Israel is building two giant fences along the country’s southern border with Egypt. The purpose is to stop the growing flood of African asylum seekers and to prevent terrorists from entering into Israel.
Said Bibi, whose brain child are the fences:
“I decided to close Israel’s southern border to infiltrators and terrorists after prolonged discussions…This is a strategic decision to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel. Israel will remain open to war refugees but we cannot allow thousands of illegal workers to infiltrate into Israel via the southern border and flood our country.”
The fences will cover nearly half of the 150-mile (250-kilometer) border. One section will be near the Red Sea port of Eilat and the other will be in southwest Israel, near the Gaza Strip town of Rafah. The project is expected to cost about $400 million.
The structure will come in addition to a massive fence surrounding the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as well as the controversial separation barrier that snakes along parts of Israel’s more than 400-mile (680-kilometer) frontier with the West Bank. Egypt has its own fence along Gaza’s southern border, and is actually reinforcing the area with underground metal plates to shut down tunnels used to smuggle goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip.
In early 2007, a Gaza suicide bomber snuck into Eilat through Egypt; one example of the risk which the fence is meant to prevent. The military actually began planning the fence in 2005 after the Gaza disengagement.
The second incentive for building the barrier is the influx of African immigrants. U.N. officials and human rights workers estimate some 17,000 to 19,000 people have poured into Israel through the southern border since 2005, most of them from Eritrea, Sudan and other war-torn African countries.