Israel Starts Work on New 28-Mile-Long Security Barrier in West Bank
Israel has started construction work on a new 28-mile-long security barrier in the northern West Bank to prevent illegal entry by Palestinians, following a string of terror attacks in recent months.
“We are continuing our defensive efforts in the north by strengthening the Judea and Samaria security barrier and providing solutions for the Israeli home front,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday. “These efforts constitute an integral part of our operational activity.”
“Along with this, we will continue to operate against all threats we face in order to maintain the security of Israel’s civilians,” Gantz added.
Israel’s Defense Ministry announced that the 30-foot-tall concrete security barrier will stretch along 28 miles starting in the northern West Bank and ending in the Bat Hefer region. The construction, which commenced on Tuesday, will be operated by the Defense Ministry’s Department of Engineering and Construction and the IDF Central Command.
The security barrier will have a protective wall and will be equipped with additional technological features, the defense ministry said, without providing further details.
The stretch will replace the contentious security fence Israel built about 20 years ago to stem waves of suicide bombings and Palestinian terror attacks originating from the West Bank during the Second Intifada. That barrier has multiple holes and other breaches through which Palestinians have illegally entered into Israel to find work, and which allowed the entry of perpetrators from the northern West Bank responsible for several recent terror attacks.
Back in April, the Israel army started engineering work to repair holes and other breaches along dozens of miles of the fence and to dig trenches to stop illegal vehicle crossings in the “seam line” area. During the same month, the Israeli Cabinet approved the allocation of almost $90 million to build the new concrete wall.
The Israeli army, security forces and the Border Police have in recent months increased counterterrorism operations in the northern West Bank following the uptick in violence, which claimed 19 lives. At least two of the assailants illegally entered Israel by taking advantage of gaps in the fence, before conducting deadly attacks.