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: Tegart's WallBy
: Palestine Post staff Published in
: Palestine PostDate of issue
31 May 1938Topic(s) addressed
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Timeline event(s) mentioned in this item:Commentary Abstract
A scheme for a barbed-wire "wall," suggested by Sir Charles Tegart, adviser to the Palestine Government on suppressing terrorism, is being undertaken at a cost of L90,000 to prevent the bands fleeing from justice, smuggling arms, or entering for terrorism and agitation across the frontiers between Palestine and Syria, Trans-Jordan, and the Lebanon, (wrote the Jerusalem correspondent in The Times yesterday). Terrorism in Palestine has been difficult to isolate and control because these frontiers, practically undefended and in un-inhabited and rough terrain, have proved easy bases for troublemakers. When pursued by police and military the bands, and especially their leaders, have been able to slip over the borders, often carrying away cattle and other booty, and have thus effectively escaped capture. Arms and other warlike equipment unprocurable in Palestine have been easily secured from among the people in Syria and Trans-Jordan and smuggled into Palestine, along with many cheaply hired gunmen. The stopping of these practices has become an essential to the restoration of order in the British Mandated territory.
The specifications call for a barbed wire fence extending for about 50 miles from the coastal road at Ras en-Nakura eastwards to Nebi Yusha (Metullah) and curving down to the Huleh marshes. Jewish colonies at that point form a barrier, but the fence resumes at Rosh Pina and extends to Tabgha on the Sea of Galilee, which in turn will be patrolled by motor-launches. South of the Sea of Galilee a two-and-a-half miles stretch as far as the mouth of the Yarmuk River will be fenced. Plans are being made for obstructing the passage of the Jordan River between Palestine and Trans-Jordan at its 70 fords.
The fence is to vary in thickness according to local conditions. The single bay type will consist of two parallel barbed wire fences some 6 ft. high and 5 ft. apart, each fence consisting of iron posts with 2 in. mesh rabbit wire at the bottom surmounted by barbed wire, and the space between the two fences not only crisscrossed with barbed wire but also filled with loose masses of tangled wire below. This in itself would form a barrier difficult to pass. But in some places there will be three parallel fences, the two outer bays being as elaborately wired as that mentioned above. The fence will be guarded from the seven police posts now placed along the frontier road, which will be made easier to defend than at present, and supplemented by pillboxes armed with Lewis guns at places where deep wadis or customary tracks cross the frontier. Searchlights on the police posts and pillboxes will be able to keep most of the defence line under observation at night. As the strength of the fence when tested