Dichter. Familiar with the area
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Suspected smugglers (Archive photo)
Photo: Border Guard Ramon Unit
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said Tuesday that he would recommend building a fence on Israel's southern border if Egypt continues to allow smugglers to infiltrate Israel.
Dichter added that he would discuss the matter with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Justice Minister Haim Ramon.
Dichter visited the Israel-Egypt border in order to closely examine the effects of the breached border, ahead of a discussion at the cabinet meeting.
According to the new minister, who visited the border for the first time as a minister rather than as the Shin Bet chief, the border has recently seen a rise in the amount of smugglings of all types.
During the visit, Dichter said: "I am well familiar with the area. Throughout the years, terror groups and weapons have infiltrated Israel from Sinai, and criminal elements have also taken advantage of the loopholes. The border is also crossed by a large number of foreign workers and prostitutes."
Border Guard police officers briefed the minister on the operations carried out at the border. According to the police officers, in the past year one and a half they captured one and a half tons of marijuana, two Kalashnikov rifles and two guns. Some 70 Sudanese citizens who tried to cross the border were also captured.
Border Guard officials estimated that approximately 5,000 people cross the border every year, 900 of whom stay and work in Israel.