Members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee who toured the Gaza border fence area Thursday were set upon by officials, business owners, and residents who demanded more action to defend them against Arab terror attacks, terror balloon attacks, acrid smoke from tire fires, and large losses due to Arab terror in Gaza. At a meeting with heads of local and regional councils in the area, the MKs were inundated with complaints about how difficult life was for them – and how politicians had forgotten them.
Sdot Negev Regional Council head Tamir Idan told the MKs that the Homefront Command in the area was not operating properly. “During the recent uptick in attacks I wrote a thank you letter to the National Emergency Authority,” a division of the Homefront Command, “and their response was to cancel a security project we were working on,” he said.
“I know I am going to get criticized for this, but I want it on the record: There are many families in the Gaza border area who are afraid to ask for help from authorities because they fear a negative response. They are ashamed to ask for help,” and they fear that such requests will come back to haunt them, Idan said. The Homefront Command, he implied, apparently equates criticism of its activities with criticism of its mission, with the corresponding negative effects for residents.
Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi said at the meeting that the only way to secure the area was with a major military action. “We have to return to the days of Operation Protective Edge,” Davidi said, referring to the 2014 IDF operation against Hamas. “That is the only way to ensure that the IDF’s deterrence is restored and residents are free from the threat of terror.”
Among the business owners who spoke at the meeting were a group of restaurant owners, who told the MKs that they were oblivious to what was happening in the region. “We set up our businesses on the basis of promises that we would get assistance, but none has been forthcoming. We feel as if we have been cheated,” Nir Shochat, one of the owners told the MKs, according to Channel 20. “I cannot make ends meet. I am losing money because of terror and I cannot finance those losses. We have lost our motivation to do business. Israel has permitted Hamas to beat us. We have no security here.”
As the MKs were meeting, IDF forces shot and injured a terrorist who had snuck into Israel via the security fence. Soldiers saw the terrorist entering Israeli territory and warned him to halt, and when he refused to do so, they shot and injured him. The terrorist then fled back into Gaza, where local sources said he died of his wounds.