Israel’s Defense Ministry issued an announcement Sunday that the final phase of building its 20-foot-tall, 20,000-ton galvanized steel fence that extends across the 40-mile Israel-Gaza Strip border has begun.
However, the Jewish State’s latest innovation in national security is being designed to deter more than just Palestinian militants seeking to penetrate the border on the ground. Subterranean, aerial and aquatic attacks will also be prevented by its construction.
More than meets the eye
The massive barrier will be complete with a “smart fence” engineered to detect the presence of any attack tunnels that Hamas burrows underground along the border.
To begin the week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the commencement of the visible part of the barrier public.
"Over the weekend, we began building the above-ground barrier along the Gaza border," Netanyahu informed journalists, preceding his cabinet’s weekly meeting in Jerusalem, according to CBN News.
He exuded confidence that the structure will stop Islamic terrorist attacks from harming soldiers and innocent Jewish citizens along the volatile Gaza border.
“[The barrier] will prevent terrorists from Gaza from penetrating into our territory on the ground," Netanyahu continued.
Even though the wall appears to be similar to the barrier built along Israel’s border with Egypt to the south, it features many new cutting-edge features geared to enhance the safety of Israelis stationed and living in close proximity to the 40-mile expanse.
"The barrier is similar to the one on the Egyptian border, but it has significant improvements and includes innovative security elements," Israel’s Defense Ministry divulged in a statement, according to CBN News.
In addition to deterring Palestinian militants from waging their attacks on the ground and beneath it, the fence is designed to stop jihadists from launching assaults from the Mediterranean Sea.
“At its western end – the statement said – the above-ground barrier would join a fortified sea wall jutting into the Mediterranean aimed at blocking Palestinian attacks by water,” the news agency, Aljazeera, pointed out.
Israel is wasting little time during the construction phase of the elaborate and innovative fence that will bear a hefty price tag – close to a billion dollars.
“The project will be completed by the end of 2019 and will cost approximately $833 million,” CBN News’ Steve Warren and Emily Jones reported.
Israel’s confidence in the effectiveness of the fence was not contained in its latest presentation of the barrier fence.
"It's massive and especially strong," Israel’s Defense Ministry declared in an accompanying video clip of the fence, according to Aljazeera.
Long past due …
Work on the invisible portion of the fence started years ago in an effort to stop Islamic militants of the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, from burrowing under the border to penetrate areas patrolled by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
“Israel began constructing the new barrier around the Strip in 2016,” Warren and Jones recounted. “Israel first focused on the underground portion after the 2014 Gaza war, in which Hamas used underground terror tunnels to attack Israeli troops.”
Besides underground and surface attacks, Palestinian militants have included aerial attacks in their arsenal waged against Israelis, spurring Israel’s defense department to ramp up its endeavor to put an end to the incessant attacks by completing the advanced barrier by year’s end.
“Palestinians have gathered almost weekly for a year for protests that have often turned violent,” CBN News noted. “Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out violence, including killing two Israeli soldiers, launching rockets and arson balloons.”
It is hoped that the violent anti-Semitic demonstrations taking place along the 40-mile stretch will stop fatalities of those from both sides of the border, as Palestinians combatants have continually provoked retaliation from Israeli troops stationed along the areas that will soon be fortified by the fence.
“The fence's construction comes after months of mass protests by Palestinians in Gaza along the border,” The Associated Press explained. “Nearly 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since they began last March. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper last July.”
More justification for the fence was witnessed over the weekend, as Palestinians continue to threaten the safety of Israelis by penetrating the border on a regular basis.
“Local Palestinian news agency, Maan, reported on Sunday that Israeli forces arrested five Palestinians who crossed the Israeli fence in the southern Gaza Strip,” Aljazeera noted. “While Israel admitted to arresting the Palestinians and taking them to an unknown area, no further information was provided.”
Taking all precautions necessary
The Gaze border fence is just the last effort in a series of barriers geared to deter threats from Israel’s enemies on all sides.
“Israel established a concrete wall to separate the occupied West Bank from Jerusalem two years after the second Intifada began in 2000,” Aljazeera recalled. “It has also built walls along the border with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the occupied Golan Heights.”
With elections coming up, Netanyahu maintains that national security will remain his top priority – regardless of its effect at the ballot box.
“Some Israeli commentators have said Netanyahu would be unwilling to see a new uptick in hostilities with Gaza's Hamas rulers in the run-up to Israel's general elections set for April 9,” Aljazeera pointed out. “But the prime minister – who is also the defense minister – on Sunday pledged the upcoming polls would not affect security decisions.”
He made it clear that he will not compromise the safety of his fellow Israelis – under any circumstances.
"If the quiet is not maintained in Gaza, we will make the decisions – even in the elections period – and will not hesitate to act," Netanyahu added, according to Aljazeera.