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February 22, 2016 2:09 pm

Israelis on Gaza Border Document Fears of Imminent Hamas Confrontation (VIDEO)

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Four of the participants in the Channel 2 video clip, expressing their anxiety about living near the Gaza border. Photo: Screenshot.

Four of the participants in the Channel 2 video clip, expressing their anxiety about living near the Gaza border. Photo: Screenshot.

Residents of southern Israeli communities close to the Gaza border described their anxiety and helplessness in the face of what they fear is an imminent threat from Hamas in a new video clip, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Monday.

According to Channel 2, despite the relative quiet in that area since the end of Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, there is a growing sense of dread among the people living close to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave. This is due to a combination of hearing threats from Hamas leaders about their plans to kidnap and kill Israelis and the discovery of a number of tunnels that collapsed (or were destroyed) of late. Some residents have even claimed to hear digging noises under their houses, though the IDF has said investigations into specific complaints have come up empty.

In the two-minute clip, a 26-year-old Kibbutz Kfar Aza resident named Yonatan said, “For the past 16 years, we have been at war and see no end on the horizon. If it doesn’t come from the air [rocket fire], it comes from below [tunnels]. We don’t know where it will hit us, and the residents are beginning to show signs of panic. People are sleeping with knives under their pillows, which is surreal by any standards.”

According to Channel 2, though this is not a new situation, Yonatan fears that the powers-that-be are not doing enough to provide security for the residents. “For more than a decade, the government has simply been sitting on the fence and doesn’t grasp that the families and children here cannot do the same,” he said. “…I would expect the government to take responsibility. The whole region is suffering from terrorist attacks that are killing it demographically and economically, and there is no political or security vision; there is no plan.”

Nofar, a 28-year-old resident of Moshav Netiv Ha’Asara, said, “All this pastoral beauty here could end in one boom,” referring both to suddenness and something explosive. “The peacefulness here is imaginary. Ultimately, we are located in the most fiery place in the country.”

In 2007, said Channel 2, Nofar’s house suffered a direct hit from a Kassam rocket, and it was only through her good luck that she was not hurt. “If I am still living here after that, it only means that it’s not easy to pick up and leave. You live a lie; tell yourself that a terrorist won’t suddenly appear,” she said. “I paint a picture for myself of a situation in which everything is under control and all will be taken care of, because living in fear is simply not living. I prefer being apathetic and frustrated to giving up on this place. I would like it to be quiet here, but as much as I try to be optimistic, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think that will happen.”

Nofar’s father, Eshel, also shared his concerns. “We exist here between walls that protect the community from sniper fire, but our great worry is over tunnels being dug in our direction,” he said. “There are people here who claim they hear noises; everything has to be taken into account.”

He added, “The hope of all of us here is that at long last they [Israel’s leaders] will reach a [peace] agreement with our [Arab] neighbors. If they don’t reach an agreement, the state has to make a decision to send in the army to destroy the tunnels in order to remove this threat from the residents here.”

Mor, a 20-year-old resident of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, said something slightly different. “There are people who would raise an eyebrow at [my saying this], but it’s a great area with fresh air, pubs, cafes, restaurants and events for children. We have a strong army surrounding us, but the government is slightly neglectful. I would expect at this stage for us to be in the process of achieving some kind of political solution. But they’re busy with the casino,” she said, referring to a current government controversy over whether to build a gambling haven in Eilat, to improve tourism revenues.

Molly, a mother-of-three who lives in Moshav Ein HaBesor, said, “We are living in an impossible security reality of threats of war every year or two, and in between, the ongoing threat of missiles and terror tunnels. Every day, more than 1,000 trucks pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing into the Gaza Strip and we all know what the cement being delivered on them is being used for. Raw materials are being transferred to Hamas to enable it to rehabilitate the city and build tunnels under our feet.”

Gai, a 51-year-old resident of Kibbutz Be’eri, said, “I am worried about the quiet here. Our [Hamas] neighbors are talking about the tunnels they are building and we are sitting here with our arms crossed. Our children were born into the reality of war and air-raid sirens, which for us seems to be the norm. It is said that [the kids] will overcome it, but they won’t; it is the kind of trauma that’s there for life.”

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  • Michael Fox

    Many adherents of Islam in the Middle East through the Koran have an apocalyptic view of the future. They believe to die a martyr is a blessing and the most noble way to die. Given that mentality along with their blinding hatred of Jews and Israel, they are little more than zombies who see their path to heaven through the killing of Jews and being instrumental in the destruction of Israel. It is most challenging for Israel to defend against this deviant mentality. Western civilization offers little more than lip service in defending the only democracy in the Middle East.

  • Susan

    It’s terrible. Why not bomb out the tunnel? The unfortunate reality the Muslims don’t want peace they don’t even care about they own life. They only understand strength . As bad as its sounds it’s a useless talking with them. What for ? Different mentality. So there should be a action againts the murderers .

  • Markus Elkana Brajtman

    I think the answer is for Israel to fill a few dozen fuel trucks with se water, and then spray the areas where there maybe tunnels.
    This would collapse the tunnels and stop the residents from living in fear of a terrorist attack from the tunnels

    Those living near Gaza are the bravest people in the world.

    They need every bit of protection that Israel can offer.
    Israel must warn Hamas that if they fire one more rocket at any part of Israel, it will be a declaration of war, and bomb the hell out of those terrorist savages

    This warning should be known around the world.

  • Dennis Hulse

    I think it is past time to now train and arm a local militia of responsible people within local communities who liaise directly with local IDF units. They are on the front line and most able to respond to threats as they crystallize before IDF help arrives.

  • Michael Garfinkel

    The next Gaza war, which the Arabs are now preparing, will be launched in conjunction with a substantial attack in the north by Iranian proxies. The northern thrust will include the extensive use of air power, including missile bombardment.

    The consequences for Israel will be catastrophic.

    So, what will it take to awaken the Israeli defense establishment – before the hammer falls?

    Certainly, the experience of the last war was insufficient; Israel has looked the other way as Hamas rebuilt its tunnels, and they remain complacent, even through the sounds of subterranean drilling with heavy equipment.

    Oh, I know the IDF issues press releases from time to time in which they claim to be taking effective counter-measures.

    The question is, how many of the people issuing those press releases go home at night to the sound of tunneling under their beds. The answer is…none of them.

    It appears that nothing short of catastrophe will shake the Israeli defense establishment out of its complacency.

    They have yet to learn the lesson of the 1973 war – that Israel can indeed actually lose a war.

    • zadimel

      I agree with your views that catastrophe awaits Israel, if Arab/Iranian proxies supported by air power and missile attacks strike from the north in the next go round. The one element that would stop such an attack is clearly the nuclear threat that the Jewish State offers their unpleasant neighbors. From air launched, ground launched and submarine launched missiles southern Lebanon, western Syria and much of Iran would be swept clean virtually eliminating Israel’s worst enemies. Let’s hope that will never be necessary. The 1973 war caused Israel enormous casualties,but it was a win that nation had to make.

  • leonard feinman

    From my own time in the war, I can tell you that at no time should everybody be asleep. You must guard yourself, or trust the person who is guarding you.

    Israel must loosen it’s regulations on firearms. If you live so close to the border, you must stay armed.

  • Israelis in Southern Israel are justified in their fear of attacks from Hamas-occupied Gaza. Replacing the Hamas terrorist entity with Israeli governance will ensure stability.

  • Myriam Cuneo

    They have fear? go away

  • Ephraim

    The Israeli government has left southern communities unprotected for decades. It is a crime! And when they say they investigated where digging noises are heard, I do not believe them. If, please G-d, Hillary is not the next president, I hope that Israel will finally take the steps needed to destroy Hamas once and for all. If that means re-occupation, so be it. Israel should never have left Gaza in the first place. Ever since Israel left, Gaza has been an official terrorist state, and they will never stop.