Udi Shani: Quiet by Gaza Towns Will Pass

Israel has spent no less than NIS 1.6 billion on defenses for the townships around the Gaza Strip in the last five years, Udi Shani, Defense Ministry director general, said yesterday.

"We view the present state of quiet as transient," said Shani, speaking during a tour of the boundary between Israel and the Strip. "We are working as fast as possible to complete protective projects and defenses," he said, noting that Israel has already spent NIS 1.6 billion in the last five years on these projects.

One is afforestation - planting rows of trees by the towns located along the Gaza Strip. The idea is that the trees will prevent precise mortar fire on Israeli targets and camouflage Israeli troops. According to the Israel Defense Forces spokesman, about NIS 7 million has been earmarked for the project.

Shani's tour included a number of the Israeli towns by the Strip as well as an army outpost on the boundary.