Netanyahu has said in closed meetings that the only place where it is possible to walk a few dozen meters on foot and to move from the third world to the first world, is in southern Israel. In other places in the world, oceans separate these two worlds.
IOA Editor: A wall here and a fence there… pretty soon we’ll be incarcerated in our very own ghetto. And who will we be blaming then?
By Ben Caspit, Maariv – 8 Dec 2009
Keeping the Third World at Bay
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made a strategic decision to erect a fence the length of Israel’s entire southern border with Egypt.
Several discussions attended by many participants have been held in the last few months on this subject in the Prime Minister’s Office. Netanyahu believes there is no choice but to build such a fence, which will resolve the problem of the infiltration of thousands of people from Africa into Israel, a problem that is likely to intensify, Netanyahu believes, in the coming years. In meetings, Netanyahu says that the issue is liable to change Israel’s demographic balance and has already changed the character of two cities in southern Israel, Arad and Eilat.
Now the argument is over the kind of fence and its cost. The decision-makers have three choices: the IDF proposal, the proposal of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, and a compromise proposal of the Internal Security Ministry. The IDF proposal calls for the fence to be built in the same format as the separation fence, and would therefore be very expensive: the estimated cost of the entire fence would be about NIS five billion.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz believes, in contrast, that a much simpler fence can be built costing about NIS 450 million. The Internal Security Ministry has a middle-ground proposal. Ultimately, a decision is likely to be made to build three pilot versions, one of each kind of fence.
In the framework of the pilot, a few kilometers of each type of fence would be built, and its effectiveness would be tested in real conditions. The plan is to complete the pilot in the course of the coming months and then to approve the plan toward the end of the school year. Netanyahu hopes to have an overall system-wide plan for the war against infiltration by the summer to solve this problem. The plan would include the fence, as well as special legislation and special measures that would be brought to the southern region. According to Netanyahu’s plan, the fence would be built in parallel from two directions, from the Kerem Shalom-Gaza Strip area south, and from Eilat north. The Justice Ministry has already been instructed to work on a ‘legal package’ to provide a response to the ways that will make it possible to prevent infiltration from crossing the border without breaking various international conventions.
Furthermore, the possibility is being examined of using demonstration-dispersal methods along the southern border, and perhaps other measures as well.
Netanyahu has said in closed meetings that the only place where it is possible to walk a few dozen meters on foot and to move from the third world to the first world, is in southern Israel. In other places in the world, oceans separate these two worlds. The prime minister has said that Israel?s emergence from the economic crisis has been better than in most other countries, which will only sharpen the enormous gaps between the conditions and standard of living in Israel and the countries to the south of it.
Therefore, the pressure on the southern border is not expected to abate but, rather, to intensify in the coming years. That is the reason that Netanyahu believes that there is no choice but to fence in southern Israel. In the end, says the prime minister, we will have to fence in the entire country, there will be no other choice.