Israel Starts Building Barrier on Egypt Border

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA, 6 Dec 2010

BBC News – TRANSCEND Media Service

Work is beginning in Israel on a barrier along the border with Egypt, aimed at stemming the flow of illegal immigrants into the country.

The barrier, including an electric fence and surveillance technology, will run for 250km (155 miles).

Work on the $372m (£232m) project is expected to take up to a year.

Hundreds of migrants – including many asylum seekers – enter Israel from Egypt every week, Israeli government figures suggest.

Egyptian border guards have shot dead dozens of migrants – mostly from Africa – in recent years.

Egyptian officials insist they only shoot at the border after those crossing ignore repeated orders to stop, and point out that human-trafficking gangs carry guns.

However, the United Nations and human rights groups have asked Egypt to stop excessive force being used.

The Israeli government says the barrier will also control the threat of Islamic militants, who cross into Egypt from the Gaza Strip and then try to infiltrate Israeli territory.

‘Major threat’

The Israeli defence ministry said on Sunday that “dozens of heavy engineering vehicles will be deployed at points along the Israeli-Egypt border” on Monday.

The Israeli government approved the construction of the barrier in March, after months of planning and preparatory work.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the influx of illegal migrants across the border as a major threat to “the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel”.

The Israeli immigration authority said in a report earlier this month that some 700 illegal migrants – a record number – infiltrated through the Egypt-Israel border on a weekly basis, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper says.

This marked an increase of about 300% since the start of 2010, according to the report, which put the number of migrants at 10,858 over the January-November period.

In 2009, 4,341 migrants were recorded.

A deal struck between Libya and Italy in 2009 has cut off a popular sea route to Europe for illegal African migrants and helped direct the flow towards Israel, the BBC’s Yolande Knell in Cairo says.

Our correspondent adds that many African migrants believe that Israel is currently offering better work opportunities and more Western standards.

Some migrants claim political asylum but that is only granted by Israel in very rare cases.

Go to Original – bbc.co.uk

 

Share this article:


DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Comments are closed.