CAIRO: Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is mulling the construction of a security fence along the border with Egypt to halt smuggling and attempts by African migrants to enter Israel.
The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Tuesday that Netanyahu had approved the construction of the security fence after discussions with cabinet members over the increased numbers of Africans seeking to enter Israel via the border with Egypt.
“The only place in the world where it takes tens of meters walk to cross from the third world to the first world is Israel’s southern borders, the prime minister reportedly said during the discussions.
An Israeli official told Daily News Egypt that it would be similar to security fences Israel has with Jordan, Lebanon and Syria and not a barrier wall like the one Israel constructed in the West Bank.
Netanyahu supposedly instructed the Israeli Justice Ministry to assess the legality of erecting such a fence in a manner that did not contravene international human rights laws.
Currently the border between Egypt and Israel is lined with barbed wire though in some mountainous areas there is none.
Democratic Front Party member in the area Mohamed El-Menei questioned the possible success of such a fence, telling Daily News Egypt that a similar system has not curbed the smuggling that takes place between the Egypt-Gaza border.
“There is such a fence between Egypt and Gaza and the smuggling hasn’t stopped, why would it work in this case? he said.
Additionally, “it is these smugglers that transport the African migrants to the border and leave them there, El-Menei added.
Many African migrants attempt to breach the border into Israel to seek work or asylum, often with fatal consequences. Earlier this month an African migrant was shot and killed by Egyptian border police as he tried to cross into Israel.
Last Sunday, an Eritrean couple was also shot when attempting to cross the border. On Monday evening another Eritrean was shot and is currently receiving treatment at Al-Arish hospital from a critical gunshot wound.
Seventeen Africans have been killed in 2009 while attempting to cross the border.