(JNS.org) Israel is reportedly set to build a massive underground and aboveground concrete wall around the Gaza Strip in order to prevent infiltration by Hamas terrorists using cross-border attack tunnels.
The wall, which will cost around NIS 2.2 billion ($567 million), will stretch along Israel’s entire 60-mile border with Gaza and will be built tens of meters under and above ground, according to Yedioth Ahronoth.
“We have no desire to rule over Gaza, and as long as there is no alternative government there, we have no business being there,” said a senior defense official said.
“But on the other hand, we cannot conduct a constant war of attrition,” the official added. “Therefore, the next conflict has to be the last conflict in terms of Hamas ruling the Strip. We are not looking for an adventure, but a confrontation with Hamas is inevitable. It is an ongoing and growing threat and we need to be prepared for it.”
There have been several efforts to build a barrier around Gaza. The first barrier was erected in 1994 in the aftermath of the Oslo Accords, while the second barrier was built following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. But neither barrier addressed the threat of underground attack tunnels, which became a major concern during 2014’s summer war with Hamas. Since 2014, Hamas has continued efforts to rebuild its tunnel network, which was destroyed in that conflict.
Israel is also currently erecting a wall around sections of its border with Lebanon, after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened to invade the country’s northern region and seize Israeli towns along the border during any future conflicts.