Israel to Upgrade Fence on Part of Lebanese Border

With the need highlighted by an infiltration last week, the steel, barbed wire and razor wire is due to go up as it has on the country’s other frontiers

Israel-Egypt border fence
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Defense Ministry is set to begin installing a new fence along two stretches and a number of kilometers of the Lebanese border similar to what Israel has on its Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian frontiers.

One area is near Rosh Hanikra on the Mediterranean coast, and the other is near Metula. The two areas in the 100-million-shekel ($28 million) project have been deemed a top priority by the Northern Command.

“An upgraded barrier is to be built in two segments of the Israel-Lebanon border,” the army and Defense Ministry said in a statement to Haaretz.

Last week a Lebanese civilian crossed into Israel in the Metula area, managing to reach the town of Kiryat Shmona several kilometers from the border.

The plans call for a six-meter-high (20-foot) fence to be built in some sections, similar to what has been installed on the Israeli-Egyptian border, the Golan border and over 30 kilometers (19 miles) of the Jordanian border.

The fence is to be made of steel and barbed wire, and to be topped with razor wire, along with other, technological solutions. In some areas, concrete walls will also be installed.

One officer who served near the Lebanese border called the existing border fencing “junk,” adding that the plans for the new fence were a key response to developments such as the establishment of the Radwan commandos by Hezbollah, which aims to be able to fight in Israel, not just in Lebanon.

The army has long been preparing for possible attempts to infiltrate Israeli communities near the border and has set up barriers in the area, including concrete slabs along the frontier. It has also changed the terrain to make it easier to spot anyone entering on foot. Barriers have been dug and additional border observation posts installed.

Following last week’s infiltration, the army said a deputy company commander had been dismissed and disciplinary action had been taken against the sector’s company commander.

This came after an investigation revealed deficiencies in the performance of the forces in the area. Four other soldiers will face disciplinary proceedings, though the army did not give details.