An IDF withdrawal from communities near the Gaza Strip begun on Sunday will leave the residents to largely fend for themselves in organizing local security, The Times of Israel reported.
The decision is unpopular, and last week there was a demonstration to protest it.
Soldiers will continue patroling the border fence and will continue to guard three communities located within less than a mile of the border with the Hamas enclave: Kibbutz Netiv Ha’Asara, Kibbutz Nahal Oz and Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.
But other communities more distant from the border, though within rocket and mortar range, will have to run their own patrols.
“This is an unfortunate decision that detracts from the sense of security of residents living near the border,” Alon Shuster, head of the Shar Hanegev Regional Council, said.
On the contrary, Shuster said, there should be a stronger IDF presence. He cited measures said to be in the pipeline already, including a physical barrier, improved methods to detect cross-border tunnels and defense against short-range rockets and mortar fire.
The IDF spokesperson said, however, that the pullout decision was made in cooperation with heads of local councils.