Smart fence is best option for U.S.-Mexico border barrier, Israeli security firm says

by WorldTribune Staff, January 31, 2017

The CEO of an Israeli security firm at the forefront of smart technology said the combination of a smart fence and wall would be the best bet for the United States at its border with Mexico.

“Just putting a barrier will not stop someone from surmounting the wall; they can just climb on it,” said Saar Koursh, CEO of Magal Security Systems. “What you need is to have a barrier that can give indications, real-time information, real-time intelligence as to who is trying to cross it. And that is what we do.”

Israel-Egypt border fence. /EPA

Related: Israeli defense major unveils advanced, wide-angle surveillance system, Jan. 10, 2017

“If you take the Israeli example, it’s mostly a fence, with a wall in urban areas like east Jerusalem,” Koursh told The Jerusalem Post, adding “the main disadvantage of a wall is that you cannot see through it. You cannot gather tactical intelligence with a wall, unlike with a fence where you can see if someone is trying to penetrate it.”

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the success of Israel’s border barrier, saying “they were having a total disaster [with terrorists] coming across and [then] they had a wall; it is 99.9 percent stoppage; a proper wall, not a wall that is this high like they [U.S. border authorities] have right now; they have little toy walls… I am talking about a real wall. And even that, of course, will have people violate it, but we will have people waiting for them when they do.”

Koursh said “the border-solution that Israel has deployed with Egypt is definitely a very successful model.” Magal’s sensors on the 5- to 8-meter high smart fence along Israel’s border with Egypt is credited with slashing the number of illegal African migrants arriving in Israel, with only 11 managing to breach the fence in 2016.

While Koursh said Magal would not be building the actual wall at the U.S.’s southern border, the company would be able to equip any barrier with the right technology, providing “sensors on top of it, behind it, and under it,” making it a smart fence like Israel uses.

The company also has solutions for fast-deployment fences, and that is “the most important factor for the Trump administration,” Koursh said, noting that Trump “needs to have something that he can deploy relatively fast, as he doesn’t want to take 10 years to build it.”

Any barrier between Mexico and the US should be “smart,” Koursh stressed, adding that Trump “doesn’t want a wall that will just be a monument with people climbing over it.”

Additionally, Magal was recently awarded a contract to equip the facilities of one of the largest banks in Latin America with underground tunnel detection systems, which Koursh says can also be used along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Mexican cartels are notorious for their cross-border smuggling tunnels. Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is credited with pioneering cross-border smuggling tunnels in the early 1990s and it is estimated that for every tunnel found, many built with sophisticated technology, at least 10 go undiscovered.