A senior IDF officer in the Southern Command revealed on Thursday that the Finance Ministry has been delaying funds for a comprehensive security system in the Gaza Belt region for over a year, since just after Operation Protective Edge last summer.
The security system, which costs a total of half a billion shekels and is currently in the advanced planning stages, includes the establishment of a "smart" fence in the hard-hit Gaza Belt area, as well as various other technological means able to prevent infiltration into Israeli territory from the Hamas enclave.
"The Finance (Ministry) is holding up funding of the project," said the officer. "We are waiting for it to be funded. I hope a solution will be found."
Remarking on the case of a young Israeli who, due to mental illness, climbed over the fence and entered Gaza where he was captured by Hamas, the officer added, "this program will also prevent incidents of crossing into the (Gaza) Strip's territory, as happened in the case of Avera (Avraham) Mengistu."
"Because of the threats we are dealing with today, I hope that a solution will be found. We are waiting for it and dealing with this (issue). Today it is blocked due to budget."
If the security system receives the promised funding, it should be operational in a year-and-a-half according to the senior IDF source.
Turning his attention to the terror tunnel threat of Hamas attack tunnels leading into Israeli territory, he said, "we know that Hamas is doing all it can to rehabilitate the tunnel system, and we are doing all we can not to let them do that."
His comments would appear to refer to a newly announced tunnel detection system that senior IDF sources revealed in a rare interview on Wednesday.
In addition, a new system to provide warning to residents against Gaza mortar shell attacks, which proved highly fatal in last summer's war, is currently undergoing trials and should be ready and installed in all Gaza Belt communities by the end of the year.
Another program being implemented is a more coordinated method of evacuating Gaza Belt residents from the line of fire, after several fatalities occurred among residents who were not evacuated by the state from the towns last summer.
"Our lesson from Protective Edge is that the state needs to manage the evacuation independently, and to pay for it," said the source.
According to the new plans, residents will be evacuated in an orderly fashion to prearranged locations ready to absorb them, mostly in the south-eastern Arava, there to pass the warfare far from the frontlines.