Israel today begins the construction of a 250 km border fence along portions of its border with Egypt. The barrier is primarily designed to prevent the entry into Israel of African migrants and asylum seekers. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is quoted as saying that “Peace does not include the flood of illegal infiltrators, who come from Africa through Sinai … This is a blow which our neighbours in Egypt are also suffering from.”
The Israeli Interior Ministry reported that on average on a weekly basis 1,100 irregular migrants enter Israel along its southern border with Egypt. The Ministry reported that over 10,000 such migrants have entered Israel in this manner so far in 2010 compared with 4,431 for all of 2009.
The construction project will take at least one year to complete and will include sensors and other devices designed to detect persons along the border.
One effect of such a fence will be the diversion of migrants and asylum seekers who will either attempt to cross at unfenced portions of the border or pursue new destinations, with or without the assistance of human traffickers.
Click here for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel “Refugee and Asylum-Seeker” Fact Sheet.