Egypt uses “shoot-to-kill policy” on Israel border

Egyptian border guards shot and seriously wounded an Ethiopian migrant trying to cross illegally into Israel on March 12, and arrested seven others. Authorities said that border guards had seen the Ethiopian man trying to sneak across the border at dawn, and that they shot him in the abdomen after he disobeyed orders to stop.

Navi Pillay, the UN’s top human rights official, earlier this month sharply criticized Egypt for using lethal force to stop migrants from crossing illegally into Israel. Pillay said she knew of “no other country where so many unarmed migrants and asylum seekers appear to have been deliberately killed.”

Late last month, border guards said they had fatally shot two African migrants trying to cross the border after the two ignored warning shots and orders to halt. Such killings suggested a “shoot-to-kill policy,” Pillay said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in January announced plans to build a wall along the Israeli-Egyptian border, calling the plans “a strategic decision to secure Israel’s Jewish and democratic character.” He added: “We cannot let tens of thousands of illegal workers infiltrate into Israel through the southern border and inundate our country with illegal aliens.” (DPA via Ha’aretz, March 12)

Egypt has also announced plans to build a barrier cutting off the Gaza Strip border tunnels.

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