התקיפה ברצועה, בתגובה לירי הרקטה לעוטף עזה
IDF air force responds to rocket launch from Gaza
Photo: Reuters
IDF air force responds to rocket launch from Gaza

Residents of Israel's south fear re-run of last year's Gaza war

Israelis living in the Gaza border region were not surprised to hear rocket alert sirens blare on Monday after more than six months of quiet, and almost one year since Operation Guardian of the Walls, which also came at a time of unrest at Temple Mount

Matan Tzuri |
Published: 04.19.22, 11:10
Residents of Israeli communities living near the Gaza Strip border have been keeping close watch on the tensions ensuing in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent weeks, fearing it's just a matter of time before the south becomes the battle zone yet again.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Indeed, their gut feeling, based on years of experience and trauma, looks to be correct. On Monday night, rocket alert sirens blared in communities adjacent to the Strip and six months of quiet on the southern border came to an end.
    Missile interception on Monday night
    What the residents want to know now is how the events will unfold. Will the sporadic rocket attacks escalate into something similar to last year's Gaza war, known as Operation Guardian of the Walls?
    For now, the Gaza border is relatively quiet, there are no major changes in routine, and life seems to be going on as usual. Still so, tension lingers heavy among the locals.
    "The residents know how to draw the lines between the unrest in Jerusalem to its effect on the Gaza Strip. They've lived this reality for 20 years and it naturally raises the anxiety levels," an official from the center of social resilience in the Gaza Strip tells Ynet.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    התקיפה ברצועה, בתגובה לירי הרקטה לעוטף עזה
    התקיפה ברצועה, בתגובה לירי הרקטה לעוטף עזה
    IDF air force responds to rocket launch from Gaza
    (Photo: Reuters)
    "Therapists at the resilience center say that the patients are expressing general fear regarding the security situation because they know that it projects on the south. Although most of the time it's quiet, the atmosphere is tense. Every siren has its effect, even if you hear it from afar," she says.
    Gadi Yarkoni, the mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council, also said the anxiety levels among the locals have sprung upon hearing the sirens again.
    "I support the IDF soldiers and Iron Dome troops that successfully intercepted the rocket and who protect us on the border 24/7," Yarkoni says.
    "We're in constant contact with army representatives and as of now, there is no changes in the orders for residents. We're expecting that the state acts to ensure security, silence and continuation of holiday cheer in the Gaza Strip region, with the same devotion they operate all over the country. I'm full of hope that we'll all continue enjoying the [Passover] holiday routine."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    גדי ירקוני ארכיון
    גדי ירקוני ארכיון
    Gadi Yarkoni, the mayor of the Eshkol Regional Council
    (Photo: Hertzel Yosef)
    Many Israeli citizens are taking advantage of the holiday to travel and visit sites all over Israel. Amongst those visiting the south is Amiel Nissan, whose family trip in the Arava was disrupted by the sirens on Monday.
    "It was expected that the security situation would reach Gaza... I'm not surprised by the siren that was heard. Hamas in Gaza doesn't rest for a minute.
    "Even before Operation Guardian of the Walls, the chaos first started in Jerusalem and made its way south. There's a feeling that we're on the verge of explosion and if there's no change - we'll go back a year in time, unfortunately," Nissan s. "It deeply saddens me to think of this but, on the other hand, Gaza hasn't changed and probably never will."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    סיור של אנשי הג'יאהד האיסלאמי לאנשי תקשורת בעזה
    סיור של אנשי הג'יאהד האיסלאמי לאנשי תקשורת בעזה
    Islamic Jihad demonstrate their rocket launching abilities
    (Photo: AFP)
    Palestinian officials, meanwhile, told Ynet that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is likely responsible for the rocket fire.
    Magen David Adom said that no injuries were reported following the attack, and the Eshkol Regional Council added that no d was done to the area.
    Only several hours prior, leader of the PIJ, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, threatened that Israel easing curbs on Gaza "will not silence" the terrorist organization.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    מנהיג ארגון ב עזה הגא״פ הג'יהאד האסלאמי זיאד נחאלה
    מנהיג ארגון ב עזה הגא״פ הג'יהאד האסלאמי זיאד נחאלה
    Leader of the PIJ Ziyad al-Nakhalah
    An additional source from the PIJ claimed that the rocket was only a warning signal. "We're here and we're ready," he said.
    During the period of quiet on the border in the last few months, the IDF identified many signs of Hamas and PIJ gearing up for another round of cross-border violence.

    Talkbacks for this article 0