Dozens protest against removal of IDF Gaza security patrols
Following Defense Ministry's decision to halt security in 13 communities in Gaza vicinity, final soldier to leave region on Thursday; protesters claim ministry is risking lives of residents. 'Decision was made after lengthy consideration,' Ya'alon says
Dozens of people protested Wednesday in the Gaza-vicinity community of Nativ Ha'asara, against the Defense Ministry's decision to remove IDF security patrols from Gaza region communities due to budget constraints.
The protesters, who demonstrated adjacent to the border fence with the the Gaza Strip, called on Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to cancel the decision.
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During the protest, residents waved signs urging the defense minister to reconsider the decision. "I don't know if I can keep walking around the community feeling safe," Yifat Ben-Shushan, a resident of Nativ Ha'asara, said. "I don't know where and when a terrorist might come when there is no armed security to fight him."
(Photo: Roee Idan)
Ben Shushan said that "The 10-year presence of the IDF has significantly improved our sense of safety and now that they're leaving we feel abandoned. This is an outrageous decision that violates residents' safety."
On Monday, following rocket fire from Gaza towards the south, IDF told farmers in Gaza vicinity to not go to work in the fields surrounding the border for fear of rocket launching. The heads of regional councils Sha'ar Hanegev and Eshkol, Alon Schuster and Haim Yalin, then wrote a letter to Ya'alon asking him to overturn the decision to stop patrols in the area.
"We sadly accepted your decision to approve... the recommendation to cancel patrols in the fence-adjacent communities," Schuster and Yalin wrote. "We consider this decision as trust breaking and detrimental to the strength of the residents."
The two added that communities near the fence already have to invest high budgets in security, which burdens the families immensely: "Removing the soldiers will require residents to invest even more funds, which is extremely unfair," they wrote.
Ya'alon's office replied that "The defense minister accepted the army's decision after a long, serious and lengthy field work. All alternatives were considered. Defending communities in the north and south is based on various aspects, which include electronic barriers, advanced Intel means, and fighting forces stationed near and inside the communities. The decision was made responsibly after a lengthy consideration."
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