Last week, The Coordination and Liaison Administration to Gaza (CLA) coordinated a tour for representatives of the major international organizations operating in Gaza to see the terror tunnel that was discovered by the IDF the previous week.
Date: 23.10.13 Author: Ariella Lemberg
The tour of the tunnel last week, included a briefing for the participants given by the commander of the Gaza Division, Brigadier-General Mickey Edelstein. The participants entered into the tunnel, accompanied by the liaison officers to the international organizations of the CLA Gaza. The tour participants were taken aback by the sophistication and structural engineering of the tunnel. The aim of the tour was to demonstrate Hamas building capabilities as well as the Israeli concern for the safety of the area.
This is the third terror tunnel to have been exposed in the last year, and it is estimated that the tunnel was under construction for more than a year. The tunnel’s depth is approximately 18m underground and spans nearly 1.7km in length. The tunnel itself is equipped with electricity, lighting and communication infrastructure as well as tracks for conveying a mechanical cart used to transfer the concrete blocks in the tunnel. This tunnel was dug from the southern Gaza Strip well into Israeli territory near Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha.
In 2010, the civil policy towards the Gaza Strip was expanded to include the import of building materials into Gaza. In 2012, as part of the understandings following operation “Pillar of Defense”, the civil policy was further expanded; despite the security risks, Israel increased the quota of building materials and approved 20 trucks of building materials to cross into the Gaza Strip’s private sector via the Kerem Shalom border crossing each day. Just a few weeks ago, this number was increased to 350 trucks per week (about 70 trucks of building materials per day) – out of understanding of the importance of building and development in the Gaza Strip.
The import of building materials into the strip has been put on hold until further notice. “This tunnel is testimony to the fact that Hamas continues its attempts to carry out terror attacks against the State of Israel and its citizens” stated the commander of the Gaza Division, Brigadier General Mickey Edelstein. “Instead of advancing and developing infrastructure projects and building schools or apartments for the population, Hamas prefers to use the building materials to construct terror tunnels.”
“Every Security incident in the area directly impacts the civil policy towards the Strip” stated Major Or Elrom, Head of the International Organizations section of the CLA. ”We hold Hamas responsible for what happens in the Strip; the more the calm is preserved, the more security risks Israel can afford to take in order to advance civil policy and make life easier civilian population in Gaza.”