Netanyahu vows to build fence along Israel-Jordan border

Netanyahu vows to build fence along Israel-Jordan border
Israel has complained of infiltrations of weapons and drugs via the Jordan border.
3 min read
04 September, 2023
Netanyahu has claimed the Israel-Jordan border is a smuggling hotspot [Getty]

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a "security fence" to span Israel and the occupied West Bank's 300km border with Jordan, claiming such a measure would stop drug and weapons smuggling into the country.

Netanyahu took to X, formerly Twitter, claiming that installing a security fence on Israel's border with Egypt had stopped a million "infiltrators" from Africa, "who would have destroyed our country".

He now wants to roll this "security measure" out along both Israel and the occupied West Bank's borders with Jordan. The occupied Palestinian territory's frontier is controlled by Israel.

"Now we will erect a fence on our eastern border (with Jordan) and ensure that there will be no infiltration from there either. We will protect our borders, and we will protect our country!" he tweeted.

Authorities allege that the Jordan border has become a hotspot for the smuggling of drugs and guns into Israel with alleged involvement by "militias".

Israel occupies the West Bank and controls entry to and from the Palestinian territory. Gaza is also under siege by Israel and its border is also sealed by a security fence, restricting the entry of essential goods.

An old fence already exists on Israel's border with Jordan but to modernise this to match the standards of the small but high-tech barrier on the Eilat-Aqaba border - southern Israel/Jordan - would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Netanyahu has made similar pledges in the past to upgrade the Jordan fence when he was previously prime minister.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned that the border was flagged as a "weak spot" by "terrorist groups" who are diverting their resources to these areas in anticipation of "attacks".

"Looking ahead, we intend to erect a barrier on the border with Jordan as well," he said this summer, according to The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu's recent comments on the fence come as clashes between two rival groups of Eritrean migrants broke out in Tel Aviv.

Israel does not recognise Eritreans - who are fleeing a cruel dictatorship - as asylum seekers, but as economic migrants. Most Eritreans present in Israel entered prior to the installation of a security fence on the Egypt border which Tel Aviv claims decreased the entry of undocumented migrants into the country.

Netanyahu said on Sunday after the clashes that Israel would eventually deport all African migrants, but those involved in the weekend's clashes would be expelled immediately.

"We want harsh measures against the rioters, including the immediate deportation of those who took part," he said.

Israel also operates a so-called security barrier through the occupied West Bank - dubbed the apartheid wall or separation barrier. Netanyahu previously said that he wanted to "surround the whole state of Israel with a fence".