Egypt Border Fence to Be Built by 2012

Fence originally proposed to stop influx of African labor migrants crossing from Sinai into Israel, not for security reasons.

Construction of the border fence between Egypt and Israel will be sped up in the wake of Thursday's deadly terror attacks, carried out by terrorists who are believed to have tunneled into Sinai from Gaza and then crossed from Egyptian territory into Israel.

The fence will most likely be built by 2012, and not by 2013 as originally planned, said sources in the Prime Minister's Office, Defense Ministry and Finance Ministry.

Troops Eilat pigua 18811 AP

In addition, the fence is likely to cover the entire border, and not just part of it.

The project was originally allocated NIS 1.35 billion. Half of that money is from the Defense Ministry, with the other half from the treasury.

However, if it is to be longer and finished earlier, it may well cost more to build, sources told TheMarker.

Officials in the defense and finance ministries had started talking about speeding up the project a few weeks ago, a defense source said. In the wake of the latest terror attacks, a decision is likely to be made within the next few days, the source said.

The defense establishment had long argued that it was not responsible for building the border fence, and said a civilian institution should be doing it. The government rejected this argument in March 2010, at which point the Defense Ministry started work on the fence. Serious groundwork began in November 2010.

The fence was not originally proposed for security reasons but to stop the influx of African labor migrants crossing from Sinai into Israel. As of July 2010, according to a Knesset Research and Information Center report, there were 26,000 African migrants in Israel; in total, 14,000 people crossed the border that year, stated the Interior Ministry.

However, various parties had warned that this long, open border could be an invitation to terrorists.

The fence is currently not planned for the entire border due to the rough terrain in places.