A smoke grande tied to a balloon to be launched at Israel by Hamas

Gaza border communities and second class citizenry

Opinion: Tens of thousands of Israelis living in constant existential fear is unimaginable, but the leadership's indifference to their woes is worse; for when the government disregards swathes of its own population, it doesn't end there

Anat Lev-Adler |
Published: 02.14.20 , 08:44
The residents of communities bordering the Gaza Strip have already become accustomed to trauma.
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  • Granted, in most cases it won't kill them - it will just leave them with a few psychological ailments, nightmares and other various mental scars for the rest of their lives.
    They know how to quickly flee from a rocket barrage, with the generous help of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
    יחידת מפריחי הבלונים של חמאס מאיימת להסלים את מתודת ההפרחה שלהיחידת מפריחי הבלונים של חמאס מאיימת להסלים את מתודת ההפרחה שלה
    A smoke grande tied to a balloon to be launched at Israel by Hamas
    And sure, people almost never die from balloon bombs; at worst, they land in some kindergarten and the teachers yell and scream to the chagrin of hardened journalists.
    But is this really living?
    Would anyone be prepared and able to live, even for a week, knowing no one has a long-term, serious and responsible plan to combat this nightmare that has terrorized the residents for a year and a half now?
    Since the end of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 – the last serious step taken by Israel that brought three years of peace, but proved to be less effective than initially perceived – the government has been ignoring the launches from the Gaza Strip, in a decision to avoid making decisions.
    Two rockets here, another three there; nothing changes and the people will apparently just have to adapt.
    But the thought that tens of thousands of Israeli citizens live in constant terror, with no leader taking up the mantle and promising to solve this issue, no matter the cost is simply inconceivable.
    In the wake of Operation Protective Edge, experts unanimously said that Israel's "carrot and stick" approach only works when there is both a carrot and stick.
    If there is no carrot, the stick will be our undoing.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't have the courage necessary to change the current narrative and bring much-needed change.
    It may fail, but sometimes risks must be taken to succeed.
    Israel is no stranger to prime ministers deciding to act in a time of emergency, despite the risks involved.
    Menachem Begin signed the peace treaty with Egypt and gave the Sinai Peninsula back; Yitzhak Rabin staked (and lost) his life on the Oslo Accords; and of course Ariel Sharon built the West Bank separation fence following the grisly days of the Second Intifada and later approved the Israeli disengagement from Gaza.
    Granted, not all these efforts were perfect; there were faults and mishaps, yet sitting on the fence as the people living around the Gaza Strip suffer only prolongs this untenable situation.
    שריפה בלוני בלון בלונים תבערה עוטף עזה טרור הבלוניםשריפה בלוני בלון בלונים תבערה עוטף עזה טרור הבלונים
    A fire in the northern Negev caused by an incendiary balloon
    (Photo: AP)
    Political leaders are obliged to protect their citizens, and blaming their incompetence on the lack of a permanent government is nothing but a poor excuse.
    Those in power are not paid to come in at 9 and leave at 5, snipe at one another on social media or fly around the world taking selfies while the land around the Gaza Strip burns and bombs go off above the heads of those who call the area home.
    When a nation decides to demote swathes of its own population to second-class citizens whose safety is less important than others, it's no wonder there are also impoverished second-class senior citizens, whose rumbling stomachs don't interest anyone, or second-class patients unable to afford medication, whose woes are regarded is irrelevant.
    A form of second-class citizenry experienced by all those abandoned by the state.
    And to think that there are those who scream that there is no discrimination.
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