Bureaucratic wrangling is delaying Gaza border fortification, IDF says

NIS 500 million plan entails erecting more fencing along the Gaza-Israel border as well as the installation of sophisticated tracking and surveillance equipment.

July 23, 2015 14:06
2 minute read.

Hamas shows new tunnels built in Gaza. (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)


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Budget disputes between the military and the Treasury are delaying the implementation of fortification plans along the Gaza frontier that the army says would keep civilians safe from Hamas tunnel attacks, an IDF source told Channel 10 News on Thursday.

The military mandarin said that bureaucratic haggling is occurring between the Finance Ministry and the IDF over a NIS 500 million plan that would entail erecting more fencing along the Gaza border as well as the installation of sophisticated tracking and surveillance equipment to detect infiltration.

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“This plan would prevent a situation whereby an Israeli wishes to enter the Gaza Strip, as happened with Avera Mengistu,” an IDF source told Channel 10. “Because of the threats that we are dealing with today, I hope that a solution will be found. We are waiting for it, and we are preoccupied with it. Today, it’s stuck because of the budget.”

The source said that once all budgetary issues are resolved, it will take 18 months for the plan to be fully operational, adding that the IDF is constantly seeking ways to defeat Hamas’s efforts to rebuild its tunnel infrastructure. “We know Hamas is doing all it can to rehabilitate its tunnel system, and we are doing all we can to deny them this,” the source said.

Across Gaza periphery communities like Kibbutzim Ein Hashlosha, Kissufim, Nahal Oz and Kerem Shalom, the IDF’s Gaza Division has been busy installing multiple layers of new defenses over the past year.

These include new electronic sensor fences around communities, such as the one the IDF installed in Kissufim two weeks ago. The fences are linked up to IDF company and battalion control rooms, which in turn can scramble forces that are always nearby. Civilian security liaison officers are present in each front-line community, together with trained and armed civilians response teams composed of local residents.

A year after last summer’s Gaza war, numerous communities still host IDF units due to their proximity to the Strip.

Across the border, the IDF has seen Hamas dig tunnels intensively. In response, it has begun deploying components of a new hi-tech underground tunnel detection system. The system is still at an early stage – and is incomplete – but can already detect tunnels.

It is one component of a multi-layered defense military network, spread out across the area, which the Gaza Division believes puts Israel in a far better place than it was before Operation Protective Edge last summer.

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