One month ahead of its scheduled start date, Israel began to build a new security security fence on its eastern border with Jordan on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced after a cabinet meeting.
“Today, we are starting to build a fence on our eastern border,” Netanyahu announced. “In the first stage, we will build it from Timna to Eilat in order to protect the airport being built there.”
The 20 mile-stretch between the two cities encompasses the southernmost part of Israel, which is located just a handful of miles from the Sinai Peninsula and Saudi Arabia–two known hotbeds for jihadist terrorism.
Netanyahu said that once the southeast border construction is complete, “we will continue the fence up to the Golan Heights (northeast Israel), where we have already built a strong security fence.”
The Golan Heights area is bordered by Syria and Lebanon, with militant jihadist groups in both nations (ISIS and Al Nusra in Syria; Hezbollah in Lebanon) having established bases mere miles from Israeli territory.
“To the extent that it is possible we will encompass Israel’s borders with a security fence and barriers that will allow us to control our borders,” Netanyahu pledged. “We will not allow Israel to be flooded with illegal migrants and terrorists.”When Israel’s Security Cabinet announced plans for the security fence in June, many had taken to dubbing the barrier an “Anti-ISIS fence.”
“The Bedouins rule that area, [but] because of economic reasons that include poverty and unemployment there is danger that ISIS will be able to infiltrate,” Oded Eran, the former Israeli Ambassador to Jordan, said when plans were announced for the wall. “A lot of countries like Israel understand the only way to seal off their border is by installing a system of fences,” he added.
Israel has in the past built security fences with measured success. After the second intifada, in which Palestinian suicide bombers attacked the Jewish state, taking the lives of countless innocents, Israel ordered a security fence be built to cut off the free flow of Palestinian radicals into the country. Since then, there has been a notable decline in terror attacks on Israel’s sovereign territory. The security fence, which sits on the “Green Line” between Israel and the West Bank, has been the subject of international outrage, with pro-Palestinian activists claiming that it infringes upon the rights of Palestinians. Israel, nonetheless, cites the intifada and other acts of destruction to showcase the necessity for the barrier.