I recently wrote an Op-ed about the incendiary balloons that Hamas is sending into Israel damaging forests and agricultural crops and orchards. I called for the government to come up with a way of destroying the balloons before they land in Israel causing so much damage.
I am writing again because just recently, towards the end of August, more than nine fires were started by incendiary balloons that Hamas sent into Israel. Again, thankfully the government retaliated by bombing Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
But I still ask why Israel cannot find some way to destroy the arson balloons before they can do so much damage to the Israel farmers near the Gaza border.
Here are some suggestions shared by those who read my OpEd of August 18.
"This seems like it ought to be simple. How about using a hobbyist-style quad-copter remote control drone, with a net of razor wire hanging underneath it to snag the balloon, or with a glue gun to make the balloon too heavy to stay in the air, or with a flamethrower to burn the balloon? Heck, if the quad-copter blades are sharp enough and don't have a guard around them, just flying the blades of the drone into the balloon would be enough to pop it. And certainly, these incendiary balloons must be easy enough to detect with cheap infrared goggles, day or night, in order to know where to send such drones, because they are attached to something that is literally on fire.”
“What about putting towers with sharpshooters bringing down the balloons before reaching their objectives?”
“What about giving them the taste of their own medicine, using the same Westerly wind, by sending then the same kind of balloons from the sea off the Gaza shoreline? An easy mechanism can make sure that the balloons will not be carried away too far, and discharge their "medicine" in the strip itself. Ah! this may be a "war crime", while Hamas' identical action is heroic resistance to the non-existing "occupation" of Gaza.”
“Sorrowfully mother nature does not work to help Israel with these ballons. The prevailing winds blow off the sea inland therefore the success of the Gazan balloons. What needs to be done is to have Israeli civilians on boats off the Gaza coast and to let the same type of incendiary balloons land in Gaza. Let the Israeli experts on the matter figure it out.”
What is the reaction of the local community and leaders?
Gadi Yarkoni, head of the Eshkol Council, on Monday demanded that the government send a clear message to the terrorist organizations, restore deterrence and stop the balloon terrorism from the Gaza Strip.
‘The courage of the terrorist organizations to renew balloon terrorism and burn our fields must be eradicated today. If it does not stop today, we will find ourselves putting out fires and crying over the crops that caught fire for another summer,’ he said.
Yarkoni added, ‘What starts with the containment of incendiary balloons, continues with rocket fire and shooting of IDF soldiers. I expect the government to act immediately to send a clear message to the terrorist organizations showing why they should not continue with criminal terrorism.’” (Arutz Sheva Elad Benari , Aug 24 , 2021)
It is time for all of Israel and government to listen to those whose livelihood is from the agriculture along the Gaza border.
Frank Mecklenburg is a freelance Journalist