• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

An unsettling calm on Israel’s border with Gaza, amid fears of the next flare-up

ByJosh Taylor

Nov 19, 2022

The IDF intends to put a stop to Hamas’ tunnel and rocket threats via tunnel-detecting equipment, subterranean barriers, and the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.
“This is one of the longest cross-border tunnels Hamas has dug,” an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officer stated as he opened the iron door of a concrete structure in the middle of desolate fields on the Israeli-Gaza border. The door opens to reveal concrete steps that go into the earth. The police requested that journalists turn on their flash lights.
The IDF has constructed steps to allow easy access to the tunnel’s entry, which is around 50 metres beneath. The steps were slick and dirty. Rain falls only a few times a year in the northeastern Negev area. It had to be one of them. “Rain lashes the mud in the tunnel onto the steps, making the going difficult,” the officer explained as he stepped into the darkness.
The 2.5-kilometer tunnel, 900 metres of which are inside Israeli territory, is about a 10-minute drive from Tel Gama, the mound in southern Israel where Australian and New Zealand troops under British command mounted a successful cavalry charge against the Ottomans during World War I. In 2016, the IDF discovered and destroyed the tunnel.
Tunnel Networks
Hamas maintains a complex network of tunnels for a variety of objectives. These narrow tunnels are usually used for infiltration and assault within Israel. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have developed broader, more sophisticated tunnels on Gaza’s Egyptian border, and they obtain anything they want smuggled via these tunnels. “This includes guns, contraband, cigarettes, petrol, and clothing,” stated former IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.
In recent years, the IDF claims to have destroyed hundreds of tunnels leading from Gaza.
We developed a system for detecting tunnels during the early stages of excavation. “And we’re waiting for the appropriate time to destroy and attack them,” revealed the IDF officer.
The Gaza-Israel border has traditionally been a source of contention. As part of his “disengagement plan,” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew Israeli forces and Jewish settlements from Gaza in 2005. But this did not result in peace. Israel has placed an unlawful embargo on this little Mediterranean coast of 2.5 million people since 2007. Israel controls Gaza’s sea borders, airspace, and the majority of its land boundaries. It justifies the blockade by claiming that such measures are required to combat terrorism emanating from Gaza.
Several conflicts in Gaza
Hamas, the Islamist organisation that administers Gaza, claims the right to confront Israel as long as it occupies Palestinian lands. Several wars have erupted in Gaza in recent years, with rocket launches by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and retaliatory airstrikes by Israel.
And both parties suffer. In the past, UN-commissioned investigations have accused both Hamas and the IDF of war crimes. In the Gaza war of 2021, 14 Israeli civilians were killed, including two children, while 256 Palestinian civilians were killed, including 66 children.
Even though violence in the occupied West Bank persisted, the border region has remained mainly peaceful, with occasional flare-ups. But this has been the case in Gaza since 2005. A spark can break a moment of strained quiet at any time. Then there will be a full-fledged war. The border fence that separates Israel and Gaza can be seen from Tel Gama and Kerem Shalom. There aren’t many soldiers in the area, but Israel’s observation posts can be seen from a long way away.
The IDF has erected barbed wire fences over the property and a thick concrete fence beneath. What is the height of the fence? ”
That is personal information. “However, I can promise you that it is deeper than Hamas’s deepest tunnel,” Mr. Conricus remarked. Through tunnel-detecting devices, subsurface obstacles, and the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system, the IDF seeks to remove Hamas’ tunnel and rocket threats. “Other countries back Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.” They’ve amassed tens of thousands of missiles. “However,” Mr. Conricus continued, “we have better positioned ourselves to deal with these dangers.”

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