IDF Builds Judean Desert Barrier in Bid to Reach ‘Zero Terrorist Attacks’
The Israeli military on Thursday revealed progress made on an “engineering barrier” in the Judean Desert that seeks to clamp down on illegal Palestinian crossings and terrorist attacks, with miles of land excavated and incursions already reportedly reduced.
Work on the barrier began in April, amid a broader effort by the military to stem a wave of attacks targeting Israeli civilians, some of which were carried out by Palestinians who entered the country illegally.
The broad goal is to prevent infiltrations from the south Mount Hebron area in the West Bank, according to Col. Ido Journo, engineering commander of Central Command.
“Together with forces in the area, we are protecting a territory that a few months ago was completely open,” he said.
According to the military, troops in the vicinity have caught dozens of vehicles and infiltrators seeking to enter Israel illegally in recent weeks.
“I believe [this mission] will stop terrorist attacks and criminal crossings,” said Journo, who leads the effort along with the IDF’s chief combat engineering officer, Brig. Gen. Ido Mizrahi.
So far, multiple obstacles have been put down and some three miles of a canal-shaped barrier have been dug, in coordination with Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority and the Antiquities Authority.
According to the IDF, the operation has already led to “a significant decrease … in the number of infiltrators who are trying to cross into Israel illegally.”
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that “by building the barrier, we are thwarting terrorist attacks.”
“At the same time, arrests are made day and night of wanted persons and terrorist operatives,” he added. “Our mission is zero terrorist attacks.”