Farmland in flames as Gaza protests give rise to 'kite terrorism'

86 acres of grain fields owned by the Negev Moshavim company have been burned and damaged by the recent kite attacks — amounting for over NIS 175,000 in damage.

A fire in Israel caused by "kite terrorism" from Gaza, May 2, 2018 (Credit: Moshavei HaNegev)
Palestinians in Gaza set fire to scores of acres of farmland Wednesday, employing a new airborne weapon, which Israeli politicians have taken to calling "Kite bombs."
In the past, Gazans had simply thrown Molotov cocktails over the border fence. The kite bomb used on Wednesday followed a simple design: a flaming rag that was attached to a kite with the capability of getting farther across the fence and igniting dry farm fields. In recent weeks, Gazans have also attached Molotov cocktails to kites.
Workers in the agricultural company Moshavim ha-Negev — an organization which is part of the regional councils of Merchavim and Sdot Negev — found another burning kite in the company's fields.
Palestinians in Gaza have been protesting for their 'right of return' during past weeks, leading to clashes on the fence between Gazans and IDF soldiers. Dozens of Palestinians have died in the violence.
Kite bombs are a more recent development, which, until Wednesday, have been exclusively used during protests.
"When the courts in Jerusalem are discussing petitions from left-wing organizations to tie the hands of the soldiers standing in front of the Gaza rioters who want to break through the fence, the arson continues in the field of farmers," said Shai Hajaj, head of Merhavim Regional council.
Hajaj continued: "It is necessary to remind both the judges and advocates for Palestinian rights that stone throwing and the burning of fields is violence, which has already caused severe economic damage and threatens human life. Palestinian rioters burning fields with kites is no longer limited to the Friday 'right-of-return' demonstrations, but rather an everyday event. We demand that the IDF stop this violence immediately."
Member of Knesset Haim Jelin from the political party Yesh Atid, weighed in on the situation after the attack on Wednesday: "It is forbidden to downplay the most recent Kite terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip, which have ignited fields in three separate attacks. The person who downplays this now will find himself with more threats in Israeli territory."
"Kites are a lovely childhood game, but kite terrorism has moved us into a new era of terrorism. I have demanded an urgent discussion in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, since we must deal with this urgent and complex issue," said Member of Knesset Ayelet Nahmias and Rabin, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"We known very well who is on the other side of the kite and it is crucial for them to know that we will not continue to be silent in the face of these dangers," she said.
At the moment, 86 acres of grain fields owned by the Negev Moshavim company have been burned and damaged by the recent kite attacks — amounting to over NIS 175,000 in damage.