Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun / Flash 90
Palestinian Authority workers cross to Israel through a hole in the security fence near the Judean city of Hebron, July 25, 2021.

Construction of an additional 40 kilometers of security barrier was approved Sunday at a meeting of Israel’s high-level security cabinet.

Members of the cabinet unanimously approved the plan submitted by Defense Minister Benny Gantz to build the additional 25-mile segment of the separation barrier along the seam line.

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The Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday night that the planned barrier will extend from the area of Salam, in northern Samaria, to the area of Bat Hefer.

The barrier, intended to replace the current fence built around 20 years ago, will include a massive concrete wall, protective measures and other technological means up to a height of nine meters.

The project is to be led by the Defense Ministry’s Borders and Seam Manager, headed by Brigadier General Eran Ofir, together with the Engineering and Construction Division and the Defense Ministry’s Procurement Manager, IDF Central Command and other parties.

“The Ministry of Defense intends to start work as soon as possible,” the statement said. “Simultaneously with the planning work, [the minister] hopes to produce the concrete walls, with the intention of getting them on the ground within a few weeks and then starting to place the walls and close the barrier.”

The NIS 360 million ($112 million) plan comes in the wake of a wave of terror attacks, some of which were carried out by Palestinian Authority terrorists who entered Israel through broken areas of the current barrier.

Opposition MK Bezalel Smotrich harshly criticized the plan and Bennett, saying Bennett is building the new border that he had so strongly fought against in the past, and returning Israel to the Oslo years.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.