'A balloon falls out of the sky and explodes without warning'

An agricultural director in the Gaza envelope says that they were told to harvest their wheat before it ripened due to incendiary balloons.

Nitzan Keidar,

Incendiary balloons in Gaza envelop
Incendiary balloons in Gaza envelop
Credit: Eshkol security

Balloon terrorism continues to damage fields, farmers and the morale of the residents of the Gaza envelope.

The land of Kibbutz Nir Am didn't catch on fire in the current wave but mainly because the residents simply harvested their wheat before it was ripe.

"This year, the Ministry of Agriculture issued a recommendation to simply harvest the wheat early when it's still green, and the state compensated us for the difference in price if we had harvested regular wheat," Ofer Lieberman, the agriculture director at Kibbutz Nir Am told Arutz Sheva. We did this to all our fields and reached a point where there were no fires here."

Incendiary balloons from the Gaza Strip continue to reach the area. "They land here because the balloons are impossible to direct but they have nothing to ignite," Lieberman said. "As far as we're concerned, it saved us because it's a nightmare to remember what happened here a year ago."

Lieberman is also pained by what happens in nearby communities. "It's very painful. During recent weekends, the Palestinian Arabs decided to escalate their actions and launched many incendiary balloons. They operate according to all types of criteria - whether money from Qatar is coming in or not, if they're reducing their fishing area or not - and decide how many balloons they're launching accordingly. A bit south of here, there were a lot more fires over the weekend than in the past two weeks. It hurts us to see it."

Lieberman feels that the government has abandoned the residents of the Gaza envelope. "I'm not qualified to give recommendations to the prime minister or the defense minister because I assume there is a lot of information that we don't know about. Our feeling here is that from March 2018 until today we're in a kind of war of attrition - with Qatari money or without Qatari money."

"We've been here for a year and a half in this sad situation. Families on the kibbutz are beginning to feel the pressure and unfortunately, two families have left us because of this situation. I don't know what could be done, I do know that it's impossible to continue like this. It's not normal, certainly for small children, to lead such a life."

"I really think it's an illogical situation, a balloon with an improvised explosive device exploding inside the kibbutz on the grass, and there's no way to defend yourself from it. A balloon descends from the sky without any warning, lands on the grass, explodes and leaves a hole. We need to find a solution for this. It seems to me we're the lowest priority of the Israeli government. I'm saddened that this is the case and they don't place us on the top of the priority list."

Lieberman is pessimistic that the next elections could change the situation. "We're already cynical. I don't know who to vote for but chances are that it will be more of the same. The bottom line is that both the former defense minister and the prime minister who currently serves as the defense minister have not succeeded in solving the problem and this region is engulfed in a difficult war of attrition."




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