Kite terror, the phenomena of Gaza’s “peaceful” Arab rioters utilizing free-floating kites and helium balloons to carry incendiaries and gasoline bombs into Israel, continues unabated and has in fact, intensified in recent days. Today alone, Israeli firefighters had to contend with nine separate blazes including one which threatened the campus of Sapir College in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
Since April, Palestinian kite terrorists have set more than 270 fires, destroying 6,200 acres of farming land, forests and nature reserves, and causing an estimated $1.4 million in damages. The Carmia nature reserve has been particularly hard hit, with one-third of the reserve destroyed by fire.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the National Security Council to deduct tax revenue collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to offset losses incurred by Gaza periphery farmers as a result of this new form of Palestinian terrorism. In addition, the Israel Defense Forces is devising technologies and strategies to deal with the problem. Some 500 incendiary-laden kites and balloons have been intercepted by specialized drones but clearly, more needs to be done to combat the menace.
The phenomenon of using arson as a form of terror is not new. In November 2016 Israel was forced to contend with a wave of arson-related fires started by PA Arabs as well as Israeli Arabs with the purpose of inflicting harm against Jews. In just over one week, Israeli and international firefighting teams brought the situation under control but not before the fires consumed nearly 600 apartments and houses and caused over $140 million in damage.
Moreover, the use of autonomous, free-floating balloons to carry explosives and incendiaries is not new either. During World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy launched 9,000 such balloons at the continental United States. Only 1,000 of these made it to the U.S. and Canada. No one back then considered the Japanese to be peaceful protestors venting steam with toy balloons and no one in their right mind should consider these Hamas-backed Gazan terrorists to be anything but blood-thirsty thugs.
Those who engage in this type of terror should be treated no differently than armed combatants. Once spotted, they should be targeted for immediate liquidation, similar to the way the IDF deals with terrorist rocket or mortar crews.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas with an iron fist. Nothing is said or done in Gaza without the approval of Hamas. The instant wave of kite terror is encouraged and stoked by Hamas under the guise of “peaceful resistance” but there is nothing peaceful about this Hamas-inspired campaign of terror. The Hamas leadership should be put on notice that Israel has not been fooled by this charade and that if it continues, the leadership will be targeted. The Hamas leadership has demonstrated time and again that it is ready to sacrifice to the last Palestinian civilian but it is an entirely different affair when the leadership recognizes that they’re a mere hairsbreadth away from being greeted by 72 virgins.
The kite terror campaign must also be viewed in the context of a wider Hamas objective to foment unrest under the guise of “peaceful demonstrations” at the security fence separating Gaza from Israel. But these protests, which have been occurring on a weekly basis since April are anything but peaceful and have involved shooting and IED attacks, destruction to security infrastructure, and border breeches. Palestinian rioters have also inexplicably wrecked infrastructure which facilitates the shipment of fuel to Gaza’s residents.
While some media outlets have presented the clashes in a fair and balanced manner, others like the radical left-wing and harshly anti-Israel New York Times have chosen to present a narrative that mimics Hamas talking points. Its armchair pundits, living in ivory tower bubbles continuously tout the death count imbalance as proof of Israeli maleficence. More than 100 Gazans have been killed since April while Israel has suffered no fatalities. But the New York Times repeatedly and deliberately fails to note that at least 80% of those killed in clashes with the IDF were either Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives.
Moreover death toll imbalances are a poor indicator of which side holds the moral high ground. More than 7,000,000 Germans were killed during WWII. By contrast, just over 400,000 Americans were killed. Does that mean that the Germans were moral, and the Americans, immoral? Rubbish!
Israel is currently fighting a new and vicious form of asymmetrical warfare where the malevolent enemy cynically exploits the local population, deliberately placing it in harm’s way. Hamas has also made good use of its useful idiot cadre in the Western media. Nevertheless, Israel has overcome far worse from Gaza – rockets, mortars, suicide bombers, terror tunnels, aerial and maritime drones – and it will surely devise a way to overcome the latest challenge.