Israel plans to plant trees in its communities around Gaza strip, not to just make them greener, but to protect civilians from the missiles that Hamas terrorists fire into Israel. The decision follows the killing of a 68-year-old Israeli man, whose car was hit by a Kornet anti-tank guided missile when he was driving along Route 34.

Reports have said Hamas has been using the Kornet missiles to hit higher profile military targets and not civilans. In the 2014 Gaza war, these missiles were used against the Israeli tanks.

Senior Israeli defense officials inspected communities near the Gaza perimeter and assessed which homes were at risk from the Hamas and would benefit most from the tree-planting.

Other measures are also being take to protect civilians. According to The Times of Israel, construction began last month on a 900-metre-long embarkment along Route 34 to protect drivers. There are also plans to construct a fence. The plan to build the barricade came in the wake of last escalation of tensions in Gaza last month, when the joint operations room of Palestinian military factions announced targeting two Israeli military vehicles.

Officials said the work would be carried out with other defensive measures, including the underground barrier on the Gaza border. This was proposed by the military following the 2014 Operation Protective Edge (Gaza war). The Times of Israel said the 65-kilometre barrier is being constructed entirely inside Israeli territory, 50 metres from the Gaza border at its closest point and 300 metres away at its farthest.

Over the years the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL) in collaboration with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) have been planting trees and forests in the Gaza Strip to provide some kind of security buffer for the Israeli communities living in the conflict zone. Omri Benhanan, the KKL media adviser, had said that the people living along the communities bordering Gaza are exposed to artillery and missile attacks.

Benhanan said the local people are hit when driving along roads, to and from the fields and even within the boundaries of their own communities. “The rows of trees will not only block the vision of terrorist firing into Israel, but will also provide scenery and shade,” he explained.