Israel Raising Height of Egypt Border Fence to Keep Out Asylum Seekers

The authorities are increasing the height by one meter over dozens of kilometers, making it six meters high.

Israel-Egypt border fence
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Defense officials said Tuesday Israel would increase the height of its fence on the Egyptian border, following an uptick of incursions by African asylum seekers over the past year.

The fence will be raised by one meter over dozens of kilometers, making it six meters (19.7 feet) high. The current fence was built between 2010 and 2014.

The barrier has worked – according to the army, 14 people made it across the border in 2014, compared with 12,000 in 2010. But over the past year the number has ballooned to 200; some of the migrants used ladders.

In one case, Israeli soldiers opened fired on Africans who had reached the border, wounding three. The Military Police opened an investigation and the head of the army’s Southern Command at the time, Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman, ruled that the shooting was unwarranted.

The army says a series of measures will be implemented to reduce the number of border crossings. The Defense Ministry is already seeking contractors to do the work; in the past, some of the construction was done by Africans who themselves had once made it across the border.