Hamas is in charge in Gaza border towns, not Israel

Opinion: Living in near the Strip means not knowing whether you can have a family birthday party or a stroll through the blossoms - because there is no telling if the area will be burning today, tomorrow or the day after; a terror group rules our lives, not the people in Jerusalem whose gaze elsewhere
Matan Tzuri|
Last weekend, I found myself doing the job of the Chief of Staff. I, a first sergeant who just a week ago received his 40-year-old's exemption from reserve duty, was asked if it was safe to go for a walk among the anemone blossoms close to the Gaza Strip.
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  • Don’t ask me, I replied immediately, and don't ask the prime minister or the defense minister either, for as lofty as they are with ranks and duties they don’t know.
    4 View gallery
    מטיילים בפארק נחל גרר דרום אדום
    מטיילים בפארק נחל גרר דרום אדום
    Children running through the anemone fields in southern Israel
    (Photo: Tzachi Sadeh)
    Go ask Yahya Sinwar in Gaza, who is the unofficial sovereign of the Gaza border communities. It is he, his men and the rogue gangs in Gaza who are in charge.
    They want us to do nothing and they will let us enjoy our anemones; they want us to sit in our bomb shelters or count balloon bombs soaring over our heads.
    Even Defense Minister Naftali Bennett authorized Hamas and gave it all the responsibility and recognition.
    "Their actions will decay and their deeds will become meaningless," Bennett said recently in a campaign slogan. The sentence sounded very personal.
    But we who live in the shadow of the Gaza Strip do not want to feel Hamas at all - not in the entire region and certainly not just across the border. But the reality is very different.
    Bennett wants them both close by and far away. Close to the Gaza border, but far from Jerusalem and at the bottom of the list of security priorities. So is it any wonder that Hamas is the sovereign of the Gaza border communities?
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    יחידת מפריחי הבלונים של חמאס מאיימת להסלים את מתודת ההפרחה שלה
    יחידת מפריחי הבלונים של חמאס מאיימת להסלים את מתודת ההפרחה שלה
    Hamas celebrates the balloon bombs it sends into Israel
    The biggest problem for the residents of the Gaza border area is that they can never plan ahead - because there is no telling if the area will be burning today, tomorrow or the day after.
    It all depends on which side of the bed Sinwar wakes up. Uncertainty is a heavy burden. This weekend, I am planning to take my family for a hike in the Carmia nature reserve behind our home.
    There, in the soft green grass in the shade of sycamore trees and shrubbery planted more than 70 years ago, we will brew the sweet green tea the kids love so much over a little camping stove.
    It's a modest and simple trip, which will surely end up in a story written by my son Yair or in my daughter Noga's Tik Tok video - and with a lot of in the shoes of little wild Yanai.
    So should I simply conclude right now to abandon this plan? No, it depends on the security situation.
    Should my neighbors invite their whole family to their daughter's birthday? No, it depends on the situation. Their reinforced room at home cannot hold 30 people.
    This Saturday, the traditional anemone parade will take place and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend.
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    יחיא סינוואר מנהיג חמאס רצועת עזה
    יחיא סינוואר מנהיג חמאס רצועת עזה
    Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar
    (Photo: AP)
    Can the organizers who worked so hard on this event ensure that we do indeed get to see the anemones? No. But Sinwar in Gaza can. After all, he is the minister for public security in the Gaza border communities.
    Mazal tov on the appointment by the way.
    The Gaza saga has been going on for too long and the unstable security reality is harming the resilience of the residents in such an important and valuable area.
    Israel does not deserve a failed grade for all of its handling of the Gaza Strip- after all, there really is no partner and running the show is a terrorist organization that only understands strength - but it is far from excellent.
    There were opportunities to establish a new, more stable reality, but we fell into every pit and stumbled at every possible obstacle. The biggest mistake came after the 2014 Gaza war, when we didn't use our deterrence to drive the agreement that came after. Netanyahu procrastinated and was devoid of any motivation.
    4 View gallery
    פריסת כוחות בעקבות טרור הבלונים בעוטף עזה
    פריסת כוחות בעקבות טרור הבלונים בעוטף עזה
    פריסת כוחות בעקבות טרור הבלונים בעוטף עזה
    (צילום: אבי רוקח)
    Meanwhile, the Iranian threat in Syria has become more severe and most of the attention has shifted there. We are at a diplomatic nadir when it comes to Hamas.
    We are emitting timidity. The third election in a year tells terrorists that Israel is on shaky ground and uncertain of itself and sees an opportunity to extort it.
    So how do we turn this around? The answer is clear to everyone, however painful it may be.
    But one thing is certain: The Hamas' rule over the peace and security of Gaza border residents have to be bought to an end.
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