By Jacob Nagel and Jonathan Schanzer, Gatestone Institute—-
Israel reported significant progress last month on an underground fence around the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Officials say Israel is close to completing the underground component and can see the finish line with the above-ground elements (roughly 80% complete). Once fully assembled, the three-layered barrier may be the most sophisticated barrier in the world.
The threat to Israel from Gaza and other adjacent territories has been constant. Suicide bombings by Hamas, Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad during the Second Intifada prompted Israel to build a barrier to control border crossings. This inspired Hamas to instead construct and fire thousands of crude rockets into Israel. In response, Israel developed the Iron Dome missile defense system (and others for longer range threats). Frustrated again, Hamas began digging commando tunnels for fighters to reach Israel to gather intelligence, conduct terrorist attacks, or even launch surprise, coordinated assaults.
The Israelis first understood the need for such a barrier during the 2014 Gaza conflict, known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge, after uncovering several commando tunnels. But it was not until 2016 that Israel set out to build this complex, multilayer barrier.
The new border fence has three levels: a deep underground layer, an upper fence physical layer, and an upper hi-tech layer that includes detection devices like robots, drones, unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), and more. They are all equipped with visual, electronic and intelligence equipment and powered by artificial intelligence. And they all operate through command-and-control bases along the barrier.
The physical upper layer of the Gaza barrier is similar to what Israel erected along the Egyptian border. It stretches across the entire 40-mile border with the coastal enclave. All of the elements are not yet public. But Israeli officials say it is adaptable to a range of threats.
The underground layer includes a high-tech cement wall extending “tens of meters” beneath the ground (the exact depth is not public). It is equipped with a multi-dimensional sensor net to detect any activity near, at, or under the barrier. The barrier even stretches into the Mediterranean Sea to stymie Hamas naval commandos from penetrating Israel, as occurred at Zikim Beach during the 2014 conflict. Continue Reading….