It’s not a qassam – it’s a leaflet: Sderot residents woke up Tuesday morning to a barrage of hundreds of leaflets in Arabic that landed on the town’s streets.
The manifests were scattered by the IDF over the northern Gaza towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia, used as launching sites for Qassam
rockets. However, the strong winds blew the leaflets to Sderot, the southern town most badly hit by Qassam attacks.
The manifest read: “The ongoing terror incidents coming from your area are causing the IDF to boost its response against those who endanger the safety of Israeli citizens. We once again call on the Palestinian Authority to take responsibility and prevent these criminal acts. The IDF warns you not to stay in areas in which terror activity is taking place”.
Sderot residents reacted cynically to the incident.
One of the residents said: “In my opinion this is the only significant activity that the IDF has done in Sderot since the Qassam firing began. We have a feeling that we are being abandoned and what we get is leaflets. It’s time for the army to also dedicate some thought to Sderot.”
“If the IDF would scatter leaflets in Hebrew, and maybe explain to us what is being done in order to prevent the Qassam firing, that would be more encouraging for us,” the resident added.
Another resident, Sasson Sara, said that he and his friends have been calling on the IDF for a long time to warn Palestinian residents that their houses would be evacuated after every firing of a Qassam.
“They must be reminded that the IDF destroyed 8,000 houses in Gush Katif within one week and that this can also be done in Beit Hanoun if the Qassam firing continues,” he said.
According to Sara, “The leaflets flying toward us only prove how close we are to Beit Hanoun. Even the wind can blow leaflets toward us, not to mention Qassams that can easily fly from Gaza toward us”.
“The aerial distance is very small and the Israeli public apparently does not understand how close we are to them and how dangerous our situation is,” he added.
In the last few days IDF helicopters scattered leaflets at least twice, in an attempt to exert psychological pressure on Hamas. The leaflets urged Gazans to refrain from cooperating with Hamas and warned that continuing to store explosives and ammunition in populated areas would cause losses in life and property and would force the army to retaliate.
The leaflets emphasized that Hamas is in fact acting against the Palestinians’ interests and thwarting any possibility of calm, which is the longing of Palestinians who only wish to live with dignity.
Ali Waked contributed to this report