We built an 'impenetrable' barrier at great expense, and Hamas conquered it

Some 3.5 billion shekels over 3 years of work were invested in the secure 'steel wall' between Israel and Gaza; now it stands as a symbol of the catastrophe of Oct. 7

It was just two years ago that construction of the "impenetrable" Gaza border fence was completed. We needed it, we paid for it and we got it. A staggering $965 million and 15 rounds of fighting later, it proudly stands, even prompting several IDF generals and a handful of politicians to boast about its completion and the sense of safety it provided us. And then, on October 7, Israeli consciousness got slapped so hard our ears are still ringing.
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The wall had firm foundations, planted dozens of yards beneath the ground, 140 tons of iron and steel, hundreds of cameras, radars, high-end detection mechanisms and underground sensors that detect even a hint of digging. It was clearly promised that residents of the kibbutzim near the border with Gaza were as safe as a small kangaroo in his mother's pouch.
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תיעוד פלסטיני: הגדר פרוצה בדרום רצועת עזה
תיעוד פלסטיני: הגדר פרוצה בדרום רצועת עזה
Hamas bulldozing the fence
After all, how could you not be? This thing included both an upper and subterranean barrier stretching over 40 miles, from Kerem Shalom, adjacent to the Egyptian border, all the way to Zikim, close to Ashkelon. It just might have been the most comprehensive engineering project in decades.
The project came into a fruition under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, authorized by the cabinet back in the summer of 2016. The Israeli premier, who was the chairman of the opposition when it was finally completed, took great pride in its advancement, defining it a being able to "halt Hamas weapons tunnels."
Two years later, in May 2018, then-Security Minister, Avigdor Liberman, gave it his full blessing, as it stood as "the only obstacle of its kind in the world, effectively blocking a maritime invasion of Israel from Gaza."
It's bears mentioning that Netanyahu wasn't blind to the idea of a Hamas invasion that would result in killing and kidnapping in the civilian population. He spoke about it in 2017. "The operative plan Hamas has set up is a multifaceted attack, beginning from the air, namely thousands of rockets descending on Israel. Concurrently, their amphibious commando force will penetrate Israel from the Mediterranean shores and a battalion-sized ground force will emerge from dozens of tunnels they've already dug," he said.
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מכשול הפלדה שהוקם בגבול רצועת עזה
מכשול הפלדה שהוקם בגבול רצועת עזה
The fence during more serene days
(Photo: Defense Ministry Spokesperson's Unit)
In February 2019, Netanyahu stated: "We began constructing the overhead barrier on the Gaza border to prevent terrorists from entering our territory. If they fail to maintain peace in Gaza, we will take action without hesitation." After the project's completion in December 2021, while serving as the opposition leader, Netanyahu said: "We persisted, we never gave up, and the project was initiated."
"Today, it was officially inaugurated. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas terrorists attempted to infiltrate communities surrounding Gaza through tunnels, reaching the dining rooms of kibbutzim. They believed they could do the same in the 'Guardian of the Walls' operation, but they soon realized they were blocked. Every time they tried to approach us, they were annihilated underground. The underground barrier around the Gaza Strip has already saved numerous lives. I am proud of everyone involved in the decision-making and implementation of this significant national project," he said.
During the barrier's inauguration, then-Defense Minister Benny Gantz was similarly enthusiastic.
"The barrier takes away one of the capabilities Hamas attempted to develop and creates a solid barrier of iron, sensors and concrete, separating it from the residents of the southern region. This wall instills a sense of personal security, enabling this beautiful area to thrive. Life here is our triumph and the greatest enemy of terrorist organizations. We will remain prepared to neutralize any threat to the citizens of Israel and will continue to thwart Hamas' efforts to operate through its affiliates in the Palestinian Authority or in Israel, attempts that have repeatedly proved unsuccessful," according to Gantz, who recently joined the government in support of the war effort.
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ההרס לאחר הטבח בכפר עזה
ההרס לאחר הטבח בכפר עזה
The destruction in Kfar Aza serves a reminder to never be overconfident
They were all so smart. So confident. And then came October 7, a day reminded the public that no vertical barrier, regardless of how well it is constructed, will serve as a permanent solution from those who wish to invade, In the early morning hours of that Black Saturday, Israel's early detection systems were promptly neutralized, followed by UAVs and anti-tank missiles. The border fence was blown to smithereens by well-placed explosive charges and crushed by bulldozers. Thousands of terrorists streamed through like a parade, murdered, pillaged and kidnapped.
Maybe it will serve as a reminder that one should never trust those who claim to have found the answer, only those who seek it.
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