that formulated the proposal submitted for Cabinet approval.

The Security Cabinet approved the building of the first 30-kilometer-long section of the eastern border fence between Eilat and Timna at the end of June. The complete eastern fence will be hundreds of kilometers long.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel