Netanyahu says Israel to build new security barrier along Jordan border

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  September 3, 2023

Netanyahu’s announcement came a few days after a claim that the IDF had thwarted an attempt to smuggle Iranian-produced explosives from Jordan to Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that Israel planned to build a new border fence with its neighbour Jordan.

Posting on X (formerly known as Twitter), Netanyahu said: “We erected a fence on our southern border (Egypt) and stopped the infiltration from there into Israel. We thereby stopped over a million infiltrators from Africa, which would have destroyed our country.

“Now we will build a fence on our eastern border (Jordan) and ensure that there will be no infiltration from there either.

“We will protect our borders – we will protect our country!”

Netanyahu’s announcement came a few days after information was released claiming that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) had thwarted an attempt to smuggle Iranian-produced explosives from Jordan to Israel in July, according to The Jerusalem Post.

In July, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant informed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that Israel planned to build a new security barrier along its border with Jordan, claiming that “terror organizations have identified [the West Bank] as a weak spot, and direct many resources there for the purpose of attacks”, according to Army radio.

Billions of dollars

There is currently an ageing fence along the 309km border Jordan shares with Israel and the West Bank, though military and police officials say it is sufficient enough to prevent most gun-smuggling attempts, according to the Times of Israel.

A 30km portion of the border with Jordan, near the southernmost city of Eilat and the new Ramon International Airport, has been upgraded in a similar fashion to Israel’s border barriers with Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Israel spent $88m for the small section of the border near Eilat, meaning that a project to cover the whole Jordanian border would likely cost billions of dollars.

Gallant did not indicate where the funding would come from.

Jordan shares a 335km border with Israel and the occupied West Bank.

In the 1960s, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) fighters operated mainly in the Jordan Valley, launching armed attacks on Jewish settlements before Jordan forced the PLO to move its headquarters to Lebanon in the early 1970s, after violent clashes with Jordanian forces.

Since then, Jordan has secured its border with Israel, and its role is still valued by Israel’s military establishment more than the political one.