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MIDEAST > Israel completes Egypt border fence

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Israeli government pushes for securing its borders with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, by finishing much of the border fences, a measure against illegal migrants and infiltration of insurgent groups

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A panoramic view of some of the border fence Israel has completed separating Israel from Egypt (L) is seen. EPA photo

A panoramic view of some of the border fence Israel has completed separating Israel from Egypt (L) is seen. EPA photo

Israel has completed the main segment of a razor-wire fence along its border with Egypt, while also strengthening border fences with Lebanon and the Golan Heights against security leaks and illegal African migrants, whom the country’s prime minister vows to send back to their home countries.

The five-meter-high fence, bolstered by military surveillance equipment, has been touted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as proof of his commitment to Israel’s security as he campaigns for a national election on Jan. 22, Reuters reported.

Once the final 14-kilometer section is completed within three months, the fence will stretch from Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat to the Gaza Strip on the Mediterranean.

 Israel also replaced the old fences at the Golan Heights with new ones to discourage migrants from war-torn Syria. The new 56-kilometer fence extends from the southern Golan Heights to the northern region of Quneitra, Egyptian newspaper Al-Arabia reported. The region has seen Israeli forces deploy tanks and spyware devices along its border with Syria, fearing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime could use chemical weapons against the homegrown opposition. With security and illegal immigration a target of his campaign, Netanyahu travelled by military helicopter to the southern frontier for a Jan. 2 ceremony marking the completion of the 230-kilometer section of fence at a cost of $430 million.

The government plans to finish the final 12-kilometer stretch near Eilat within the next three months, the Israeli Hayom newspaper reported yesterday.

‘Next mission:’ Sending migrants back to home

“Just as we completely stopped infiltration into Israeli cities, we will succeed in the next mission - the repatriation of tens of thousands of infiltrators already in Israel to their home countries,” Hayom cited Netanyahu as saying at the ceremony.

Israel repatriated 3,920 migrants from Africa to their countries of origin this past year, Netanyahu explained during his tour. “We must finish this work on other state borders where there is still the danger that infiltrators can trickle through.”

Israel is also strengthening its security measures at other borders, such as those with Lebanon and Jordan.

Israeli troops installed more surveillance equipment along the fence that separates the Lebanese-Israeli border yesterday, according to the state-run National News Agency, and a patrol of several members set up advanced monitoring cameras on the wall at Fatima gate in the border town of Kfarkila, Israeli daily Naharnet reported yesterday.

Israel may also look to improve the long border fence with Jordan, should there be money for such an endeavor, according to Bezalel Treiber, the head of Operations, Logistics and Property at the Defense Ministry, The Times of Israel reported on its website yesterday. Treiber said lessons learned building the Egypt border fence were being applied on the northern frontier.

The Israeli government has accelerated its construction, deported migrants and imposed legal penalties on Israelis who hire them without work permits.

January/04/2013

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