The Israeli army accelerated over the past few day the construction work of an underground wall along the besieged Gaza Strip , an Israeli media report said. According to a report by the Hebrew daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the massive concrete wall, which will extend several dozen meters below the ground, will also be visible above the ground.
Work on the new barrier, which will cost two billion shekels ($531 million), can be seen from southern Israeli communities near the Gaza border, Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Wednesday.
The barrier has been designed to reach underground to counter tunnels Israel accuses Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, of digging to carry out attacks on Israelis.
The newspaper reported that Israeli residents near Gaza, who are keen for the project to go ahead, are concerned the wall might not be completed over funding, as the government has not fully clarified how the project will be financed.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisencott has called the project the “largest project” ever carried out in the history of the IDF. The residents of the south are following the project closely, knowing that this is the most ideal solution to prevent attacks from the tunnels.
However, despite the importance of the project, it is at risk of being de-funded, as no money has been allocated to the project for fiscal years 2017-2018. However, officials from the Ministry of Defense have clarified that the project will not be delayed, and the Ministry of Finance has said that there is in fact a budget for the project.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon even stressed this fact during his last visit to the Gaza border communities, saying “money will not be a barrier to erecting the barrier.”
Neverthe-less, residents of the Gaza border area worry about work being stopped.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that the monies will not be a limiting factor (for the construction of the barrier), and he must stand by his word,” said MK Haim Yelin (Yesh Atid) and resident of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, located less than a mile from Gaza. “Creating a budget for each section of the barrier will triple the cost, thus potentially stopping the project.”
In May, Israeli operations inside Gaza to destroy tunnels led to an exchange of fire between the two sides with Hamas firing mortar shells at Israeli forces.
Israel continues to carry out attacks on the besieged territory of about 1.8 million people from time to time. The wall, which will stretch along the 96-kilometer (60 mile) border around the Palestinian enclave, is estimated to cost USD 568 million. In early July 2014, the regime launched a 50-day offensive against Gaza, killing nearly 2,200 Palestinians, including 577 children, and injuring over 11,100 others.