Tel Aviv-Israeli military sources revealed on Wednesday that the Israeli defense establishment is expected to finish installing a sophisticated anti-tunnel barrier along the Israel-Gaza border within two years near to Kibbutz Misgav Am, a border community in the Upper Galilee.
The project is estimated to cost billions of shekels. The barrier’s blueprints are the product of cross-platform development involving officers from the Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence Directorate, the IDF Engineering Corps, and the Shin Bet security agency, civilian engineering and infrastructure contractors, and tunnel-construction experts.
The planned barrier has been described as a “multi-tiered” defense striving to meet a wide variety of threats, above and underground. It incorporates innovative measures, including sensor technology to detect underground excavation and unique engineering technology. The barrier will also feature a state-of-the-art fence, complete with sensors, observation balloons, see-shoot systems, and intelligence gathering measures, as well as an underground wall.
It is the first such tunnel discovered inside Israeli territory since the end of the war in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014. During that operation, dubbed Operation Protective Edge in Israel, at least 34 tunnels were discovered and destroyed by Israeli forces.
In response to the discovery, Hamas claimed the tunnel was “old,” one that had been built prior to the 2014 conflict.
The IDF, however, denied that claim, saying it was “a new tunnel that had been built recently.
In a common matter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “a special technological breakthrough” was responsible for the detection of a tunnel running from southern Gaza into Israel, whose discovery was announced on Monday.
Netanyahu said he couldn’t go into further detail on the subject due to its security sensitivity, but of the discovery afforded by the latest know-how, he said that:
“It’s a very significant change in our capability to locate tunnels.”
“We are investing a great deal of money in this technology and we made a decision about this in the security cabinet. We are creating a type of defense and a capability to thwart tunnels, which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, and we have verified this in the entire world,” Netanyahu added.
The Military expert, Amos Harel commented on this matter saying: “In response to his latest political woe, Netanyahu played a card of proven efficacy: Jewish genius. What the defense minister phrased more cautiously, the prime minister stated as a certainty.”
“Despite the aggressive tone adopted by Israeli officials this week, Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip remains unchanged. The combative statements by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lacked one element: Any threat of immediate military action in response to the discovery of a cross-border tunnel from Gaza into Israel. The government still wants the IDF to maintain quiet along the Gaza border for as long as possible.”
“Jerusalem would be happy to stave off the next military conflict with Hamas for at least a year. Netanyahu has no plans to topple Gaza’s Hamas government and doesn’t appear to have any intention of starting any military action in Gaza,” he also said.