Published June 29th, 2015 at 02:38pm
Israel's security cabinet approved extending the fence along the Egyptian border to include a section along the Jordanian border north of the southern city of Eilat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday.
Israel's fence on its southern border with Egypt, also near Eilat, was erected in 2013 to keep out illegal African immigrants and while Israel and Jordan coordinate closely on the shared border, Israel is concerned about migrants and armed jihadist might try to infiltrate via the 240 kilometer-long border with Jordan.
"This is an important matter. It is part of our national security," Netanyahu said. "It is an addition security fence we built along our border in the Sinai, which prevented the entry of illegal infiltrators into Israel, and of course of the various terror organizations."
The fence will be built on Israeli territory according to Netanyahu, who said that it will not "in any way harming the sovereignty or national interests of the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan".
The Israeli government was expected to allocate nearly one billion shekels (roughly $300 million) for the construction of the massive fence last year.
The extension of the fence will run 30 kilometers north from Eilat and will help to protect the Timna airport, due to open next year.
Cooperation between Israel and Jordan is growing as the Islamic State militant group continues makes additional gains in Iraq near the Jordan border, said a senior source in the Jordanian Embassy in Israel.
"There is a very good cooperation between us regarding the growing presence of the extremists in Iraq and Syria, but also on issues relating to other radical forces in the Middle East which have their sights set on Israel and Jordan," the diplomatic source said, without elaborating.
"The developments on the Jordanian-Iraqi border are still unclear, but the Jordanian army is already doing whatever it can to quell any threat from the area," the unnamed official said.
The Jewish state also has a border fence with the Gaza Strip and barriers on the frontiers with Syria and Lebanon, both countries it is technically at war with.
The huge steel fence that runs along the Syrian frontier through the Golan Heights was built after the Syrian civil war broke out, for fear of a spillover of fighting and an influx of refugees.
Israel also has a vast separation barrier that runs through the West Bank, which it began building during the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which lasted from 2000-2005.