The Israeli military has proposed a plan to destroy up to 3,000 Palestinian homes in the southern Gaza Strip, in order to dig a huge trench meant to halt Palestinian weapons smuggling from nearby Egypt.

Israel's Maariv newspaper says the plan presented to the Israeli Attorney General proposes a trench along the five-kilometer border separating southern Gaza from Egypt.

One scenario calls for a 10-meter wide trench that would destroy 200 homes.  A 20-meter wide proposal would eliminate 700 homes, while a 30-meter trench would destroy 3,000 homes.     

Israel began soliciting bids last year for a 25-meter wide trench authorities hoped to have dug before Israel's planned Gaza withdrawal later this year.

The Gaza Egypt border is rife with weapons smuggling and is the scene of frequent fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinians. 

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP.