Ma'an News Agency
December 8, 2009 - 1:00am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the construction of a wall along the border between Israel and Egypt, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.

The decision came, according to Israeli daily Ma’ariv, after consultations involving security, political, and financial officials in Israel. Netanyahu believes construction of a barrier will stop smuggling and the migration of Africans seeking work or asylum in Israel.

The decision, according to Ma’ariv, was made as a result of an increase in the number of African immigrants crossing into Israel.

“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,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in the report.

According to Ma’ariv, the plans for the border wall will be ready in early summer, and there is more than one option for the nature of proposed barrier. The Israeli Defense Ministry submitted a five billion-shekel (1.3 billion US dollar) proposal to build a wall similar to the separation wall being built around the West Bank.

Ma’ariv reports that another option, suggested by Israeli Ministry of Finance, is erection of an electronic fence at a cost of 450 million NIS. Meanwhile, Israeli ministry of internal security suggested a mix of both suggestions.

Ma’ariv added that model sections of the suggested walls would be built to test their efficiency on the ground.

Also on Tuesday, Egyptian police shot and critically wounded an Eritrean immigrant on Monday evening while he attempted to cross into Israel on the Sinai desert border.

Egyptian security sources told Ma’an that the man was injured during an exchange of fire between Egyptian border police and traffickers hired to smuggle migrants into Israel.

At least 17 migrants have been killed at the border since May.


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