West Bank Separation Barrier Technology Coming to U.S.-Mexico Border

Israel's Elbit beats top U.S. defense firms to $145 million deal.

Haaretz
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Haaretz
Reuters

Elbit Systems, the Israeli defense contractor that provides security surveillance along the separation barrier with the West Bank, will soon be providing similar technology along the United States-Mexico border.

The U.S. last week passed over some of its biggest defense contractors and awarded a subsidiary of Elbit a $145 million contract to deploy border surveillance technology in southern Arizona.

The current contract is for one year, but Bloomberg analyst Brian Friel said the Elbit program could reach $1 billion if Congress passes immigration reform and expands funding for the project in the American southwest.

Among the American firms bypassed were Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Raytheon, Bloomberg reported, citing an industries analyst.

Boeing was selected in 2006 to create a "virtual fence" along the Mexico border, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security froze funding for that system due to repeated technical glitches and delays.

It is odd to go offshore for this work, but in extraordinary circumstances, one really wants to employ the best, Mark Amtower, a partner at Amtower & Co., a government contracting consulting firm in Clarksville, Maryland, told Bloomberg.

Amtower added that Israel, which has experience with border security is liable to be much further advanced in this particular arena."

The observation towers to be installed along the U.S.-Mexican border include sensors for spotting, tracking, and classifying intelligence, as well as command and control centers.

Arizonans have been waiting more than a decade for the Department of Homeland Security to place the needed technology along our border to support the Border Patrol and fully secure our southern border, said Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in a statement last week.

If this technology is developed, integrated and fielded correctly, these Integrated Fixed Towers in southern Arizona, coupled with the tremendous work of the Border Patrol, will give our agents the ability to detect, evaluate, and respond to all illegal entries crossing our border," he said.

The security barrier in Qalqilyah. Credit: Alex Levac
West Bank separation fence. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

The Orion nebula, photographed in 2009 by the Spitzer Telescope.

What if the Big Bang Never Actually Happened?

Relatives mourn during the funeral of four teenage Palestinians from the Nijm family killed by an errant rocket in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, August 7.

Why Palestinian Islamic Jihad Rockets Kill So Many Palestinians

בן גוריון

'Strangers in My House': Letters Expelled Palestinian Sent Ben-Gurion in 1948, Revealed

AIPAC

AIPAC vs. American Jews: The Toxic Victories of the 'pro-Israel' Lobby

Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic speaks during a press conference in Sarajevo, Bosnia in May.

‘This Is Crazy’: Israeli Embassy Memo Stirs Political Storm in the Balkans

Hamas militants take part in a military parade in Gaza.

Israel Rewards Hamas for Its Restraint During Gaza Op