Haaretz: Israeli military to deploy a defense system near the Gaza Strip

An anti-rocket defense system will be operating soon near the Gaza Strip, in what Israeli military says a bid to minimize harm caused by Palestinian homemade shells fire by almost 95 percent, the online Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

On Monday, according to Haaretz, Israeli army officials said that the Ironc Dome defense system, will be ready to operate for initial testing this year.

Director general of the Israeli defense minister, Pinhas Buchris, told the mayors of nearby Israeli towns such as Sderot and Ashkelon, that he estimates that the defense system will be operating within a month.

Meanwhile, the Jerusalem post Israeli online newspaper reported Tuesday that Israel is currently considering the creation of a buffer zone, few kilometers depth inside the Israeli territories.

The paper added that such a zone is meant to reduce chances of Palestinian cross-border attacks from Gaza, like the ones carried out against the Eritz crossing in northern Gaza and the southern Kerem Shalom in the past month.

The plan will cost several hundreds million Shekels and will include installation of a convoy-belt to transfer goods and commodities into the Gaza Strip, the same way at the commercial crossing of Kerem Shalom, closed since last month.

Also, according to the J. Post, such a scheme might include decreasing the number of Israeli crossings with Gaza, involving the northern Eritz, the eastern Karni, the southern Kerem Shalom and the southeastern Sufa commercial crossing.

Last week, a failed cross-border Palestinian attack on Eriz checkpoint claimed the lives of a suicide bomber who drove a truck, laden with 4 tons of explosives, as similar cross-border attack targeted the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza, injured seven Israeli soldiers.

Israel has been enforcing a crippling closure of border crossings on the Gaza Strip, immediately after the Hamas’s party takeover of the region in June2007. The Israeli army has since then been attacking Gaza almost on daily basis, killing hundreds of Palestinians including women and children.

Israel says its actions against the coastal territory are meant to stop homemade shells fire from the Hamas-ruled territory onto nearby Israeli areas.

Concurrently, Hamas officials in Gaza believed that Israel appear to be not interested in a ceasefire with the Palestinians. Hamas’s spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, said that the latest round of truce talks in Cairo was discouraging and that his party’s representatives are set to hold one more round of talks with Egypt’s intelligence chief, Omar Sulieman to reach a ceasefire deal.

Israel had already rejected a Hamas’s demand that Gaza’s crossings be reopened in return for stopping homemade shells fire onto Israeli towns. Israel also demanded that Shalit , a captured Israeli soldier in Gaza, be released if Hamas wants a truce.

So far, no agreement has been concluded between Palestinians and Israel, through Egyptian mediators. Cairo has recently warned against Hamas’s top exiled leader, Khaled Mash’al statement in Damascus that Palestinians are determined to break up the Gaza blockade, including reopening of crossings, among which is the Rafah terminal crossing (Gaza’s outlet to the nearby Egypt).

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IMEMC Agencies

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