Israel Considers Building Fence Along Jordan Border to Curb Infiltrations and Smuggling
In the wake of unprecedented clashes between groups of Eritrean migrants in south Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again raised the idea of constructing a fence along the entire border with Jordan. The proposal aims to prevent infiltrations into the country and curb the ongoing issue of smuggling, particularly arms and drugs, through the porous Jordanian border.
History of Border Security Measures
Israel’s approach to border security has evolved over the years. Most African migrants entered the country between 2007 and 2012 through Egypt before Israel erected a barrier along its desert border. The success of this barrier in preventing infiltrations from Egypt has led to renewed calls for a similar structure along the Jordanian border.
Netanyahu’s recent announcement is not the first time the idea of a fence along the Jordanian border has been discussed. In 2012, he ordered IDF and Defense Ministry officials to begin planning for it, and in 2015, construction of a sensor-laden fence on the southern border with Jordan was initiated. In 2016, Netanyahu declared his intention to “surround the entire State of Israel with a fence.” Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also expressed support for a new security barrier along the Jordanian border earlier this year.
Current Border Conditions
Currently, a 309-kilometer (192-mile) aging fence stretches along the Jordanian border, but military and police officials assert its adequacy in preventing most gun-smuggling attempts. However, a 30-kilometer (18-mile) portion of the border near Eilat has been upgraded to resemble Israel’s barriers with Egypt and the Gaza Strip. This section cost Israel NIS 300 million ($88 million) and expanding such an upgrade to cover the entire Jordanian border could entail a significant financial commitment, likely costing billions of shekels.
Smuggling and Security Challenges
The Israel-Jordan border is known for its challenges related to gun and drug smuggling. According to police data, security authorities have confiscated 506 handguns, 24 assault rifles, and eight explosive devices in 26 separate smuggling attempts on the Jordan border since the beginning of the year. Weapons that manage to cross the border have contributed to a surge in violence in the Arab community and have been used by Palestinian terrorists in attacks against soldiers and civilians in the West Bank.
Recently, the IDF revealed that it thwarted an attempt to smuggle Iranian-made explosives into Israel from Jordan a month earlier. This incident has underscored concerns about the porous nature of the border and the need for enhanced security measures.
Balancing Security and Costs
The proposal to construct a fence along the Jordanian border reflects Israel’s aim to safeguard its national security. However, the potential financial burden of such a project and the diplomatic considerations related to Israel’s relationship with Jordan raise important questions. As Israel weighs its options, the need to strike a balance between security measures and diplomatic relations remains a central challenge in this evolving situation.
Subscribe to BNN Breaking
Sign up for our daily newsletter covering global breaking news around the world.