Israel’s security cabinet has approved the construction of a 240km fortified fence along its eastern frontier with Jordan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on 29 June.
The construction would begin with a 30km stretch from the Red Sea extending northwards.Â
Netanyahu said this would protect the Israeli international airport of Timna, 19km from the resort of Eliat and 200m from the Jordanian border. This is presently under construction and is due to open next year.
It is also intended to prevent African migrants from entering Israel and, according defence officials quoted by Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, members of Islamic Jihad.
Netanyahu said $530m had been allocated for the work.Â
If the entire border is covered, that will complete a circuit of the country’s frontiers.Â
Two years ago, Israel built a series of 5m-high razor-wire barriers to separate itself from the Egyptian Sinai, Lebanon and Syria.
The Palestinian occupied territories were previously surrounded by fences and a concrete wall, a decision that was controversial because the barrier was predominantly built on Palestinian land.
Netenyahu’s office issued a statement saying the fence would go up on Israeli territory "without in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan".
Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994, and the two countries co-ordinate security along their border.Â
However, if the fence is built along the 95km border between the West Bank and Jordan, that would mean that the whole of the Occupied Territories would also be enclosed inside fences. The West Bank barrier presently stretches for 700km.
Photograph: A section of the West Bank barrier (Source: Justin McIntosh/Wikimedia Commons)