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January 25, 2013 12:43 pm

Israel’s New Gaza Security Strategy: Trees

avatar by Zach Pontz

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OC Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Tal Russo, plants the first trees of the Strategic Security Forestation Project together with the residents of the towns and villages surrounding the Gaza Strip in an undated photo. Photo: wiki commons.

A tree-planting ceremony was held Thursday near the Israeli village of Netiv HaAsarah, on the Gaza perimeter, as part of a newly revived defensive forestation project. The project is meant to act as both a defensive tool and as a public works project. Within two to three years, as the trees grow, it will be fully functional. “This way, we can both protect the security of the residents of the area and provide them with greenery,” said Brig. Gen. Elkabatz.

Among those in attendance were Head of the Southern Command Headquarters Brig. Gen. Roi Elkabatz, Head of the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council Mr. Yair Farjoun, and soldiers and commanders of the Gaza Division – which maintains security in the area.

As the IDF blog notes, defensive forestation – a method of camouflaging and protecting military or civilian installations – is not a new defense tactic: From 1948 through the 1960s, the IDF planted thousands of dunams of defensive forests. A decision was recently made to reinstate the project within the Southern Command, in conjunction with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), the Ministry of Defense and other organizations.

The first steps in the rejuvenation of the forestation project began three years ago. “We decided to act on this matter out of an understanding that anti-tank fire would increase significantly, and the last escalations proved that we weren’t wrong,” said the Head of the Southern Command Headquarters, Brig. Gen. Roi Elkabatz. “One of the factors that inspired the project is the defensive forestation that already exists in the area of the northern border.”

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