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Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Israel to begin work on separation fence along border with Egypt

Israel will begin promoting a proposal to build a separation barrier that will separate it from Egypt, the cabinet decided Wednesday during a meeting attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the heads of the defense establishment.

During the meeting, the officials in attendance discussed the breach in the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which was compromised after Palestinian militants blew holes in a section of the wall separating the two territories on January 23, prompting hundreds of thousands of Gazans to pour across the frontier.

The breach raised security concerns within Israel's defense establishment that Gazans who had entered Egypt through the breach could infiltrate Israel with relative ease through the open Israel-Egypt border.

It was decided at Wednesday's meeting that in accordance with a proposal previously submitted by Barak, a fence separating Israel from Egypt will initially be constructed in two small sections, one near Eilat and another near Nitzana.

The officials also discussed the Egyptian request to double the amount of security personnel stationed along the border with Israel. On Tuesday, Haaretz reported that Livni proposed that Israel should comply with the Egyptian request. More