November 22nd, 2010
11:11 AM ET

Israel starts installing barrier on its Egyptian border

Israel started building a barrier along its border with Egypt Monday. The Israeli government says it is to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the country and to stop smuggling.

The 240-kilometer-long, $370 million barrier will be part fence and part surveillance technology. The project was announced in January by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "This is a strategic decision to ensure the Jewish and democratic character of the state of Israel," he said.

The Israeli military estimates around 5,000 infiltrators entered Israel over the past year as well as 1.3 tonnes of hash and 130 kilograms of heroin. Israeli human rights group Hotline for Migrant Workers estimates 90 percent of those crossing the border illegally are refugees from northern Africa. The rest are thought to be migrant workers or traffickers of drugs and women. The barrier could take several years to build across some difficult terrain. Israel's former ambassador to Egypt, Eli Shaked, told CNN there is nothing political about the decision to build it.

"It is a necessity. It had to be done a long time ago. It is not something directed at Egypt," he said.

Israel has already built a controversial barrier separating the West Bank from Israel.

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soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Andreas Moser

    Every country has the right to secure its borders. This is nothing extraordinary.
    See also http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/09/20/a-day-at-the-beach-is-not-a-human-right/ on this subject regarding Palestinian visits to Israel.

    November 22, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. historian

    I agree with A. Moser, but let's just hope the fence is to built on Israli land: you can't build a fence on your neighbor's land to protect Israel.

    November 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinker23

      If Israel started building on Egyptian land the Egyptians would... well, disagree with it, don't you think?

      November 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Guest

    What a bunch of bullpuckies "Israel has already built a controversial barrier separating the West Bank from Israel." and yet Israelis STILL cross into the west bank and settle there illlegallyl! PSHHHHAW

    November 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinker23

      Somehow I believe that you've already built a controversial wall between your bedroom and the street outside and yet you STILL cross into the street and walk there illlegallyl! PSHHHHAW

      November 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CaptainObvious

    I love how certain human rights groups condone the 10% of criminals illegally entering sovereign land because 90% are seeking legitimate employment. The same happens here in America. That 10% causes a lot of problems and a country has every right to keep those people out.

    November 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. trey

    Im sooo tired of this country. Iran plz do something about them...GOSH!!!

    November 22, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. trey

    SINCE ISRAEL is so scared of everything how bout they create a island in middle of the ocean tht only they live..GOSH!!!

    November 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. trey

    ISREAL IS the new Nazi movement. They petty much doing the Muslims how the Germans did them in a way

    November 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinker23

      Did not it happen to you, Trey, that the Nazis KILLED every Jew they could and as a result the number of Jews in Europe DECREASED by 70% during WWII? If Israelis were doing the same to the Muslims there would be no Muslims left in the area. The fact is that the number of Arabs living in Israel INCREASED TWELVE TIMES since 1948. The number of Jews in the Arab countries, however, DECREASED by 98% during the same period of time proving that the Arabs did a much "better" job getting rid of the Jews than the Nazis.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. CaptainObvious

    Israel has a sliver of land the size of New Jersey. Where should they go? The Jews were there before Muhammad was ever born. If Iran could exterminate all the Jews they would have. I'm all for freeing up some land for the Palestinians that have been there just as long, but I don't see Israel as Nazis. Who cares if they build a wall? Muslims have more rights under a free democracy than they do under any Islamic dictatorship in my opinion. I would love to see Iran try and out muscle Israel.

    November 22, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. CaptainObvious

    Yes I hear of gas chambers for muslims all the time. You're right. I switch my position.

    November 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. trey

    Why is big bad America backd ISREAL so scared of Muslims?
    It seems ISREAL wud rather be alone then share anything. The refuse 2 compromise on anything ever.
    They test Palestinians sooo wrong .ISREAL ddnt even have a country until a few decades ago they had 2 start a war 2get the land they occupy now. But yet they wanna act like they soo innocent, helpless. They refuse 2 give up land 2 the Palestinians..why?... if they so big & bad Wuts the problem? Why r Jews so mean? GET OVER IT ALREADY !!!

    November 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CaptainObvious

    Hey trey in case you haven't noticed every sovereign nation was founded from conflict. Like the Jews invented civil war. Pakistan was once part of India until recently. Get a clue already. They wanted to live freely without Islamic law. You wouldn't like being a non muslim minority in the middle east either. Would you? Everybody hates each other, or do you not notice that?

    November 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinker23

      Muslims live just fine as a minority Israel as well as in France, Germany, Britain and other European countries.

      November 23, 2010 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. WhiteMuslim

    Maybe Israel values the lives of it's citizens unlike other countries that shall go unmentioned.

    November 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. trey

    Yes everyone duz hate each other tht all I agree with u about.
    ISREAL has a image complex. Since Wut they allege happened 2 then by the Nazi I feel Thts y they act the way they do.. you wud think being the only Jew country surrounded by Muslims they wud play nice. Guess not. They gonna learn the hard way very soon.

    November 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Thinker23

    Trey: I'm not sure what you mean by "playing nice" but it certainly does not include allowing to slaughter themselves. Israel DID, however, compromise every time when the Arabs were ready to make peace. It happened three times: Israel signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1978, Lebanon in 1983 and Jordan in 1994. Further, every war Israel participated in was started (and subsequently lost) by the Arabs. If the Arabs did not try to destroy Israel there would be no wars. If the Arabs or Iranians will try to "teach Israelis the hard way" again they'll learn (again) as they did in the past that it's a bad idea. Unlike the Arabs Israel CAN NOT AFFORD to lose a war.

    November 23, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |