Photo: Olam Habitachon
Southern communities: Use truce to complete fortification
Heads of Gaza-vicinity communities say ceasefire with armed Palestinian groups in Strip opportunity to shield homes against rocket fire; ' we are merely demanding the implementation of a plan that has already been approved by the government,' Kfar Aza resident says

The High Court of Justice is expected to hold a hearing on Monday regarding a petition filed by residents of Israeli communities surrounding the Gaza Strip demanding that the government complete the fortification their homes against rocket fire.


The heads of Israel's southern communities said the government should have taken advantage of the ceasefire with the armed Palestinian groups in Gaza to complete the fortification works.


In their plea the residents of the Qassam-battered region demand the fortification of all homes situated within a 4.5 kilometer (about 2.8 miles) range of the Israel-Gaza border, in accordance with a government decision that has yet to be implemented.


"We are merely demanding the implementation of a plan that has already been approved by the government and that our homes will be shielded during (the truce)," said Ophir Libstein, a resident of Kibbutz Kfar Aza and one of the petitioners.


"Defense Minister Ehud Barak also supports our position and has sent us a letter to that effect; we hope the High Court will finally order the government to begin the fortification works immediately," he said.


Last week Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council chairman Alon Shuster and Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin sent Barak a letter demanding that he condition Labor's agreement to join the coalition on the resumption of the fortification works.


"We were shocked that despite the obvious need to fortify the homes in the (Gaza-vicinity communities) the government could not find the necessary budget to complete the project," the council heads said in the letter.


"The ceasefire is winding down and we are tormented by our inability to provide a solution for thousands of our residents," they said.


"Don't wait for a court ruling to pull your chestnuts out of the fire, it will just further erode the public's trust in the ability of the executive branch to understand the reality and derive a suitable course of action from that reality. We trust you and the leaders of the Labor party will not let up on the fortification of residential homes in Sderot and towns on the southern border until the effort is appropriated the necessary funding."


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