It was Samson who tradition says set the tails of 300 foxes on fire and sent them into the fields of the Philistines to destroy their crops. A similar low-tech weapon has been employed by Palestinians in Gaza in recent months. Burning kites and balloons they have sent over the border fence into southern Israel have destroyed some 7,000 acres of land, causing millions of dollars in damage and untold emotional trauma.
Like those who earlier this summer sought to fling burning tires into Israel, the kite flyers are not peaceful demonstrators, and their acts of violence are doing nothing to improve life in Gaza. If anything, they are providing a potential spark for war between Israel and Gaza’s rulers, Hamas. And even in the absence of war, the death toll is rising. On July 20, a Palestinian sniper killed an Israeli soldier. And on July 27, a 17-year-old Palestinian was felled by Israeli soldiers protecting the border.
These are not mere protests. They are attacks on Israel. And Israel is right to treat them as such. But what is the goal of those who are sending the burning kites over the wall? Are the fires designed to destroy crops and land, intimidate Israelis and wreak a troubling sense of insecurity and discomfort on children and adults? If so, the effort is succeeding. But if the goal is simply to add another dimension of the very same protests that are being pursued by those rushing the border fence, throwing rocks and other debris at Israeli troops, and launching missiles over the border, the kites are adding nothing of substance.
On the Israeli side, longtime resident families struggle to continue leading normal lives despite being under constant threat. And, while they continue to try to adjust to yet another form of threat and harassment from their Gaza neighbors, there are still those who choose to move to the area in an effort to make a statement and prove a point. One such new citizen, Jonathan Hollinger of Pennsylvania, made the point during an interview with the Jerusalem Post. “It is what it is and it’s not something we live to fear,” he said. “It’s a part of life. If you fear it, then in essence they won.”
Brave words, for sure. But missing in all of this is the fact that as the crops burn, lives are scarred and people die. And yet, the international community has remained remarkably silent, and has almost uniformly failed to condemn either the Palestinians who weaponize kites or the Hamas overlords who prod them to do it. That embarrassing global silence must stop now, and so must the insanity of random but lasting damage being inflicted by flaming projectiles from Gaza. JN