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March 24, 2019 8:34 pm

Gaza Border Residents Voice Fear, Anger Over Palestinian Riots: ‘There Are No Children Who Are Not Afraid’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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Palestinian medics raise up their hands as they try to evacuate a wounded demonstrator during protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip January 11, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Hamas-led “March of Return” riots on the Gaza border and subsequent cross border attacks, Israeli residents of the “Gaza envelope” region have been voicing increasing frustration and anger.

The attacks, which have included the use of incendiary and explosive devices, as well as attempts to breach the border, have become a weekly occurrence. Several residents of the border area told Hebrew news site Walla over the weekend about the ongoing violence, fear, and a sense of abandonment by the Israeli government, which appears unable or unwilling to take the necessary action to quell the riots.

Roni Kissin of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom said, “The children come home in the afternoon and then the noises begin — the screams from the fence, the bombs being thrown, the army’s retaliation.” She calls the situation “a small war.”

“It’s sad for me to say it,” she added, “but those who do not live here do not understand what it means to raise children here.”

“We live this confrontation every day,” she said. “We’re not whiners. I will not give up my kibbutz, this is my country, I love the country. I will not give up my house, and if I do not live here, they will live here. We defend our borders, but want to live normally, like everyone else, want our children to play in the afternoon like everyone else.”

Kerem Shalom residents Guy and Riki Teitelbaum expressed frustration with government inaction. “We feel they think we don’t count,” said Guy.

“When there’s a mortar shell,” he added, “it shakes the house and the souls of our children. … We sit at home and without warning, there’s suddenly an explosion. They don’t understand what this is.”

“It’s very difficult,” he says. “We tell the kids everything is okay. There are no children who are not afraid. We will stay here. In the center of the country, they don’t understand what’s going on here.”

“No country would accept this,” he asserted. “I thought the government would ensure quiet here. … It’s like they’re ignoring us.”

“We jump every time a door slams,” said Riki, adding that her children are afraid to sleep anywhere but in a secured room. “Only a short time ago, we took one of the children out of the security room and he was afraid.”

Meirav Cohen of Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, who is part of a public campaign to draw attention to the travails of the border communities, said simply, “The residents want a solution.”

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