Just a few hours after two Israeli teens crossed the border
the cabinet discussed the dangers of border crossings in the opposite direction and promised to erect a border fence.
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Tuesday during a Knesset discussion that the issue must be addressed on a national level. He noted that an understand has already been reached between him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
on placing a fence along the border with the Sinai.
Aharonovitch spoke during the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee in the context of "periphery day" being held Tuesday in the Knesset at the behest of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.
He reported that some 100 to 200 infiltrators are caught every week on the border with Egypt. Most of them are work migrants from the Third World. However, the minister noted that women trafficking on the border has nearly come to a stop.
According to Aharonovitch, a simple fence along the border that would merely be a barrier to free entry will suffice. He explained that the cost of such a fence is millions of shekels, as opposed to the billions of shekels that a "smart fence" would cost.
Two weeks ago, Netanyahu spoke about placing a fence along the border. In the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the prime minister said, "The option exists to walk on foot from Africa to the Tel Aviv metropolitan area, something that cannot be done to Paris or Madrid by foot. This can present a demographic, economic, and security problem. The sooner we build a physical barrier along the border, the better off we'll be."
During Tuesday's committee discussion, Minister Aharonovitch also addressed the problem of weapons use within the Arab sector. He said that there has been an increase by tens of percentage points in shootings – not necessarily at weddings – arson, and planting explosives. He instructed the police chief to make reducing this phenomenon a central objective in 2010.
"There are a lot of illegal and expired legal weapons in the non-Jewish sector. The time has come for this party to end and for a drastic reduction," said the minister.
Aharonovitch noted that hundreds of illegal weapons are seized every year in the Jewish sector, "but a lot of illegal weapons are still floating around."