What is Israel's 'Netzarim corridor' that is set to split Gaza in two?

What is Israel's 'Netzarim corridor' that is set to split Gaza in two?
Israel's construction of a corridor through Gaza will split Gaza City and the surrounding area from the rest of the enclave.
3 min read
22 February, 2024
The Israeli army initially invaded Gaza through the corridor that has split Gaza into two areas [Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel is currently building a corridor through the middle of the Gaza Strip, from Israel through to the sea, as part of a plan to implement Israeli security control over the territory.

The construction of the corridor comes following the adoption of a so-called 'third phase' of Israel's war on Gaza in the north of the enclave.

It also comes following demands from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel should retain security control over the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the war.

What is the Netzarim Corridor?

The Netzarim Corridor is a just under seven-kilometer-long corridor that is set to cut Gaza City from the rest of the enclave, running east to west from the Israeli border south of Nahal Oz to the Mediterranean Sea.

The corridor will have Highway 749 running through the corridor, with the road also having a one-kilometer buffer zone around it, according to reports from Israel's Channel 14.

The highway is currently being constructed by the Israeli army's Engineering Corps, with Unit 601 tasked with demolishing the surrounding buildings as part of plans for the buffer zone.

Structures within the buffer zone set for demolition are the Turkish Hospital, an Al-Azhar University campus, the village of Juhor al-Dik and the Nour and Sharm amusement parks.

Likewise, the corridor runs through the former grounds of the Netzarim Settlement, a Jewish settlement in Gaza that was evacuated in 2005 as part of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement from Gaza.

Live Story

What is the purpose of the corridor?

Israel has previously bisected the Gaza Strip during its initial invasion and operations around Gaza City before moving south, with an army logistics road winding through the territory.

However, according to Israeli soldiers speaking with Channel 14, the purpose of the highway is to give Israel the ability to conduct incursions into the territory.

Incursions into Gaza are actively being conducted by the Israeli army in the north of the strip as part of the military's 'third phase' of its war in Gaza.

This would involve the widespread use of targeted raids in northern Gaza against alleged Hamas remnants remaining in the city.

Will the corridor exist after the war?

Another purpose of the corridor that Israeli soldiers told Channel 14 is to control the movement of people, with Ynet reporting that the corridor would prevent the return of one million residents from northern Gaza to their homes.

Israel has previously stated that it will not allow the return of residents into northern Gaza until military operations end and the remaining Israeli hostages are returned.

Live Story

Israel's Channel 14 claimed that the construction of the corridor showed that Israel was likely planning to stay in the Gaza Strip for years to come.

This claim follows demands by Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to retain security control of the enclave following the war.

Security control over the Gaza Strip would mean that following the end of hostilities Israel would retain the ability to conduct raids in the enclave.