Hamas terror operatives in Gaza tunnel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The government must respond to the continuing construction of tunnels from Gaza into Israel, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said on Sunday, during a visit with regional council leaders.
Herzog (Zionist Union) pointed out that people living near the Gaza border are reporting hearing tunnels being dug under their homes, and that the Egyptians have bombed numerous Hamas tunnels under the Rafah crossing between the southern Strip and Sinai.
“What are the prime minister and defense minister waiting for? For terrorists with guns drawn to emerge in a kibbutz or moshav?” he asked.
Herzog called for the government to “stop hesitating” and provide a serious, public response to the citizens.
“They have to instruct the IDF to bomb the tunnels and eliminate this threat,” he suggested, “especially if there are already tunnels that crossed into Israel.”
The opposition leader added that “Hamas is bragging and we are doing nothing.
“We will wake up one morning and find that once again we did not take the threat seriously. This will cost us in blood and great sorrow,” he said.
Also on Sunday, the Knesset State Control Committee held a hearing about Gaza border security, meeting on the border itself.
Committee chairwoman Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) slammed the government for “too many [State Control Committee] meetings without an appropriate solution from the Defense Ministry, next week at a closed door meeting we will see the results,” and called the location of her panel’s meeting a “protest by the committee to identify with the residents” living next to the Gaza Strip.
But Defense Ministry representative Shalom Ganser responded that his ministry and the National Security Council have approved the strategic approach and underpinnings of an improved border fence to protect Israelis living near the border, but that there is still work to do on the technology.
Technological issues exist both with the sophisticated border fence and with techniques for detecting the digging of tunnels by Hamas, he said.
The technology is “being developed currently and is unique in the world,” making giving an exact timeline for completion difficult, he said.
Ganser added that security forces had followed up on residents’ complaints that they heard digging and found them to be false reports.
In November, Elharar held a hearing on the issue where she blasted the National Security Council and the Finance Ministry for in her words fighting over who was delaying progress on Gaza border security.
It appeared at the time that the elephant in the room was that progress on the issue had been halted by interministerial wrangling over budgetary issues, many of which were only indirectly related to the fence. Sunday’s announcement that time estimates would be presented to the State Control Committee soon in closed session appeared to be progress.