Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have been bickering over the construction of a separation barrier in Hebron, Israel’s Haaretz daily reported.
The newspaper said Lieberman apparently believes that investing more money in the project is not urgent, because as long as other portions of the barrier remain unsealed, there is no point in committing defense ministry funding to it.
But the prime minister has intentions to allot more money to constructing the area's separation barrier, the report said.
Lieberman was absent from the security cabinet’s tour in the South Hebron Hills two weeks ago, reportedly due to his objection to Netanyahu’s plans.
Most of the security cabinet, including the prime minister, took part in the August 8 tour along the barrier’s proposed route, Haaretz said.
This was Netanyahu’s second visit to the area in a short period.
Construction on the separation fence began in 2002. Over the past decade, work has progressed slowly due to budget constraints, other priorities, and legal wrangles over the route.
Netanyahu said at the end of the tour that the barrier’s construction was necessary for Israel’s security.
The barrier between Tarqumiyah and Meitar (about 10 kilometers) was completed earlier this month.
But Netanyahu said it was important for construction work on the 42-kilometer barrier to end within a year.
The barrier is aimed at preventing Palestinians from reaching Israeli territories through the area of South Hebron.