Firefighters battle blazes in Be’eri, Kissufim and Nir Am, while Israeli residents on the strip’s border come together to ‘give back to nature what has been taken from it’ by planting trees: ‘They’re burning, and we’re planting.’
Matan Tzuri, Liad Osmo|Published: 06.09.18 , 18:43
Ten different fires broke out on Saturday in Israeli communities on the Gaza border—mostly in the Be’eri and Kissufim area—as a result of incendiary kites flown from the Gaza Strip.

Two of the fires broke out in the Kibbutz Nir Am area. As a result of these blazes, police briefly closed route 34 between Sderot and the Yad Mordechai Junction.

Firefighting forces, security coordinators and farmers were able to gain control of all of the fires, and no one was hurt. However, damage was caused to crops and wooded areas.

Friday saw a new record with 45 fires breaking out out across the border area. Some 60 firefighters and 20 fire trucks worked to put out the flames.

Meanwhile, Gaza media reported that an Israeli aircraft, apparently a drone, attacked a group of Palestinians flying the kites in the Beit Hanoun area in the northern Gaza Strip. There were no reports of casualties.

The IDF said its aircraft fired warning shots at a group working on preparing explosive balloons. “The IDF views the use of explosive balloons and incendiary kites gravely and will act to prevent use of them,” the army said.

On Saturday evening, an IDF force arrested a Palestinian suspect who was trying to cross the border fence in northern Gaza. He was caught with a slingshot in his possession.

‘They’re burning, and we’re planting’

Residents from Gaza border communities gathered this week in Kibbutz Or HaNer for a tree-planting ceremony—their answer to the incendiary kites from the strip, which cause fires in the area, destroying tens of thousands of dunams of agricultural fields and woodlands.

The residents, in conjunction with the Keren Kayemet LeYisrael (KKL), planted dozens of trees in the kibbutz.

“The kites phenomenon completely destroyed a lot of forests and groves in our area, and we decided, as a community activity, to give back to nature what has been taken from it,” said Ofir Libenstein, a member of Kibbutz Kfar Aza who is leading the initiative.

“Beyond the financial damage, there’s also damage to the Gaza border residents’ morale, and we have decided to come together as a community and change this reality. The residents are coming together—families and children—to plant the trees,” he continued.

“This is the first of the activities, and in the coming days we will continue planting trees. We’re motivated by the slogan: ‘They’re burning, and we’re planting.'”

The residents were also joined by soldiers from the Gaza Division’s Northern Brigade, led by their commander, Col. Avi Rosenfeld.

“We need to provide a response, and we will provide a response. We will continue defending the Gaza border communities. We won’t grow tire and won’t lose sight of our values,” Col. Rosenfeld vowed.,7340,L-5282707,00.html
Gaza youth: We send up kites and go watch the fires in Israel – YNET

H., a member of the strip’s ‘kites unit,’ says they have no ties to Hamas; ‘We have no aid from Hamas and we don’t need it. Preparing each kite, with its incendiary device, costs us three or four shekels,’ he says.
Elior Levy|Published: 06.07.18 , 09:56
Palestinians sending incendiary kites over the Gaza border into Israel have no intention of stopping, 21-year-old H. told Ynet.

“We send the kites up and go to Facebook to watch the fires on your side,” said H., who belongs to Gaza’s “kite unit.”

The kite fliers paint their kites in the colors of the Palestinian flag and sometimes add a swastika as well.

“The kite is the best weapon and the most important weapon we have in Gaza, it’s better than all of the rockets and weapons we have,” H. said.

“When a rocket is fired from Gaza, you have a response to it, but for the kites you don’t have a response, they cause you a lot of damage,” he explained.

On Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said some 9,000 dunams of crops and forests have been burned as a result of fires started by the kites, which are affixed with an incendiary device.

The kites continue causing immense damage in Gaza border communities and endanger lives of Israelis living near the strip.

H. was wounded two weeks ago during Friday “March of Return” clashes near the border fence. He said an unidentified object blew up next to him and a piece of shrapnel hit his leg.

At the beginning of the “March of Return” campaign, about two months ago, he was part of the “tire burning unit,” and two weeks later moved to the “kites unit.”

He revealed the “kites unit” operates like an organization, but claimed it has no connection to Hamas.

“We’re young people from all across the Gaza Strip. We’re divided into groups according to areas, and each group has one person in charge who decides when to fly kites and how many. We have no aid from Hamas and we don’t need it. Preparing each kite, with its incendiary device, costs us three or four shekels,” he explained.

H. said his “unit” is planning to fly a large amount of kites on Friday, to mark Naksa Day, which commemorates the defeat in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“We watch TV and realize you have great fear of these kites. Because of that, every Friday there are more and more youths who participate in this activity,” he added.

The interview with H. included many hate-filled comments against Israel, and it appeared he and his friends feel no guilt for the environmental damage they cause. “If Israel has no problem burning Gaza, why should we have any problem burning Israel?” he demanded.

Due to the lack of a real solution to this simple and cheap weapon, there have been increasing calls in Israel to eliminate kite fliers in Gaza.

H. said he and his accomplices are not afraid. “I don’t want to become a shahid (martyr), but I’m also not afraid of the threats of assassination. If you start assassinating us, we will increase the number of kites we’re flying your way. We’ll continue with the kites method until you remove the siege from Gaza,” he argued.,7340,L-5280924,00.html