‘Walls That Work:’ Can Israeli Tech Help US-Mexican Border Security?
JNS.org – The Trump administration has reportedly reached a new contract with the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems, to implement advanced security systems on the US border with Mexico. The new measures will be similar to the security technology utilized along Israel’s borders.
According to reports that emerged last weekend in Hebrew- and English-language Israeli media outlets, an American delegation recently visited Israel to tour the country’s borders with the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Delegation members were pitched on a “smart border” security concept that could be implemented along the US-Mexico border.
The plan reportedly involves the construction of observation towers and the implementation of cutting-edge technology — including highly advanced sensors, as well as monitoring and communications systems — to combat illegal border infiltration from above and below ground.
During his 2016 election campaign, Trump lauded Israel’s border security expertise when commenting on his proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.
“You could ask Israel about walls that work. Believe me, walls work,” Trump told a rally in Atlanta in February 2016.
After news reports on the border security contract surfaced, Elbit Systems downplayed its role.
An Israel-based representative of the company, who asked not to be named, told JNS.org that, “Since [July 30], we have been receiving calls from various media outlets regarding a story about the Trump administration contracting Elbit for a new border security program. This is not true.”
“Elbit Systems of America was awarded [contracts for] two parts of the [US-Mexico] border and what happened last week was that one of the parts was accepted by the customer,” the representative added. “This is the only thing that happened. … This is nothing new. It’s not a new award, it’s not a new contract … it’s an old story.”
The 3,360-mile-long border between the US and Mexico crosses varying types of terrain — including, deserts, mountains and plains — and sees some 200,000 people cross illegally into America each year, according to some estimates. Further, Mexican drug cartels net an estimated $19-$29 billion a year on narcotics smuggled into the US, often through dozens of underground tunnels beneath the border.
The cartel tunnels running beneath the US-Mexico border are similar to tunnels dug from Gaza into Israel by Hamas. Hamas’ tunnels are used to smuggle weapons into Gaza, and also to launch attacks inside the Jewish state.
The Israeli security fence along the border with the disputed territories has prevented many Palestinian terror attacks inside Israel, while a fence constructed along the Israeli-Egyptian border in the Sinai desert has helped reduce the number of African migrants illegally entering the Jewish state. Israel has also started construction of a $77 million fence along its border with Jordan.
“President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted in January 2016, drawing ire from Mexico’s foreign ministry.
According to reports, Elbit’s US branch will implement its Integrated Fixed Tower (IFT) border security system along several-hundred miles of Arizona’s border with Mexico, and the system would gradually expand to other areas of the US-Mexico border.
Elbit Systems of America would also provide US authorities with sophisticated surveillance equipment, including advanced radar and cameras on sensor towers situated along the border. The systems would provide border patrol agents with 24/7 surveillance capabilities and a cohesive view of the security situation.
According to a July 24 statement released by Elbit Systems of America, the first stages of the IFT system have already been constructed along the US-Mexico border.
The system was reportedly approved by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in July and implemented in Douglas, Arizona, marking Elbit’s “second successful deployment of the system, with the first occurring in the Nogales, Arizona,” according to the Israeli company.
“We achieved this important milestone by working closely with CBP and understanding their agents’ needs,” stated Raanan Horowitz, CEO and president of Elbit Systems of America.
“Border Patrol agents rely on our homeland security solutions to provide situational awareness and enhanced safety,” he added.