Israel to Commence Construction of Massive Barrier Around Gaza

The structure would include a massive wall surrounding the Palestinian enclave, as well as underground impediments to prevent tunnel digging in some places.

Construction on the Israel-Gaza border, February 1, 2016.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israeli army is expected to begin works on a huge barrier around the Gaza Strip.

The barrier will include a massive fence similar to the one on the Israeli-Egyptian border. The barrier has long been part of a plan of the Israeli army's Southern Command, but a budget for it has not been allocated.

The defense source said the funds for part of the project have already been transferred, and infrastructure works will commence in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, the operation to locate tunnels is still going on around the Gaza border.

The plan includes the construction of two fences around the Palestinian enclave, which will limit movement of people under surveillance from military outposts. In certain places around Gaza, an underground barrier will also be constructed – concrete slabs that will be placed underground in specific areas in an attempt to prevent digging tunnels into Israel.

Two tunnels between Gaza and Israel have been located in recent months. Army forces operating in the area and beyond the border fence found the tunnels in the perimeter area.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said at the beginning of the year that the Israel Defense Forces' main goal would be to locate and destroy attack tunnels. The Southern Command was tasked with destroying the tunnels without causing an escalation.