Southern Israel’s Residents Protest Security Situation, Ceasefire With Hamas
JNS.org – The ceasefire brokered by Egypt on Tuesday between Israel and Hamas has angered Israelis living near the Gaza border, who say they have been abandoned by the state.
Demonstrators from the country’s south blocked access to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which Israel allows goods into Gaza, for the fourth time in recent weeks on Wednesday morning, in protest against the security situation.
A barrage of projectiles, the largest since 2014’s ”Operation Protective Edge,” pounded southern Israel on Monday night and Tuesday morning. More than 450 rockets and mortar shells landed inside Israeli territory, killing one person and wounding 55.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people protested in the southern city of Sderot, calling on their fellow Israelis to join them in protesting the “disgraceful” ceasefire.
Itay Pechter from Kibbutz Kfar Aza, 1.8 miles from Gaza, was one of those who took part in Tuesday’s demonstration.
“For us, it’s important that we protest because there’s no deterrence,” he said. “For eight months now, we have been led instead of leading.”
He said he opposed the ceasefire because it was reached when Israel was at its most vulnerable, thus denying it any future leverage.
“We are saying, ‘Enough.’ We have run out of patience. The last couple of days have not been normal. As soon as the barrage of rockets started, I was on my way to the bus, and I lay down under the car with a lot of other people. It was a crazy scene.”
Sarit Balisha from Sderot also criticized the government.
“We are so angry and frustrated. It’s just a disgrace,” she said.
Residents of the Eshkol Region also issued a statement condemning the ceasefire.
The truce was “a brave leadership move aimed at providing security and quiet to the entire Negev population, [but] negotiations for an arrangement [must] be conducted out of long-term thinking, and a sincere desire to bring quiet and security for us and our children,” the statement said. “After two nights without sleep and over 400 rockets launched over our heads in this round, months of fires and years of useless operations, the negotiations now underway out of narrow political considerations are unacceptable to us.”