Israeli soldiers seen on the fence of Kibbutz Be'eri, near the Israeli-Gaza border, southern Israel. October 25, 2023. Photo by Yossi Zamir/Flash90 Yossi Zamir/Flash90
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The process will see the military shift away from more passive defensive measures to a security doctrine that will push Gazans away from the border.

By Hugh Fitzgerald, Frontpage Magazine

The surprise attack by 3,000 Hamas operatives, who smashed through the border defenses on the Gazan border with Israel and ended up raping, torturing, and murdering 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping another 260 who were taken back to Gaza, is constantly on the minds of all Israelis, but especially on the minds of IDF strategists who must ensure that such a catastrophe never happens again.

There is plenty of blame to go around in the higher echelons of Israel’s defense establishment for the security lapses on October 7, but everyone knows that now — in the middle of a war — is not the time to deal with that contentious matter.

The IDF has been making plans for new and more effective ways to defend Israel’s border towns.

More on the current state of the IDF’s planning for what should be done on both sides of the border can be found here: “On both sides of Gaza’s border, the IDF is remaking security from the (under)ground up,” by Amir Ben Shalom, Times of Israel, March 21, 2024:

Hamas commandos from the Gaza town of Khuza’a invaded Kibbutz Nir Oz, less than 2 km. away, on Oct. 7. They left behind a demolished kibbutz soaked in the blood of 38 slain victims, taking 77 hostages with them.

To ensure such horrors never occur again, the army is fundamentally reconceiving how it defends the towns closest to Gaza.

The process will see the military shift away from more passive defensive measures to a security doctrine that will push Gazans away from the border, together with a beefed-up force along the fence actively engaged in keeping Israeli towns safe, according to a well-placed defense source.

The IDF located an “approach tunnel” that begins at the first line of houses in Khuza’a and leads to the border fence with Israel.

Israel estimates there are hundreds of approach tunnels near the border between Israel and Gaza, meant to allow terrorists to mount a surprise attack on the fence.

Israel will not only systematically destroy every one of those “approach tunnels” that begin under the Gazan houses closest to the border, and then snake all the way to the border fence.

It will also adopt a policy of constantly bombing new tunnels as soon as they are detected.

In the past, the IDF simply let the tunnels alone, satisfied that it knew where they were and could take them out whenever, in the future, they needed to.

That was the wrong method. As Hamas has shown, it can mount surprise attacks too swiftly for the IDF to respond in time — as happened with the above-ground attacks on October 7.

The risk of invasion from Gaza underpins the new defense doctrine. This will include a 1 km. buffer zone inside Gaza and a line of military outposts built along the fence and next to communities near the border, promising a massive military presence and immediate response to threats.

The Israelis plan to create a buffer zone inside Gaza, clearing it of all buildings, trees, rocks, and every other conceivable obstacle, so that there will only be a clear flat field one kilometer deep. Should Hamas try to cross that zone into Israel, its operatives can be raked with gunfire.

The Israelis also plan to line the border with many more military outposts — positioned at frequent intervals, right next to the communities (kibbutzim and towns) on the Gazan border, that the IDF is determined to protect.

These outposts will require stationing many more IDF soldiers than were stationed in the handful of undermanned outposts in use before October 7, outposts that were quickly overrun by Hamas and the few soldiers and border policemen manning them killed.

Along with manpower, firepower will also be beefed up. The army is looking to station a large number of attack drones in the area, giving soldiers on the border the ability to deploy air power before the air force can arrive….

This is also a new development: stationing drones right on the border, where they can be put to use at once to attack Hamas operatives from the air, without waiting for Israeli planes to arrive.

The IDF has in the past used drones to attack arms warehouses in Syria, to destroy the weapons that Iran delivers to Syria for re-shipment to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But now it will also put drones to work on the border, to attack any Hamas units attempting to penetrate Israel on the ground, before airstrikes can be called in.

The “border defense” is now an “offense,” with more manpower and firepower in many more outposts than existed before October 7, outposts to be built right on the border.

The Gazans will be pushed back one kilometer away from the border with Israel.

The surveillance array will include more advanced equipment, to allow the IDF to watch the same areas from different angles at the same time.

And finally, there will be special fighting units of reservists, who have a background in special forces, all of whom will already be living in the border towns or kibbutzim. And any tunnels that Hamas starts to build will be promptly destroyed.

This is what the IDF has planned for the border with Gaza. Let us hope it proves to be enough to keep – from now on — that blood-soaked border secure.

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