Residents of Gaza Belt communities were furious on the first day of school, Monday morning (Sept. 1), when they woke to find no one at the guard posts.
“Once again, I arrived at the moshav and found no one in the guarding posts,” Yifat Ben Shoshan, a resident from the community of Netiv Ha’Asara, told media. “Only a week ago you couldn’t come near the place because of the threat from Gaza – it was a closed military zone. Now it’s less than a week since the cease-fire started and they’re already pulling out soldiers.
The government is acting as if we’re already at peace and nothing has happened here. This cannot be ignored,” she said.
The chairperson of the residents’ committee in the moshav, Penina Rogolski, said she could not understand why the soldiers disappeared. “We’re trying to find out with army officials who gave the order and why this decision was made. I don’t understand what happened to the promises we received,” she said. “As far as we know, the situation and threats haven’t changed. We want answers.”
A number of terror tunnels leading to the moshav, which is located quite close to the border with Gaza, were uncovered during Operation Protective Edge and deadly battles were fought with the terrorists who emerged from the shafts the seemed to appear from nowhere. Some of those tunnels led directly to the communities. The residents are deeply concerned about sending their children to school in the area without active security around them, believing that not all of the tunnels have yet been uncovered and also not convinced that the current cease-fire will hold.
Similar concerns were expressed by residents of Kfar Aza, Yad Mordechai and Mefalsim.
The IDF Spokesman responded, “A Givati Brigade force is in Netiv Ha’Asaara for protection and guarding missions. Deploying the troops inside the community is done in accordance with operational considerations and situational assessments.”
According to the IDF, troops have been deployed between the Gaza border and the communities. In addition, undercover operations are in place protecting the area, the IDF said.