Netanyahu announces fence for Syrian border

Prime Minister Netanyahu in the cabinet meeting on Sunday (Photo: AP)

Prime Minister Netanyahu in the cabinet meeting on Sunday (Photo: AP)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that Israel will build a fence along its frontier with Syria, warning that extremist forces have taken over on the other side of the border.

Speaking at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Mr Netanyahu said that the Syrian regime was “unstable” and that the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons was worrying for Israel.

He said that Israel needed a barrier on its frontier with Syria similar to the 230km fence it has constructed on its Egyptian border.

"We intend to erect an identical fence, with a few changes based on the actual territory, along the Golan Heights,” he said. “We know that on other side of our border with Syria today, the Syrian army has moved away, and in its place, global jihad forces have moved in."

He added: "We are co-ordinating our intelligence and readiness with the United States” in preparation for any possible scenario.

Although Syria and Israel are technically still at war over the Golan Heights territory, the area has largely been quiet since a ceasefire was declared in 1973. The frontier was breached in 2011 by pro-Palestinian protesters and, in recent months, a number of stray Syrian mortar shells have landed on the Israeli side of the border.

Mr Netanyahu says a fence will protect against “infiltration and terrorism”. The fence on the Egyptian border, the main section of which was completed last week, has been very successful at preventing illegal border crossings, with figures dropping from 2,000 crossings per month to zero.

Last updated: 12:39pm, January 7 2013