Opposition head accuses government of inaction on Gaza terror tunnels
The government must respond to the continued construction of tunnels from Gaza into Israel, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said Sunday, during a visit with regional council leaders.
Herzog pointed out that residents living near the Gaza border reported hearing tunnels being dug under their homes, and that the Egyptians have bombed numerous Hamas tunnels under the Rafiah crossing.
“What are the Prime Minister and Defense Minister waiting for? For terrorists with guns drawn to emerge in a kibbutz or Moshav?” he asked.
Herzog called for the government to give a serious, public response to the citizens and stop hesitating.
“They have to instruct the IDF to bomb the tunnels and eliminate this threat,” he suggested, “especially if there are already tunnels that crossed into Israel.”
The opposition leader added that “Hamas is bragging and we are doing nothing. “ “We will wake up one morning and find that once again we did not take the threat seriously. This will cost us in blood and great sorrow,” he said.
Herzog’s statement came on the same day that the Knesset State Control Committee held a special hearing about Gaza border security on the border itself.
Committee Chairwoman Karin Elharar slammed the government for “too many meetings without an appropriate solution from the Defense Ministry, next week at a closed door meeting we will see the results” and called the location of the meeting a “protest of the committee to identify with the residents” living next to Gaza.
But Defense Ministry representative Shalom Ganser responded that his ministry and the National Security Council have approved the strategic approach and underpinnings of improved border fence to protect Israeli residents on the border, but that there is still work to do on the technology.
Technological issues exist both in the sophistication of the border fence itself and in techniques for detecting the digging of tunnels by Hamas.
He explained that the technology is “being developed currently and is unique in the world” making giving an exact timeline difficult.
Ganser added that security forces had followed up on residents’ complaints that they heard digging and found them to be false reports.
In November, Elharar held a hearing on the issue where she blasted the National Security Council and the Finance Ministry for a he said she said fight over who was delaying progress for Gaza border security.
It appeared at the time that the elephant in the room was that progress on the issue had been halted by inter-ministry wrestling over budgetary issues, many of which were only indirectly related to the fence. Sunday’s announcement that time estimates would be presented to the committee soon in closed session appeared to be some progress.