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Israel-Jordan Fence

Jordan FenceMost of the 149-mile (238 km) border between Jordan and Israel is fenced and patrolled by Israeli troops. In 1994, a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel established the international border between Israel and Jordan, in relevant part, along the Jordan River, thus restoring the administrative boundary of the British mandatory era, and leaving the ultimate fate of the West Bank to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The military security fence along the border is covered with sensors that can detect would-be terrorist infiltrators from Jordan. The border zone bristles with watchtowers, machine-gun nests and barbed wire.

The border with Jordan is the longest of Israel's border. It is also the only border (including the border with Egypt) along which there are no UN observers or international forces. For a time, King Abdullah of Jordan had thought of concluding a separate peace agreement with Israel and secret talks to that end were held between him and Israeli negotiators, but finally - as in 1948 - he recoiled. In particular, Jordan refused to implement Article VIII of the armistice agreement, and, after the assassination of King Abdullah in July 1951, the number of acts of violence emanating from Jordanian territory against Israel surpassed that of all other Arab States. Of 641 victims between 1951 and 1954 of aggression from across the borders, 466 were claimed by infiltrators from Jordan. This policy of murder, sabotage and robbery generated permanent tension and obliged Israel to pursue a policy of retaliation.

Anti-infiltration tactics in the Jordan Valley were largely responsible for having turned Israel's border with Jordan into the quietest frontier. In 1967 the army declared the Jordan River a closed military zone, and later laid land mines along much of its length to deter infiltrators from Jordan, both Palestinian refugees seeking to return home, and Arab fighters trying to launch attacks. Common interests and good neighborly relations are sufficient in order to maintain quiet and stability, while small numbers of forces are deployed on both sides of the border. The arrangement between Israel and Jordan is based on cooperation in maintaining mutual security and preventing terrorism and subversion.

A section of border fence between Jordan and Israel was taken down in March 2004 to facilitate the construction of a joint Jordanian-Israeli 150-acre science center. Ground was broken for the center, to be named the "Bridging the Rift Center." Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, "This is an important day, good news for the Middle East for a change."

On 12 December 2011 some 30 right-wing activists infiltrated the security fence between Jordan and Israel to protest Jordan’s attempt to intervene on the issue of the closure of the Mugrabi Bridge to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for safety reasons. According to the IDF, the activists breached the fence near the area of Kasr al-Yehud, but did not cross the international border between the two countries.

The Israeli Defense Ministry had long wanted to build a stonger security fence on the eastern side of the West Bank, in order to sever Palestinian areas from the Jordan River Valley. During a tour in March 2003 to inspect the construction of the fence, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke of the importance of an eastern security barrier, although it still had not been fully planned or funded.

The Jerusalem Post reported 01 January 2012 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced to a Likud ministerial meeting that a new fence will be built along the border with Jordan once the fence along Egypt border was completed. The new fence was intended to prevent migrant workers and refugees from Africa from arriving in Israel. The prime minister expressed concern that once the security fence along the Egyptian border was completed, Eritrean and Sudanese refugees and migrant workers who entered Israel through Sinai would take a detour and will instead come into Israel from the Jordanian side. The plan, which will cost NIS 630 million ($166 million, 129 million euros), will be financed by a two percent cut in all government ministries.

The Israeli Government announced plans in June 2015 to build a 30 km fortified fence on the Jordanian border. The new fence will span the 30 km of the border with Jordan northeast of Eilat, to the Timna airport, and will be built entirely on Israeli land, thus not harming Jordan or its national interests, Netanyahu explained. "This is an important part of our national security," he stated. The Security Cabinet authorized the fence's construction and funding 28 June 2015, he said.

Another important matter is that construction of the new Israeli airport at Timna, some 19km north of Eilat, will be finished in 2016. This airfield is considered to be a wartime alternative in case Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport comes under attack, so the new strategic installation should be secured from possible attacks from neighboring countries – with a fence. “This is an important matter. It is part of our national security,” Netanyahu said.

Israel and Jordan share a 240km border plus a strategic 95km-long border in the Jordan Valley, within the West Bank occupied by Israel. A peace treaty between Israel and Jordan was signed in 1994. Once fortification of the border with Jordan is finished, the state of Israel will find itself within a ring of fences and barriers.

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Page last modified: 29-06-2015 20:57:16 ZULU