Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Israel builds 65km of underground and above-ground barrier along the Gaza Strip

Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Wednesday, December 8th 2021 à 17:45 | Read 301 times

Eran Ofrir, head of the border administration, in front of the new 65km wall between Israel and Gaza (photo: Israeli Ministry of Defence)
Eran Ofrir, head of the border administration, in front of the new 65km wall between Israel and Gaza (photo: Israeli Ministry of Defence)
ISRAEL. The Israeli Ministry of Defence and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) inaugurated late Tuesday, December 7, 2021, a new barrier of sixty-five kilometres along the border of the Gaza Strip. Intended to prevent intrusions into the territory of the State of Israel, the complex includes an underground wall, a physical metal fence on the surface and a naval barrier. Hundreds of cameras, radars and highly sensitive technological detection systems adorn the ten-metre high structure. "This barrier deprives Hamas of one of the capabilities it has tried to develop (...) It will give Israeli citizens a sense of security," said Benny Gantz, Israeli Defence Minister.

At the height of the work, which lasted three and a half years, 1,200 workers took part in building the security wall. 330,000 trucks had to unload more than 3 million cubic metres to build it. It required 140,000 tons of iron and steel. According to a statement by the Israeli Ministry of Defence, the amount of concrete used is equivalent to 220,000 trucks.

"The security fence, one of the most complex engineering projects ever built, (...) has already changed the security reality in the south and will lead to the further economic and social development of the border regions of the Gaza Strip," commented Major General Amir Eshel, Director General of the Ministry of Defence.

Gaza reconstruction still stalled
"We were challenged to build an underground wall to find an effective and hermetic solution to the terrorist tunnels that cross the Gaza Strip (...) Today, I can inform the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip that there is both an underground and an above-ground barrier with advanced devices that will prevent entry into Israel," said Eran Ofir, head of the border administration.

The steel barrier protecting the State of Israel from terrorist intrusions from the Palestinian enclave of two million inhabitants does not solve everything, however. Dialogue remains broken with Hamas, which has ruled the territory since 2007, when a blockade was set up by Israel. A ceasefire was agreed by both sides on 21 May 2021 after eleven days of bombing by both sides.

The Israeli authorities still prohibit the entry of materials to rebuild Gaza, where four skyscrapers, neighbouring buildings and factories were destroyed in the Israeli air raids. According to a report published by the UN, the European Union and the World Bank in July 2021, the city will need $485m (€410m) to rebuild its lost infrastructure. The reconstruction would provide work for 60,000 workers.

Israel is making this authorization conditional on the release by Hamas of two captured Israeli civilians and the delivery of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian movement is demanding the release of prisoners held in Israeli jails in exchange for these returns.

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