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May 19, 2021 4:10 pm

Residents of Israel’s South Reject Ceasefire With Hamas Until Rocket Fire Quelled, Prisoners Returned

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Streaks of light are seen as Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel May 11, 2021. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Despite being under incessant rocket fire for over a week, residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip are calling on Israel to refuse a ceasefire and continue battling Hamas until long-term quiet can be achieved.

Israel’s Walla news reported that, as the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Guardian of the Walls continues, residents are saying they are prepared to remain in protected shelters for some time if positive results are eventually achieved.

Albert Gabbai, a resident of Sderot, one of the main targets of rocket fire from Gaza, said, “It is forbidden to stop the firing for one moment.”

Referencing the two Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as the bodies of two soldiers killed in 2014, he said, “We have to continue to act until our soldiers and prisoners are returned.”

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“We have to deal (Hamas) a critical blow so they won’t dare to fire even on an open area, or send balloons into the border area,” Gabbai said, referring to the incendiary balloons flown into Israeli territory by Gaza terrorists, which have caused major environmental damage.

He added that residents of Sderot will stay in shelters as long as necessary in order to prevent “the drizzle (of rockets) that disrupts the lives of the residents of the border area.”

Meirav Cohen, a resident of the Eshkol Regional Council, said, “If we don’t reach clear understandings that the drizzle of rockets and the incendiary balloons must stop, the operation has to continue — it is forbidden to cease fire against Hamas.”

“We haven’t done anything,” she asserted. “We haven’t arrived at long-term understandings. We haven’t succeeded in getting our boys back.”

Cohen added that residents of the south fear that, if a ceasefire is reached, the rocket fire will resume within a matter of months and the state will do nothing about it.

“Nobody’s interested,” she said.

Maayan Shneur, a resident of moshav Netiv HaAsara near Ashkelon, agreed, saying, “Don’t stop firing in any way as long as they haven’t returned the soldiers.”

Residents of the south, she said, “have patience” and can wait until “they bring Hamas to justice.”

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