(JNS.org) Residents of Israel’s Gaza-border communities were not surprised by the new Israeli defense establishment reports that Hamas commander Mohammed Deif is likely alive and back in charge of the Palestinian terrorist group’s military operations, nor were they surprised by recent reports that Hamas has resumed building terror tunnels and manufacturing rockets.
“The reports that Hamas is getting stronger militarily, and the fact that the group is continuing to dig attack tunnels toward Gaza border communities, come as no surprise to any resident from the area,” Yael, a member of Kibbutz Nirim, told Israel Hayom. “All the residents know which path we’re headed down, everyone sees what Hamas is doing on the other side of the fence, and it’s doing it flagrantly, right there before our, and the military’s, eyes, showing its preparations for the next round of fighting.”
Roni Kissin, the secretary of Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, is trying to remain optimistic.
“We will always have tunnels, we already had them during the Gilad Shalit abduction [in 2006],” he said. “Despite all the talk about the winds of war on the other side of the fence, we continue to live and run our lives, absorbing new families [to the kibbutz]; children are being born. All the bad news is not something that has changed our lifestyle. We chose to live in Kerem Shalom, and there is no fear in our hearts. We trust the army to do its duty. We live 50 meters (164 feet) from the border—believe me, we have not woken up to something new. This is our reality.”
Member of Knesset Haim Yellin (Yesh Atid), a member of Kibbutz Be’eri and until recently the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, said the situation needs to be resolved.
“Almost a year has passed since Operation Protective Edge, and Israel’s government is not working to prevent the next round of fighting,” Yellin said. “Mohammed Deif, dead or alive, will not stop the countdown to the next war. Terrorism needs to be fought with resolute strength, but at the same time [we need to be] working with world powers, especially moderate Arab nations, to achieve quiet and a diplomatic horizon.”