Residents from Netiv HaAsara, a moshav under constant threat from the Gaza Strip, were furious when they learned on Monday that IDF soldiers securing the moshav since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge have been pulled out of the area.
Despite the fact terror tunnels leading to the moshav, which is adjacent to the Gaza border fence, have been uncovered, the residents found out that on the first day of school, they will send their children to school without security.
Before: IDF soldiers checking identifications at the entrance to Netiv HaAsara (Photo: George Ginsburg) The chairman of the committee in Netiv HaAsara, Pnina Rogolski, said that the IDF company guarding the moshav during Protective Edge disappeared this morning.
"We're trying to find out with army officials who gave the order and why this decision was made. I don't understand what happened to the promises we received. As far as we know, the situation and threats haven't changed. We demand answers," she said.
An army source said that there were troops stationed between the border and the moshav.
The IDF spokesman said in response: "A Givati Brigade force is in Netiv HaAsara for protection and guarding missions. Deploying the troops inside the community is done in accordance with operational considerations and situation assessments."
After: The empty post at the kibbutz gate (Photo: Avi Rokach)
On Sunday, Rogolski was invited to the government meeting held at the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council in order to present the concerns of the residents. She was invited to represent all of the communities in the regional council, but was not given time to speak in front of the prime minister and his cabinet.
"I wanted to say there's a big crisis of trust between the residents and the government, that we feel like there are no solutions because we're probably not worth enough," Rogolski said.
Yifat Ben Shoshan, a resident from Netiv HaAsara who stood at the forefront of the struggle to restore security to the south even before the operation began, told Ynet: "I once again got to the moshav and found no one in the guarding posts. Only a week ago it was impossible to get anywhere near Netiv HaAsara because of the threat (from Gaza), it was a closed military zone. And now, less than a week since the ceasefire began, they are already pulling the troops. It's as if the days of peace are already here and nothing has happened here. This must not be ignored."
Netiv HaAsara's claims are similar to those coming from residents of Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Mefalsim, who also complained of the removal of IDF protection earlier this week.
"In the first round of fighting, the entire kibbutz was full of soldiers, and later on they set up permanent guarding posts. I don't think a soldier can catch a Kassam rocket with his bare hands, but if they are implementing security measures against the tunnels it's an entirely different story," Mefalsim resident Hadas said.
The IDF said in response to the residents of Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Mefalsim that it has stationed troops between the border and the communities, and that it also had undercover operations to protect the frontier.
Michal Margalit contributed to this report.